Jon David Douglas
I can remember over ten years ago when our church was first made aware of the need in Thailand. A guest speaker told of how he would go to Bangkok where children were sold at auctions. He would save as many children as he could by buying them and then working to find them proper homes or orphanages. But there were few places that wanted these children.
Over the past ten years it has been amazing to see how God built an orphanage in Chiang Rai, Thailand thru the partnership of Woodside Bible Church, the Akha Light Foundation, and “Akha John”, the Pastor and leader of the orphanage. The orphanage now houses around 80 children. The orphanage is their home, where they receive shelter, care, and education. Pastor John and his wife have visited Woodside several times over the years and Woodside teams have taken many trips to Thailand to provide planning, construction, and teaching support. Earlier this year over 30 of the children made a trip to the USA along with the leadership of the orphanage. They were involved in all of the weekend worship services at the Woodside Troy campus. The kids were also treated to trips to a trampoline park, a water park, and other area attractions. These are things that most of us take for granted, but were a first for these kids who were once unloved and unwanted. For me it was almost surreal to actually see these children in person that before I had only seen thru pictures. It was around that time that I decided to join "Team Woodside" to help raise money for the orphans by running the Detroit marathon on October 18th.
I have competed in several sports over the years but I am not really a runner. Before this year the longest distance I had ever run was five miles. However, I have always wanted to run a marathon, and now that I'm too old to move fast I figure that moving slowly for a long time is my best chance to compete athletically. I can't think of a better reason to run than supporting the orphanage. I started training in May but got really serious about the training starting in July when I realized how difficult it will be to run the 26.2 mile race. Since then I've trained hard targeting a 3:30 finish. Unfortunately I've been fighting some recent leg injuries that prevented me from training for a two week period. That setback has me questioning my target pace. Regardless, I am committed to preparing for and running the best race I can on October 18th.
I encourage you to partner with me and Woodside Bible Church by donating to the Thailand orphanage. The funds raised will provide children with a safe place to live, clothing, three meals a day, a Christian education, and health care. A donation of any size is welcome and appreciated. Thank you.
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