Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,--Hebrews 12:1

Friday, November 11, 2011

20 Miles Tomorrow at the Walk for Payne

It's not a race, not your typical running event, but it's where I'll be running tomorrow. Just a stone's throw from the building where I work and still on the same campus. I've pledged to run 20 miles at the Walk for Payne walk-a-thon.

This event will be held at the Vilonia High School stadium, and every mile will be run on the school track. I haven't run laps around a track in 25 years, since high school, but this is a great cause that's worth running a few hours round and round the old oval.

"Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship."--Romans 12:1

Proceeds from the event will go to benefit Arkansas Children's Hospital and Angels for Angela Pillowcase Ministry in honor of VHS junior Angela Payne. Regular readers will already be familiar with ACH, because it's one of the three charities we raise money for. Angels for Angela is a cause created by Angela that sews and provides brightly colored pillowcases for young children beginning chemotherapy.

Angela is an amazing young lady, a shining example of faith, strength and love. She has been one of the major inspirations to me throughout the trial of losing Amanda. In fact, only a couple of weeks after Amanda was murdered, Angela sent me a Facebook message directing me to a song she thought might help, "Angel by your side" by Francesca Battestelli. The song was fantastic, and definitely inspiring, but it was Angela and her story that really helped me look for a way to keep going.

"38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord."--Romans 8:38-39

Though only 16, she has already overcome more than many people will ever encounter in their entire lives. She was diagnosed with cancer in junior high school and fought through the surgeries, the chemotherapy, and sickness that comes with the dreaded disease. Throughout her ordeal, she and her family remained steadfast in their faith in our Lord and Savior. Watching from the outside, I was amazed that any child or any family could endure that pain and suffering and continue to be such strong, positive, Christian role models.

" 3 Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope."--Romans 5:3-4

Early in this school year, Angela was declared "cancer-free" after a routine scan. She, her family, and even the entire community rejoiced at the news. It appeared her war against cancer was won.

Only a few weeks later, however, we learned the cancer had been lurking in the shadows all along, gathering its strength for its next big offensive with Angela. Another scan performed when Angela became ill revealed two 1.5 inch diameter tumors. Surgery was quickly scheduled and dozens of smaller tumors were spotted when the doctors went to remove the two.

Next week, Angela begins the chemotherapy all over again. She has several rounds of treatments scheduled over the next several weeks, and the Vilonia community is rallying to support her and her family.

That's what the Walk for Payne is intended to do. Her classmates, teachers, and others in the community want Angela to know just how much she is loved, how important she is to this community, and how big of an impact she has had on all of us.

If you're in the area, we'd love to have you join us tomorrow. If you can't be there, you can donate to Arkansas Children's Hospital through the Walk for Payne fundraising page. Please donate if you can.

If you don't know Jesus as your personal savior, if you're missing the faith, hope, and love written about here, if you want the peace that we as Christians have in our lives, please visit our Got Jesus? page for step-by-step instructions on how to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior.

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