Running with endurance in South Africa


God is full of wisdom, and I’m impressed how He knows every heart and mind. One of the activities that I was part of this weekend was a race with obstacles. In this race, God showed me His unconditional love, patience and grace that we go through in our Christian life. This race took place this past Saturday, and there were six kilometers that we needed to run.

Five members of the orphanage, where I am currently serving, were participating in this race, including Brianna and myself. There were two boys with the ages around 11 and 9. The other person who ran was a girl who is 14 years old.

One of the best things to do in these types of races is to run as a team and support each other. When the race started the two boys that were running with us decided to run by themselves and go ahead of us to finish the race faster. Brianna and I decided to run with the girl because we knew it was better and because she is a little bit overweight. 

We started to run together, and at the moment that we got to the first obstacle, which was a little lake, the girl was already tired. We had to cross it walking and the smell of the water was disgusting and full of mud. 

Molly*, by this moment, didn’t want to run anymore. Brianna and I started to encourage her and tell her she could do it and finish the race with us. Molly was being so negative and all the words that were coming out of her mouth were not helping at all. She started to call herself fat and that this was going to be the first and the last time she was doing this type of race. 

Every obstacle during the race was difficult to accomplish and it seemed that we were not going to be able to do it. Every moment we stopped in each station, Molly just wanted to stop and give up. Brianna and I kept pushing her and telling her that she was strong and that she could do this and much more. I was getting impatient, but I knew that we had to keep trying so she could finish the race. 

There were moments where she did want to run, and we would even grab her hand so she could see that we were not going to leave her behind. I told her that I was going to be with her until the end of the race and that I would never leave her alone. There were teams crossing us over and going through all the obstacles, but we had to go slower so that Molly could finish her goal. 

She wanted to quit and she was scared of what she was doing, but in those moments, we remained positive and encouraged her to continue. Every obstacle that we faced became more difficult every time. There was a wall made of wood and we had to climb it to go to the other side and continue with the race. I do not like heights, but I knew I had to do it and set the example for Molly. I was scared, but at the same time I kept reminding myself that I was strong and that I was not alone because God was with me.

Like this race, God is always with us in our life. He put me in this situation so I could feel how He is so patient and loving with us. I had to be really patient and show Molly that she was strong enough to finish this six kilometer race. 

In our life, there are moments or problems when we think we cannot continue anymore, but there’s always One who overcomes our problems or difficult situations and He is God. I had to put myself in the situation that Molly was going through in those moments and realize how God stays with us until the end. 

Molly’s actions throughout the race and the comments she said is how we react with God. Sometimes we say negative things or we do not want any help at all, but after we calm down and work with our feelings, God is always there to restore us and remind us who we are in this world. 

There are times when we get mad at God and we ask to Him, “Why did You allow all this to happen?” Sometimes we think that we are not good enough to continue with our lives and that our past will always interfere in our ways. The answer to this is Jesus Christ, and He is the one who can heal and show you how to love yourself and change the way you see life. It does not matter how angry or how disappointed we think we are with God. God will always show us unconditional love because He understands our nature, flesh and emotions that we go through. 

Through Jesus, we have a wonderful and amazing way to allow God to work in our lives. We may never understand God, but He will put you in a situation that makes you realize the way He works in your life. We need to run our lives thinking that God will be there no matter how scary, dangerous or hard our life looks like. I am amazed to say that I am part of a race where whenever I am hungry, desperate, sad, or scared God will always comfort my heart. 

Brianna, Molly, the two boys and I finished the race with great joy at the end. Molly finished the race, but she is still running a race where God is the only one who can help her. The race we face every day would never be easy without our Savior, Jesus Christ.

*Name Changed 

Andres Pecero, a UTRGV recent graduate, is serving as a Go Now Semester Missionary in South Africa.

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