Saturday, July 31, 2010


Way to go, Iowans for Africa! Laura Hoy here. I was the blog author last year during marathon training, and Jess and Don have done an excellent job authoring it this year! I've opted this year to step into running with my 11 year old daughter, Sara. She's interested, so instead of training for a 1/2 or my 2nd marathon, the timing was right for me to spend this summer jogging with her and setting our first race goal together....the Park to Park 10K on Sept. 11.

We drove to Pfeiffer this morning at 8 jog four miles. What a great sight to see the parking lot stuffed full of cars and to see so many of you on the trail this morning! The "hello's", "good jobs", "way to go's" put a little extra spring in our steps this morning! I can't tell you how proud I am of all of you, and how jazzed up I was to see many familiar faces and many new faces out there this morning! You're doing spectacular in your training!

Encouragement was SOOO key for me last year. It made the greatest difference for me! The cheers each week from coach and teammates and the parade of encouragement throughout the Chicago marathon were keys to my finishing, for sure. In fact, the encouragement made such an impact that the other day when RAGBRAI rode through, I stood cheering in my friend's yard who lives on the route just 3 miles south of the Waterloo destination Thursday. She lives on the top of a hill, and bikers had already ridden 80 miles that day. I clapped and woot-woot'ed for folks for over two hours straight. It gives such a boost to tired minds and bodies, as I'm sure you are discovering!

So, keep up the great work, everyone! I absolutely KNOW that you can achieve the finish line of that marathon in October! What is encouragement but to "give courage" to someone? May God give you all the courage you need to keep going...right foot, left foot...on the race marked before you-both for the marathon and for your whole life!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Why Food for the Hungry?

Our marathon team is partnering with Food for the Hungry, an organization that Orchard Hill has worked with for the last 4-5 years (roughly).  I'm not sure a lot of you know a ton about FH.  If you get a chance to sit and talk with any of the members from our church that have visited Mozambique I highly recommend it! You will get a bigger picture for why OHC and FH are so fired up about working together and honoring God's call to reach the hard places!  If you have a minute, browse through their website...

Here are a few more details about this group of people we are walking (well, actually running) with...

The Food for the Hungry vision – “God called and we responded until physical and spiritual hungers ended worldwide” – represents action and advocacy for those about whom Jesus spoke when he quoted the prophet Isaiah in Luke 4:18, “He has anointed me to preach good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners and recovery of sight for the blind, to release the oppressed.” In a prayerful manner before God, we continue to ask God for great and bold impact in a world of incredible need.
Since the humble beginnings of Food for the Hungry in Glendale, California in 1971, God continues to call regular, ordinary people like our founder Dr. Larry Ward to help disclose to the world God’s passion and heart for the poor. Desiring His mercy and grace to go forward, God calls His followers to face outward to the world, connecting and drawing into service a sometimes inwardly-focused church and society. Food for the Hungry’s commitment to reveal God’s heart cry for the poor – remains unchanged. It is why He calls us, and it is why, by His grace, we respond to end physical and spiritual hungers worldwide.

To walk with churches, leaders and families
in overcoming all forms of human poverty
by living in healthy relationship with God and His creation.


Agriculture & Environment: Increasing crop production, training farmer marketing groups, producing high-quality seed.
Child Development & Education: Education support program, training teachers, distribution of school materials, rehabilitation of school structures.
Church Development: Training of pastors and church leaders, truth-based messaging, leadership development.
Emergency Relief: Emergency flood and drought relief.
Economic Development & Livelihoods: Business development, savings groups.
Health & Nutrition: Nutrition education, zinc project to reduce effects of diarrhea.
HIV/AIDS: Abstinence and faithfulness in marriage, home-based care, HIV/AIDS awareness, food provisions, school materials.
Check the blog link out to read more personal writings about all kinds of FH's programs happening around the world...from sponsorship programs to disaster relief to a blog kept by the president of Food for the Hungry.

