• Jack

Teamwork and Encouragement

A week ago, I ran the Paris Marathon!

It was an absolute blast. We ran by so many famous places, like the Eiffel Tower and within sight of Notre Dame. But we also ran by places I had never heard of, like the Chateau de Vincennes, which was stunning! (Google some pictures of that place.)

I knew it was going to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so I carried a GoPro with me during the race. Here's a little video I put together from the clips:

I trained for a long time for this race, and I'm happy with my time and all those kinds of things. But that's not what I want to talk about. As I think back to experiences I've had running races, I've been struck by the importance of having someone alongside me for these accomplishments. I've done one or two races by myself, and not only is it just not as fun, but I find myself lacking the motivation to train or to keep going in the race.

It's always better to face these challenges with a friend.

Jake, another missionary studying with us here, ran the Paris Marathon with me

Austin and I have put in many, many miles together. This was last year at our 50k!

Lindsay has been my biggest supporter since my first race, the Chicago Marathon in 2010.

So many people have helped along the way and we've had some pretty incredible experiences together.

In running, a partner can provide much-needed encouragement when the race gets so difficult. Sometimes that encouragement is rather "hands-on", like the time my brother physically pushed me up a hill near the end of a race. Other times my running partner was there just as a reminder that I wasn't alone. Someone else was going through this with me and that was what I needed to know. I also talk strategy with my running partner. These kinds of conversations make up a large percentage of what my brother-in-law Austin and I talk about!

But my running partner can also look very different than that. Lindsay is by far my biggest supporter. She rarely is the one physically running alongside me (though we did a half marathon together back in 2020). But she gives up so much of her time to allow me to put in the training and she is always cheering for me.

No matter what the running partnership looks like, when it's done, we get to celebrate those victories together! It is blatantly obvious when I cross the finish line that I didn't get there alone and I cannot take all the credit. And because of this shared experience, our relationship is strengthened significantly. We've accomplished something together, and that deepens the way we relate to each other.

Maybe you see where I'm going with this...

The journey to Bible translation in Côte d'Ivoire that God has called us to has not been a solo expedition in the least. The encouragement and affirmation from our friends and loved ones have been invaluable. And often that encouragement is "hands-on" with the partnership in prayer that so many have committed to. Because of your partnership, we have people we can call when things are getting hard to know that we're not alone on this journey. We have people that will listen to us and with whom we strategize about the wisest choice in a given situation, such as language school or deciding on Côte d'Ivoire as our final location.

And many of you have given your time and resources to make this partnership happen. Obviously, you can't all be physically with us during this time (though the invitation is open to come visit). But without your partnership from home, we could not possibly be where we are. And now, it feels like the years of training and preparation are almost up and it's time for the race to start!

And when we get to celebrate successes, we will get to celebrate them together, because we cannot take the credit for the work that we get to do. God has given us an incredible team that has backed us from the beginning and continues to cheer us on. And when we have joined in on this shared mission, our relationships have deepened and will continue to deepen!

All glory to God for the work He is doing and for our team of partners that He has provided.

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