Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Running: From Dread to Love!

Posted by Jamie:
I remember being in PE class and dreading Friday. That was the day we had to run an entire mile! I really disliked running and I was painfully slow, which made it that much worse. Slow = more time running.

Then I graduated, got married and started a family. No more running right? While expecting our first son, I gained a lot of extra weight. I was young so I didn't expect it to be difficult to lose the extra after giving birth. Man was I wrong! I had developed some really bad eating habits and combine that with no regular exercise; I couldn't lose a single pound. I tried halfheartedly to jog in a failed attempt to lose weight. Still really hated to do it and to make matters worse we lived in a small college town. How embarrassing to be out in my over-sized sweats and t-shirts jogging ever so slowly. It didn't work and to be honest I didn't really give it much of a chance.

Skip ahead a few more years…now I had three little boys and some better eating habits but still not enough energy to keep up with them! Three toddlers made it hard to get out and exercise so we got a treadmill. It was one with a CD player and came with some preprogrammed routines. I started with just walking. Slowly but surely it turned into walking with some short jogging. Before I knew it I was running more then I was walking!

At this same time my father in law, Jack was into running. He was a really big encouragement to me and the reason I did my first official race. Well that my friends was the beginning of the end, so to speak. I participated in several “short” races and even a recreational triathlon (decided to stick with just running after that one J). Somehow I had fallen in love with running!

For years I had thought about doing a marathon but just didn't have the courage. So, after our first stint in Liberia I came home and a month before the Bellingham Bay Marathon I took the leap and signed up, it only took me a short 10 years to muster the courage! I had been doing lots of running but didn't really train for it. It was a great experience (although painful) and left me feeling like I could do better. As soon as they opened up registration for the next year’s race I signed up. Well, God had other plans and we found ourselves once again packing in a hurry and heading back to Liberia! I decided it was a bit too long and expensive of a commute to fly home to run.

I got my chance to try again back in August. True to form, I decided at the last minute to sign up. I wasn't sure after spending 5 weeks back home, if I would be up for a marathon. I also was a little nervous to run on the streets of Monrovia. But I just couldn't help myself; I knew I could improve on my time. Despite starting in the dark, rain, and some pretty good hills I wasn't very prepared for, I finished my second marathon and improved my time! The best part was I really felt good when I finished, so much better than my first one.

Running has become more than just a way to manage my weight. As my family has grown it has become my alone time, time to talk to God and enjoy his creation. Now I have the amazing opportunity to combine my love of running with the reason we are in Liberia. Being a mother of six limits my time to volunteer and feel part of the SP team. My desire to serve God and contribute to our team here is coming together in the London Marathon. So, over the next several months I will be training (for a change) and raising money, money that will go to SP Liberia and a couple of projects here. I am so excited to get to raise money for the hospital project! 50% of all the money we (Joni, Kendell and I) raise will go toward the hospital. It is my hope and dream that this will be something big. Please pray along with me that God will be glorified!
If you would like to donate in the US/Canada:
Or in the UK:

Thank you for your support!
Team SP Liberia:
 Joni, Kendell and I just before a long run.

Not the best running weather!

Still smiling about mid point.

Nearing the end!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Running to Love!

Exciting news from the three of us in Liberia- we are running the London Marathon in order to raise funds for the work of Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia!   We will be using this blog as a place to share our reasons why we are running, the projects we are supporting, and our journey along the way as we prepare to run 26.2 miles!  Come along with us!

But first, let us introduce ourselves-

Introducing: Jamie Laird

I love to run for several reasons but mainly it is my alone time with God, a chance to leave the stresses of the day and enjoy the beauty that He created. My role with SP is that of support for my husband Rusty, the construction manager for the ELWA Hospital project. Most of my time is spent overseeing the schooling of our three teenage boys and caring for our 4 year old and 1 year old twins that we adopted from Liberia. It has always been my desire to have a large family but I never dreamed that God would move me half way around the world to complete this dream. In all our “spare” time we enjoy spending time at a local orphanage playing with the children and helping to supply needed items.

The London marathon will be my third marathon, my most recent marathon being here is Liberia. For me, this is an opportunity to feel part of the team and to be involved with SP’s work. My hope is by raising funds for Samaritan’s Purse, I can contribute in a small way to the projects here in Liberia.

If you are from the UK, my fundraising page address is:

If you are from the US/Canada, my fundraising page address is:

Introducing: Joni Byker

Growing up on a farm in Iowa, I remember spending hours as a kid exploring through the tree grove around our farm. With a walking stick in my hand, I would pretend I was in Africa, searching for people so I could tell them about Jesus.  God made that desire and dream a reality-  more of a calling, really!  As time went on, He also gave me a desire and gift for photography, and my dream began to include using that gift to glorify God and share His story on the mission field.  I have now spent the last eight years doing just that- using my passion for photography to share what God is doing through photography and video.  

For the last six years I have been privileged to work with Samaritan's Purse in Liberia. I have served in various roles- hosting teams and volunteers, managing our adult literacy program, and more recently, managing our SP funded projects and communications.  After following God's call to the mission field in Liberia, I have been challenged and stretched in every way, and running the London Marathon will do that very same thing. If you have ever met me, you would know that running has not been part of my repertoire.  Even so, I want to use this amazing opportunity to continue to share about how God is transforming the lives of Liberians every day through Samaritan’s Purse projects.  By His Grace, through His Power, for His Glory.

If you are from the UK, my fundraising page address is:

If you are from the US/Canada, my fundraising page address is:

Introducing: Kendell Kauffeldt

Serving as Country Director for Samaritan’s Purse in Liberia for the past nine years has not only been a great privilege but also a great challenge.  It humbles me to know that in a small way we have been able to help those that have suffered so much.  I love the work that we are doing.  Seeing transformation in beneficiaries and communities makes the challenges worthwhile.  I work with some of the most amazing staff; they are passionate to help, very competent and inspire me every day.  I am so thankful. 

So you might be asking what does this all have to do with running.  Well those that know me will agree that for me to run a marathon is a seemingly impossible challenge, and truly it is, but the challenge of running a marathon pales in comparison to the daily challenges many Liberians face every day and so I will run the marathon.  I am inspired by my staff and their passion for the work that they do, and so I will run the marathon.  I truly believe that the projects that Samaritan’s Purse is doing in Liberia are making an eternal and physical difference and so I will run the marathon. 

I must mention our team.  I am thankful that I am not doing this alone, Jamie is simply amazing and you will get to know more about her through this blog.  Joni a gifted photographer and leader and now a runner- and is my training partner.  Lastly, our coach, Bev, who will make sure that I complete my first marathon.   A marathon is a great challenge but it is also a great privilege that I am getting to run the London marathon to raise money for Samaritan’s Purse work in Liberia.  I hope you will join our team. 

If you would like to support Kendell:

And are from the US/Canada:

Are from the UK: