We visited Koh Samui, an island in southern Thailand, for a race and family getaway recently. (Which is where we met the fantastic coconut procuring and protecting monkey pictured below!)
I (Brian) went for a run up a mountain and ended up talking and praying with a guy who works as a deep sea diver for oil companies. He shared how very dangerous his work is and number of other mental and physical struggles associated with it – especially following an on-the-job mishap that nearly took his life. Every other word from his mouth was a swear word!
After listening for a while I asked if I could pray for him. “Absolutely! I would love that!”, he said enthusiastically. I prayed and he looked like he might cry as he said how thankful he was for prayer – that he “would never forget it!” It was a great reminder of how powerful it can be when we just listen to people share their stories and offer to pray for them!
There’s been some exciting momentum for me in the stair racing world recently, and I’ve traveled to a few races throughout Southeast Asia in the last few months.
Here’s a brief recap from a race in the Philippines:
I was invited to join the elite category (max of 15 males and 15 females) at a tower race in Manila, Philippines. It’s one of 9 races on the Vertical World Circuit. Several of the guys and gals from the World Championship were there, including the world champions themselves! It’s super competitive on this circuit as the top 3 get prize money. I ended up finishing 7th elite male in a photo finish …just barely edging out the 8th place guy. For some reason, before the race, I had landed on 7th as my goal so I was very pleased with those results. And I know there’s still lots of room to improve with better training, fueling, etc.
A perk of being in the elite category is a free 2-night stay at the race hotel, paired up with another elite male. I’d met my roommate before – a guy from Belgium who was ranked #1 in the world. Before leaving for the trip I prayed with a friend that God would use me to speak truth to him and that he may come to know Christ as his Lord and Savior. We did have good conversation, and he shared with me that he is of the Muslim faith. I got to pray with him before parting, and look forward to connecting more with him at future races.It’s been really neat to watch this all play out. It’s incredible that we live where we live – making these race invitations so much more accessible than if we were living in The States.
75 kids from the community of Ban Pong ran in the Venture Kids Can Run. The run raised money to provide food for hungry children near the border of Myanmar. It was a cool opportunity to invite these kids to contribute to the well-being of others as well as be a part of what Venture is doing in Southeast Asia. We enjoyed volunteering to direct the kids on the course and cheer for them as they went by. Gooooo kids!