So if you or any of your fund-raising sponsors have asked "why Food for the Hungry"? I say "Why Not"!!!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

why we keep going...

If you were at yesterday's team run you know it was no easy run day.  The sun beating down, the humidity, and high temps made for not so fun running conditions.  I am pretty sure I uttered under my breath numerous times "why am I doing this"!?!?

Last year I trained for the full marathon and this year I am training for the half marathon.  I remember last year at certain times asking myself that same question. Especially when running conditions are not what you would hope they'd be.  The combo of bad running conditions mixed in with busy schedules, family's to juggle, jobs to do, relationships to nurture, houses to clean, to-do lists to complete, and of course sleeping at some time during your 24 hour day make for a lot of great excuses to NOT train for this marathon. Good thing we're not doing this for ourselves.

Why we keep going is so much more about other's and very little about us. Isn't that partly why we signed up for this team experience? Despite the brutal temps & humidity and hectic schedules to fit running into, at the end of the day we go to bed knowing we ran that day for a much bigger purpose.  Being on this team gives us a focus that keeps us pushing forward as we run into many obstacles along the way.

When you get a little off focus remember our 4 main goals...

We are on this team and want to use this DSM marathon event to first of all advance His Kingdom and Praise God!  I saw this so much last year and it is happening again. People are finding this team who have never walked through Orchard Hill Church's doors. Isn't that what we want to be about? Bringing people into a place where they can find love, friendship, encouragement, and grace to see Jesus in their own lives better.

Second, we want to get everyone to the finish line HAPPY and HEALTHY! Doing a marathon isn't everyone's giftedness, so to say, but with some hard work, great coaching, and encouraging teammates this can happen. It did last year and it was AMAZING to get to the finish and see your teammates their too. I can honestly say, it was one of my greatest life moments in my life!

Third, we want to develop a team mentality through building relationships and community.  Last year I started on this team knowing a handful of people as acquaintances. When I crossed the finish line in Chicago I was linked with 5 other girls whom I call dear friends today.  This year I started my training with these same gals and it is such a blessing to see the friendships that have  grown from hitting the pavement together for months on end. Not only them, but the many faces I've come to love, respect, and know better simply from joining them as a team member on this marathon team.  As for community... life has shown me through the past 6 years or so how much God intends for us to live life TOGETHER. Community is what God's desire for His people, I believe. What an awesome way to honor God through building community on this team.

Fourth and last, but no less important... we want to raise money to build a school in Mozambique, Africa.  Mozambique is one of OHC's "mission beyond our walls" community's. Partnered with Food for the Hungry, we have a strong desire to serve those in Mozambique. This means we give our time, bodies, minds, and hearts to this mission. We give with our financial resources too. As we do this, we bring awareness to others, inspire others and ourselves, and serve a big God.  Some days when I struggle through a hard run, I envision life for the kids in the Mozambique community. This keeps me going. Once again, less about me and more about them.

So, if you battled through the heat lately or found yourself juggling a crazy schedule, reread through our goals, our mission, and our focus for why we run.  We keep going because we serve a big God who has big plans for this team of runners. We keep going because we have teammates depending on us. We keep going because we have children clear across the globe hoping in us. We keep going because we can.  "We can do ALL things through Christ who STRENGTHENS us!" Philippians 4:13

Keep on going!!!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

and a few more!!!

I am really sorry if I missed you running by me! My kids came down and I got a bit distracted, but really tried to snap a photo of most of you! If you would like a copy of one of these, just email me! (

I have to tell you all what an awesome job you did at Sturgis!!! I know it was hard, it was hot & muggy, and it was a first race for many of you.  Like many hard things in life, we always seem to gain the most from these situations. I hope getting the half under your belt showed you how strong you really are! You can do this! You ARE doing this!!! Keep it up, Team! We are making big steps in faith, strength, endurance, and growth of our hearts.


Monday, July 5, 2010

more peeks!

And even more coming...!!!

Friday, July 2, 2010

take a peek

More pictures coming!!! Check back soon!!!