“Lord, salve I want to do more with my life serving You. Sharing about the joy of being a Christian and the need to be born again to runners that I get a chance to meet at races is no longer enough. Writing about it in articles, salve e-mails, on Facebook and in my last book still leaves me wanting to do more. I am not satisfied where I am spiritually. I need a challenge to grow as a Christian. Bottom line Lord – I want to do more for You.”
This was basically what I prayed about a year ago. I expected doors to open for me to write and publish another book, to be asked to speak at churches and even at different runners’ clubs. This is happening but as some of you know, so much more has happened in answer to this prayer.
My blog (www.therrrick.com) was read by a Pastor Anthony Okello in Kenya. He wrote me about how he wanted me to come to his country and be a part of a race and also speak at a few churches. I was later to learn that Pastor Timothy had had a vision about me coming there to minister a few weeks before Pastor Anthony Okello had even read my blog! God was working, preparing to show His love for these wonderful Christians with desperate needs, before I even felt led to pray to do more in my running ministry serving Him!
I sought answers in private prayer and by sharing my heart filled burden and prayers with my wife, Donna. She is a wonderful Spirit-filled Christian lady who joined hands with me in marriage less than two years before this invitation came about. And I’ll add that – she had never been many miles from her home town – never mind out of the United States half way around the world! We felt that we would be called into some kind of ministry as a couple when we were dating – maybe something to do with running – but NOT going to Kenya Africa!
During the next few months we prepared by raising funds for the mission trip, getting the needed passports and visas, as well as the required shots. We also had to break this news to our family members who were as surprised as we were!
In short, I want to remind you that your prayers are heard by your Heavenly Father. He knows your heart and what you are capable of based upon your strength and abilities, coupled and enhanced with the power of the Holy Spirit. He will fill any and all spiritual voids in your life ‘if’ you are open and willing to pay the price. Salvation is freely given but there is a cost to press in for more of what He wants to offer you.
Looking back is seems like not much of a big deal to say “Yes Lord I will go.” But it was. It cost us more than money and time. We had to die to self in many ways. We saw and were a part of lifestyles that we were not ready to be a part of. Our priorities today are extremely different since we have come home from that mission trip.
People came into our life and are an extended part of our family now. Pastor Timothy Madiga, and his wonderful wife Helen (we stayed in their apartment), honored me by naming their first son after me. They even spelled his name with all three r’s (Rrrick)! I will also share that a pregnant lady Donna ministered to while we were there on that mission trip named her daughter after her! Jacob, a student who is studying to be a pastor, shared time with us and stays in constant contact with us. Other young pastors, who stayed by our side to protect, guide, cook and translate for us (Pastors Mosses and Adam) continue to bless us with e-mails and I am sure many prayers. Mercy Anyango, a student at the school we now support, won our hearts and is very much a part of our extended family there. The folks just mentioned are just small samples of the blessings of our Kenyan fellowship – our new family of believers serving the ‘King of Kings’!
We are now responsible (we promised before the student body) to financially help with the rent (school/church), school lunch program and sometimes the teachers’ salaries. Our prayer life has never been so intense. Never have prayers been said for the needs of others like they are now. And never did I ever dream that I would be working two part-time jobs and have all the money (along with funds raised and from our regular budget) be sent monthly to a church/school in Kenya Africa. And I mustn’t leave out the other honor of having a high school named after me and a foundation named after us both!
Aside from the prayer that I said asking Jesus into my life, I believe the prayer that I open this article with was the second most important prayer that ever passed from my lips and heart. The first being when I invited Jesus into my life as My Lord and Savior!
I challenge all who read this to be courageous enough spiritually to fuel your compassion for Jesus with such a prayer to serve as a Christian. I promise you will not be disappointed with whatever our Lord invites you to do.