In August of 1992, I was raising funds to be a missionary to Tanzania in East Africa. The Olympics in Barcelona, Spain was captivating the world that summer. I remember watching the semi-finals of the 400m race. One of the favorites was an athlete from Great Britain named Derek Redmond. He had trained all his life with the goal of winning gold for Queen and country.
As the race started, Redmond was running tactically the race of his life. Around 100m into the race, tragedy stuck suddenly as his hamstring tore. His race was over. His dream was shattered. In an instant, everything was destroyed. But, the world-class athlete refused to quit, stood up, and attempted to finish this race as he hobbled on one leg.
Seemingly out of nowhere, Redmond’s father appeared at his side on the track! His Dad jumped the barricade and refused to be stopped. He placed his arm around his son’s side and together they finished the race. The crowd had cheered the winners but then suddenly realized what was going on with the two men. The cheers grew louder and encouraged the men on their quest to complete the race. Later, reporters would write that this was “the defining moment of the Barcelona Olympics.”
The next day, I read in the Sports page of a local newspaper that Redmond’s official status was, “race abandoned.” But, the reporter noted quickly that everyone in attendance knew that with his Dad’s help, Derek Redmond did indeed finish that race!
People around the world have different world-views, cultures, customs, and languages. But, at their core they all want to be successful in their personal journeys through life. But, like Derek Redmond, tragedy can strike unexpectedly and, in an instant, shatter dreams, devastated hopes, and destroy lives. It is as if they are left by the side of life’s road with “race abandoned” stamped on their hearts.
With over one-half of the world’s population online, most of those knocked down will turn to the Internet seeking help, escape from their current reality, and hope. Frequently, they will write to Network211 and start with something like this: “I went online one last time to see if anyone could give me a reason to live …”
It is with your partnership that we are in the virtual world, connecting with individuals who are defined presently by “race abandoned,” and sharing the life, and love, and hope of Jesus Christ. We journey with them online with biblical content to help them apply God’s truth to their daily lives. Then, we direct them to local churches where they can discover a community of faith that will journey with them to complete life’s race in a manner that honors God.
Life is hard. Sometimes tragedy strikes and we do not deserve it. At other times, we feel the consequences of our actions. Either way, the “thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy (John 10:10a) and leave us on the side of life’s road as “race abandoned.” But, in that same verse, Jesus said “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full” (John 10:10b).
Individuals in the nations of the world are seeking desperately to finish successfully the race of life. Many have been knocked down and are just wanting to get back into the race! And, with your partnership, we are showing them that the Answer they seek is Jesus. He will journey with them, transform them, and give them hope and life.
Thank you for your faithful prayer and financial support! Please note that for every $1 given to Network211 for evangelism that we can make 25 Gospel presentations. Twenty-five individuals will have opportunity to reject “race abandoned,” journey with Jesus, and finish the race!
Dr. Mark Flattery