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United Youth Corps: Running the Race

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Running the Race

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We knew this was going to be a year packed full of once-in-a-lifetime experiences. At the beginning of this project we were challenged to take advantage of every opportunity that came our way. It would be up to each one of us to make sure that we did not leave here with any regrets.

We are now in our seventh month and have done our best to live up to this standard. Recently we took advantage of one of these opportunities.

Misery Loves Company

It has been said that misery loves company, but on April 9, 2010, the five of us found this statement to be all too true when we entered and completed the Dead Sea Marathon. While we are still in the recovery process, I think we would all agree that this was an opportunity we are glad we accepted. After training for weeks, we ran the 26.2 miles of the race, beginning in the outskirts of Amman and ending at the Dead Sea, the lowest point on earth.

The amount of time and effort put into preparing for this challenge was well worth the camaraderie that we built along the way, as well as lessons learned about this project, our lives and ourselves.

One of the reasons I enjoy marathons is because they are straightforward. You know there will be a clearly defined start and finish. The expectations of the runner are clearly laid out: you must get yourself from point A to point B. However, despite each one’s fitness level, each runner meets various obstacles and challenges along the way both physically and mentally. It is up to each individual runner to determine how he or she will respond to these obstacles.

A Yearlong Marathon

In many ways our time here in Jordan has mirrored a race or marathon. We began here with a clear start date, and we are quickly closing in on our finish date. From the beginning, our goals and what was expected of us were clearly defined. Our goal was to live in a Middle Eastern country and build relationships not through proselytizing but through service and through living our faith as an example of the coming Kingdom of God.

Along the way we have met and worked alongside some amazing people and built many strong relationships. We have gained many memories and experiences that will last a lifetime.

While most of our time here has been very positive, we have all had our obstacles and challenges to deal with. It has been during times like these that our bond as a group has been strengthened, and it has been important to remind one another of the big picture and our overall goal—not just here in Jordan but in our lives.

Run With Endurance

We have been called to take part in a much bigger race. Just as in a marathon, when the pain and difficulties begin to set in, it is easy to feel like you will never reach your goal. You begin to think you are the only one out there having this internal struggle. Many times the obstacles that are set before us can cause us to lose site of the ultimate goal in life and make us feel isolated.

Henry Ford defined an obstacle in this way: "Obstacles are those frightening things that become visible when we take our eyes off of our goals." Keeping our eyes on the Kingdom, our ultimate goal, is vitally important.

During our stay here we have done our best to take advantage of every opportunity that has come along while trying to live our faith as an example. Through the different challenges and obstacles we have faced individually, we have had to rely on one another to remind us that we are part of a larger race. And it is vital that we never lose site of the finish line—the Kingdom of God! UN