POPLAR HILL, ONTARIO —Poplar Hill was our first camp of the summer, and it was the eighth time we were in this community. Team members were Chris Lerm, Muriel LeClerc, Katherine Enns, Don Wiebe, Albert Martens, Taylor Bergen and Jordyn Bergen. Joel Jolly joined us for the last two days of the camp. Continue reading Athletes in Action Camp 2019→
Canada/El Salvador —“Obey My voice and I will be your God and you will be My people; and you will walk in all the way which I command you, that it may be well with you.”
These are the words of God the prophet Jeremiah brought to the people of Israel (Jer. 7). Yet we know they did not obey or incline their ears to Him. Instead they walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil hearts. In fact, they were moving backwards and not forwards, doing more evil than their parents. Continue reading Stepping Out of the Boat→
MARITIMES – Venus Cote grew up with her grandparents on the Cote Reserve in east-central Saskatchewan after her mother passed away. She remembers, right from the start, being surrounded by alcoholism. “It was the only life I knew,” she recalls. “It was how my family dealt with hurts and losses.”
WINNIPEG – I am kind of the new guy at Inner City Youth Alive. After six years at Siloam Mission and a decade in Japan previous to that, I have finally landed in the place I’ve been hearing about since I first came to Winnipeg from our little farm in Killarney.
WINNIPEG It’s been close to 33 years since the first ministry initiative in what is now Inner City Youth Alive. I have fond recollections of the willingness of Fort Garry EMC to help launch this initiative. Many EMC churches got on board and soon EMMC and CMC churches. Continue reading Reflections on Our Connection to the EMC→
In December 2017, the 6th Polar Bear Marathon took place in Churchill with 17 International runners. It was a challenging event this year because of the indirect effects of the railroad tracks not being in service.
We had Mohamad Ahansal from Morocco run with us. He is a long-time friend from the Sahara Desert, a true “son of the desert,” which is where I met him while running the Marathon des Sables four times. We also had three runners from Mexico, two from Germany, three from Toronto, several from Churchill, and two from Tadoule Lake.
A concern, of course, was to keep the three Tarahumara runners from Mexico safe and warm. The three, from the Copper Canyon, did really well. The father, Santiago Ramirez, ran 50 km in five hours and four minutes. Mario, son to Santiago, ran the full marathon, whereas Juana, daughter to Santiago, ran the half marathon. All were kept safe with no frostbite, even though it was -22 C with chilly wind.
The Athletes in Action dessert night in Steinbach, Man., went very well, with over 200 people coming. Some just showed up without registrations.
The Mexico connection to the Polar Bear Marathon is pretty huge. I was totally surprised to have this become such a big media event. A radio station in Toronto requested an interview with me about the Tarahumara runners. What is so special is that one runner from Mexico is a believer in Jesus, which makes the whole event of the running ministry more meaningful.
Many of you may have heard of the book Born to Run by Chris McDougall, where he writes about the Copper Canyon, the Cabello Blanco 50 mile ultra marathon, and barefoot running. Often the Tarahumara runners run in sandals and the girls run in skirts. Lorena Ramirez is another family member who is famous for her long distance running in Mexico. She could not be with us, because she was running somewhere else during that Polar Bear Marathon weekend.
David Peters was my translator for the Ramirez runners, and he came with me to Churchill to help. He has written more about what happened when the Ramirez family returned to Mexico. Their reception was huge, he says. He called it a “zoo.” The runners were met at the airport by media and government officials, and a press conference was planned with the governor at his palace. (The governor also congratulated them on his Facebook account.) Only then could they go home.
A scientist in Churchill had filmed the marathon and he put it on YouTube. This was picked up in Mexico and, in turn, shown on Mexican national television. David also informed me that Mario was given a house by the governor for all his accomplishments. Pray for Mario as his dream is to develop a Christian school for his Tarahumara people.
I have a long list of people to thank for all the help that was given to organize the marathon in Churchill to the dessert evening in Steinbach. It was a massive event that influenced many people worldwide. Thank you. I greatly appreciate your continued prayers.
Albert Martens (Steinbach EMC) serves with Athletes in Action. He has a long history of ministry and of long-distance running and combines the two in service to Christ.
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