Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. – Hebrews 12:1-2
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to undertake a significant physical challenge. After almost a year of training, I rode the 2020 PAYH Bike Ride. Over the course of 5 days, I pedaled 332 miles, averaging just over 66 miles per day at 16 miles per hour. Throughout the week I had highs and lows. Sometimes, I felt like I had unlimited energy and could ride forever (normally in the morning when it was cool). At other times, I felt as if it was all I could do to keep going. It’s easy to get discouraged when the sun is high in the sky, the temperature is in excess 100 degrees, every muscle in your body is urging you to quit, and you look ahead through the shimmering air rising from the asphalt to see that the Good Lord saw fit to create yet another hill.
One of the ways I stayed motivated was to make sure to keep my focus on the right thing. It wouldn’t have been helpful to take a 70-80 mile day and count down the distance until it was complete; instead, I had to break it down into manageable chunks. It was far more helpful to tell myself “only 5 miles to go before the next rest stop” than to say “I still have over 50 miles left to ride today and I’m already getting tired.” If I had focused on the heat, or my exhaustion, or the fact that I still had a long way to go, I don’t know that I would have ever finished.
As Christians, it’s also easy for us to get discouraged, particularly in the midst of the continual turmoil of the fallen world in which we live. There are many distractions out there to keep us occupied, weigh us down, and cause us to veer off course. We have only one way to avoid these pitfalls – we must keep our focus on Jesus Christ! To focus on anyone or anything else guarantees that we will fail. Without Him, we are powerless against Satan and his angels. Through Him, we have access to the strength and endurance we need to accomplish His Will for our lives.
Director of Communications
Remembering the Man They Never Met
One of our employees took his daughters on a walk on the PAYH campus, and they passed by Paul’s grave. They asked about his life and listened in amazement as their father told them of Paul’s feats of strength, and how he used to lift up multiple grown men at a time, and once even picked up a cow and carried it. Most importantly, they were glad to learn that Paul knew Christ. Seeing a crape myrtle nearby, the girls then decided to place some flowers on Paul’s grave.
Sports Enhancement Initiative
We are in the process of strengthening our sports and physical fitness programs, and a partner who wishes to remain anonymous has gotten us off to a great start with the donation of softball helmets, balls, and a pitching machine, as well as a dozen soccer balls, two sets of jerseys, socks and shin guards, and two regulation-sized goals! We are also working on concepts to completely reconstruct our sports fields, remodel our gym, and expand our weight room to better suit the needs of our young men.
Several of our mentors undertook the challenge of a lifeguard certification this past month and have completed their certificates. As a result, we now have the ability to staff our pool with a trained lifeguard any time the young men want to take a swim. This adds an additional measure of safety to our young men as well as peace of mind to their parents and families. Congratulations to Jay, Dustin, Daniel, Aaron, and Jimmy for finishing the course and obtaining your certifications!