Yesterday while being interviewed on a radio program based out of Buffalo by Neil Boron of WDCX F.M. 99.5 I thought ahead to the upcoming marathon I am to run in Cleveland. I thought of all the negative associated with the running of an actual marathon, but I also thought of the positive. That is, when I write out all my thoughts and experiences of the months leading up to the marathon and post it to my blog. Life line is the name of Neil`s show and life line is what Ratanak International is providing for these girls in Cambodia.
The date is Sunday May 10 2009. The time is 7.25 a.m.
I am standing outside Square One Shopping Mall in Mississauga.
I am with 1414 other people, crowded into a space that should accommodate 200.
Being an introvert, and someone who usually keeps away from large crowds.
I should be feeling extremely uncomfortable.
I am not, in fact I am jumping up and down in anticipation of what awaits me.
I have chosen today to run the full 42.2 km Mississauga Marathon as a means of raising funds and awareness for the New Song Center in Cambodia.
New Song is named after two girls Nhu and Sung.
The center rehabilitates children who have been forced to work as prostitutes.
I trained five months for today.
The last two months have been extremely difficult.
I have felt like there was a spiritual battle going on all around me.
I have had terrible nightmares.
I have had trouble sleeping.
I have been exhausted spiritually, more than physically.
I have felt like I have carried the weight of the 57 girls from New Song on my back.
Today I realize something has changed.
I realize these girls were with me when my father placed his arm on my shoulder and prayed for health, courage and victory before the race.
Today I will hear their voices, cheering me on as I run by the spectators lining the streets of Mississauga.
Today I will see their hands, as they pass me water and Gatorade at the refreshment stations.
Today I will see their feet, as they run before, beside, and behind me keeping my path clear from any obstructions.
On Wednesday I received an email from a friend of mine telling me "I pray that God shows you the faces of the girls when you run."
His prayer was answered. Usually when I see their faces, they are in pain, they are terrified, they are broken, and they have tears in their eyes.
Today God has smashed their chains, and I see their faces.
They are smiling, they are satisfied, they are whole, and they are laughing.
Yes today is going to be an amazing day I think as I start my run.
The beginning of my run takes me through a very wealthy part of Mississauga.
I could visit, but I could never afford to live here.
The lots are measured in acres, not square feet.
The property values are listed in millions, not thousands.
The house sizes are thousands of square feet, not square feet.
Than I wonder how many men from this neighbourhood have been overseas to abuse children?
Than with almost a sense of dread I ask God an even tougher question.
Lord, even today as I run is there a man from this neighbourhood waiting at the airport?
Is he going to a less fortunate Country to take advantage of his economic strength to sexually abuse children?
My heart sinks, and I shiver as the answer yes comes back to me.
Turning down one street to step onto another I start a series of what if questions.
What if just one house on each street in this neighbourhood decides to sacrifice part of their abundance of wealth, and give it to the poor.
What a difference they could make.
I ran past four Churches that Sunday.
I thought what if one of these four Churches took seriously the charge that is throughout the whole Bible to look after widows and orphans in their distress?
What if one of these Churches realized that righteousness, and justice are the foundation of the Lord`s throne, and acted accordingly?
What if one out of every four Churches in Toronto acted this way?
What if one out of every four people in Toronto who call themselves Christians acted this way?
I dare say Toronto, and the rest of the world would become a better place.
The next part of the run is uneventful until the 27 km mark.
The steepest part of the run starts here and goes for the next km.
Whoever designed the course could not have possibly known the way the wind was to blow on the day of the run.
On top of the difficulty of running up the steepest part of the course, a 50 km/h wind was blowing in my face as I ran up the hill.
This was the toughest part of the run.
This was the toughest physical challenge I have ever faced.
Many people stopped running at this point, but I kept on.
At the top of the hill a strange thing happened.
A woman who I had not seen said "thank you you were the only thing that kept me going." She sped up, and I never saw her again.
What she had done is to run directly behind me the whole way up the hill.
Since I was taller, and broader than her I took all the force of the wind. She only had to concentrate on navigating the hill.
The girls of New Song have been taken out of prostitution, but they are starting the rest of their lives at the bottom of a steep hill.
When I intercede for them I am telling God I am willing to go to the bottom of the hill, to lead them up.
Their struggles are not one kilometre as mine was, but they will have to climb this hill every day for the rest of their lives.
They don`t face wind, but they face shame, guilt, and discouragement as they climb the hill.
