This was supposed to be a blog post.
One blog post.
But I wanted you to know the whole story. I wanted you to know how it is that I decided to run for me AND run for others.
So that “one blog post” has grown into a mini-series.
But I wanted you to know.
I wanted you to know about a bit more about my story – the reasons I’ve been running, and how I was encouraged by strangers to “steal my life back” during my races.
I wanted you to know.
And now I want you to know about Mercy House.
There’s a story behind that too.
I’ve been thinking for months now about what organization I might want to support.
Lots of people run and race to raise awareness and support for lots of different charities or causes. Every time I participate in a race, I see runners wearing shirts that represent their commitment to take action and help. There are people running for cancer research, diabetes education, and aids awareness to name just a few. They are running for themselves AND for the benefit of others.
I wanted to do the same thing.
I contemplated running for a variety of different organizations.
I asked around. I googled. I researched. I found a lot of potential groups to partner with but nothing seemed to fit. Nothing felt right. I researched different organizations only to realize that there are so many.
There also remained one nagging thought that I couldn’t shake.
I wanted to know exactly where my money was going.
I wanted to know who the money I raised was going to benefit.
As wonderful as many organizations are and while their objectives are so important, they are so big. And I had this increasing desire to support an organization where I would know who I was helping.
I wanted to run for others and couldn’t figure out which “others” to run for!
This past August, I attended the Declare Conference (a conference for bloggers). Declare invites many missional organizations to sponsor the conference, be present, and raise awareness for their cause.
The girl who was overwhelmed with choosing a cause, now had more causes to choose from.
Enter Mercy House.
Kristen Welch, the founder of Mercy House, was the speaker for Saturday night at the conference. I was not planning to stay the entire evening as I had family commitments to attend, but as I got up to leave, a video started playing. I stopped at the back of the room to watch.
That video stirred something deep within me.
I started to cry.
And I’m not a cry-at-the-drop-of-a-hat-kind-of-girl.
I heard about the story of Mercy House.
And it was my story.
Half a world away.
The video showed the story of Mercy House – a home for girls from the slums of Kenya, Africa.
Girls who have found themselves pregnant through the tragedy of rape or poverty driven prostitution. It told the story of Kristen and how God stirred her heart on a visit to Kenya to see the plight of these girls and to do something to help.
That video stirred something deep within me.
Because I was an unwed teen mom. And even though I live on this side of the globe, it wasn’t easy. The hurt in my heart was overwhelming and the realities of living that life seemed insurmountable at times. But I did have help. I did have support. I did have a family and community of people who were willing to encourage me and love me as I tried to get on my feet.
It wasn’t easy.
But there were people in my life to help.
These girls, almost 9000 miles away on the other side of the world, are in my same predicament…
Except they are unwed teen mom’s not living in America with a teen pregnancy center available to them or a 1-800 number to call. Many of them do not have the support of their family and are instead encouraged by their loved ones and communities to abort their babies.
They are encouraged to choose their next meal over motherhood.
There is no one to give them encouragement and love as they seek to get on their feet.
Until Mercy House.
Mercy House provides prenatal and postnatal care to these young moms. They ensure they receive proper nutrition for the body and care for their souls through counseling and therapy. The girls continue their education and learn job skills that will help them sustain themselves when they leave Mercy House to start their lives again.
Mercy House provides a nurturing environment in which these young ladies can have their babies, care for them, and continue to live until they graduate.
These girls are mentored in motherhood.
They are made ready for the next phase of their lives complete with funds to start a small business or continue their education.
Most importantly, every girl who steps through the door of the Mercy House is offered hope in Jesus Christ.
When I watched the Mercy House video, which is available to watch below, and then later met Kristen personally, I knew this was the organization I wanted to support. I decided that by running I could raise money and awareness for an organization that was doing what I would love to do many miles away on the other side of the globe.
I had found my cause… #MilesforMercy
I plan to run and contribute $1 for every mile I run from now until my marathon on December 14th, 2014.
And I’m so glad to know that I’ve met Kristen in person and that I can see the faces of the very girls my contribution is going to support.
And my upcoming marathon is not gonna be just about me.
I’m running a Mercy Marathon.
And all of the miles I run will be #MilesforMercy.
I figure if I can buy the shoes, buy the water belts, and pay the marathon entry fee, I can spend some money changing the life of another girl that I may never meet.
I hope you continue to follow me on my blog and on social media as I chronicle my journey to running for me.
But I hope even more that you would choose to join me in my quest of running for others.
I hope you join me and that we can touch the life of a young girl who needs our support.
Would you help me?
I’d love for you to join me on my #MilesforMercy journey.
Every time I go for a run, I’m going to put $1 per mile in a jar.
Every Monday, I’m going to announce here on the blog my total mileage for the previous week.
Every Monday, I’m going to go online to MercyHouseKenya.org and donate those dollars.
Every Monday I’d love for you to join me.
Would you help me to help young girls and their children that need your encourage, support, and love?
Would you help Mercy House?
You can contribute whatever you like. Maybe you’d like to give a $1 for each mile I run just like I plan to do. Maybe your children would like to contribute a dime or a penny. Maybe you would like to wait until I run the marathon and then simply contribute $1 for each one of the 26 miles I run on December 14th.
I am so happy that I can team up with The Mercy House as an official 501c3 organization. None of the money comes to me. It goes straight to Mercy House and straight to those girls.
If you want to learn more about Mercy House, I’ve included a couple of videos and links below in this post. I encourage you to read more and watch when as you have time.
I’m running for me.
I’m running for others.
I’m preparing for a marathon…. a Mercy Marathon.
And the miles that I’m running will all be #milesformercy.
I’m stealing my life back and I’m overjoyed at helping girls on the other side of the globe, steal their lives back too.
I hope you join me.
^^^ Click to Tweet ^^^
Do you want to give to Mercy House too? CLICK HERE
(Enter #MilesforMercy in the instructions for sellers so we can keep track of how much we raise!)
Do you want to learn more about Mercy House programs? CLICK HERE