I am hoping to run a leg of the Belfast Marathon on May Bank Holiday Monday in order to support the work of Tearfund in Ethiopia. The first leg of the relay will be run by two Ethiopian church leaders, so that should get us off to a good start! Imagine being part of a relay team that includes Ethiopian runners! It will all quickly deteriorate, however, with me on the second leg from Bridge End to Hillview Road. The very name, Hillview Road, says it all. It’s a short up-hill leg that is bound to kill me.
Other church leaders who are taking part are Bishop Harold Miller, Rev Ken Todd, Former Methodist President, Rev. David McClay, co-leader of New Wine Ireland, Dave Dunlop, Windsor Baptist Pastor, Dave Dickinson, Alpha Ireland and Beth Laverty, 24/7 Prayer Ireland. We will be joined by over 100 other church members who are running in support of Tearfund.
The two Ethiopian Church leaders, Simon Haile and Tefera Abiche, both work for the Kale Heywet Church, which has been a long term partner of Christian relief and development agency, Tearfund. To date, Tearfund’s support has enabled 275 Kale Heywet churches to establish savings schemes and small businesses benefiting 70,000 people living in poor communities.
The average life expectancy in Ethiopia is 48 which would mean that some of our team wouldn’t be alive to make this run if they lived there. I’m delighted to be linking up with Christians across Northern Ireland to assist Ethiopian churches to bring help and hope to people living in poverty. Together we hope to raise £10,000 to help 20 Ethiopian churches establish more savings groups and small businesses which will benefit up to 5,000 people who very poor.
When Patricia and I visited Ethiopia in 2009 we were able to see how one local church in Addis Ababa was able to transform the lives of over 600 people living in their neighbourhood. I hope that our efforts in the marathon relay will enable more people to be helped in this way.
You can sponsor our relay team online at http://www.justgiving.com/Tearfundglobalrunningteam or by phoning the Tearfund NI office on 028 90 682828.