When I pray for these girls I believe God may take something satan wanted to add to the girls load, and place on mine.
So maybe the next time when I get an unexpected car repair a traumatic memory is kept from one of these girls.
So maybe when I do somebody else`s job at work without anybody seeming to notice, or thanking me. Maybe one of these girls was spared some physical harm.
Maybe on one of those days when everything goes wrong from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed.
Instead of feeling sorry for myself, and asking God why?
Maybe I should thank God, because that day was the day when satan wanted to overwhelm one of these girls so much that they would give up and take their own life.
But God knowing the girls were weak that day had allowed me to carry their load.
And maybe, just maybe one day when I am walking in Heaven I will feel a little arm pulling at me.
I will look into the most beautiful eyes of a child I don`t know, but she seems to know me.
She will go on to say "thanks without you I would have not made it to here."
Everything should have been easy after this, but than I met up with someone I have named the obnoxious runner.
After turning the corner after the hill I noticed a man weaving wildly back and forth.
As I came closer to him I saw the reason for his erratic running pattern.
This man was blowing his nose without the benefit of kleenex, he tried to clear his nose at least ten times.
After almost being ran into the second time the old Larry came out. I seriously considered taking this man`s number down and looking him up at the finish line.
Than my first and only laugh of the day. I thought if I have enough energy to waste on anger at this point of the race I think I will be all right.
I increased my pace, and thankfully I did not see him again.
I realized through this experience many times satan put`s distractions in my life.
Maybe I don`t agree with someone in a group I belong to. Maybe I feel left out.
Maybe I feel someone talks too much. Maybe I feel someone is getting too much attention.
What this does is much like with that man my focus goes from the race I am supposed to be running and the finish line, instead to the individual or situation that is distracting me.
Sadly I may even stop running.
At the 31 km mark my right calf starts to tingle. This is not good, as I have battled this problem for the last two months.
Three people who interceded for me gave me Hebrew 12: 12-13 as a promise from God when this injury first flared up.
One wrote me a letter saying this:
12 Therefore strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees
13 Make level paths for your feet, so the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed.
She went on to say: I sense that the final words about healing the lame are not just for you Larry, but also for the girls in Cambodia who have been "lamed" prevented from walking away by their captivity, and lamed in their spirits as well.
I sense the Lord is saying that as you Larry, strengthen your knees and make level paths for your feet in running the marathon, the awareness and prayer and funding you inspire will be used by the Lord in bringing not disability, but healing to the girls.
I`m reminded of what Don Brewster said about secular mental health professionals thinking that the girls rescued from slavery are so damaged they will never recover- yet Jesus heals them!
With these thoughts running through my head, I repeated those two verses out loud for the next while and the pain in my calf went away.
All along the course there were many signs with sayings that were mean`t to encourage the runners.
At the 36 km mark one caught my eye.
Pain is temporary
Pride is forever.
I changed it to:
Pain is temporary
Glory is forever
New Song houses 57 girls.
I have heard estimates that from 1.25 to 1.5 million young children are being forced into prostitution.
Sadly not every one of these girls will be rescued. Some will die as they lived as virtual slaves.
Yet, this is the second time that God has shown me what is in store for these girls.
Pain is not a word that can even begin to describe what these girls have had to endure each day for their lives.
As much as pain is not a strong enough word to describe these girls conditions.
The word glory need to be multiplied by infinity to explain what God (their creator) has in store for these girls when he brings them to spend the rest of eternity with Himself.
They are going to be given the highest places of honour in Heaven.
The run is finished but I am not.
Two years ago a Conference was held in Toronto titled "Slaying the Giant" ending the sexual exploitation of children.
Another one of my intercessors gave me Job 29: 13 -17 as encouragement.
17 I broke the fangs of the wicked, and snatched the victims from their teeth.
I really like this because if you were to rescue someone by pulling them out of the oppressor`s mouth. The victim is free, but oppressor is free to grab another victim.
If the fangs of the oppressor are broken. The victim is free, and the oppressor is not able to grab any more victims.
I believe Jesus is in the process of breaking the fangs of the wicked.
Two stories from the last week.
Craigslist has been forced to shut down their erotic service ads. Now they have to be monitored. (this was a favourite way for pedophiles to communicate with each other.)
One girl from Svay Park who attended Rahab`s house in Cambodia ( a former brothel turned into a Church) has been rescued from being trafficked.