This past month, Paul’s widow, Glenda, his daughter, Paula, and Glenda’s husband, Stephen visited Gorky Park for the first time to see where Paul had beaten the Russians 64 years before. It was an unforgettable experience. The refurbished amphitheater still stands in Gorky Park; they stood on the same stage.
This amazing performance in 1955 put Paul on the world map. Later that same year, he won the World Championship in Munich, Germany and in 1956 the Olympic Gold Medal in Melbourne, Australia. His notoriety throughout the world began with this competition in Moscow and the next week in St. Petersburg, then known as Leningrad. Glenda, Paula, and Stephen saw this weightlifting sight as well.
In the “Big House” on the PAYH campus, a drawing hangs on the wall of the second floor in a gallery of pictures and framed letters of Paul’s legacy. The drawing depicts Paul lifting a great weight with Jesus standing behind and over him with His Hands on the bar beside Paul’s. This drawing captures Paul’s self-description of his Gold Medal lift in the 1956 Olympics, found in the book A Greater Strength, Paul’s biography. It depicts the truth of Psalm 75:6-7, which Paul believed was the very reason he won The Gold Medal, even though weakened by a high fever which caused him to rapidly lose over 30 pounds in the short 13 days prior to his winning lift.
The Lord Jesus Christ assisted Paul in getting the winning weight overhead, answering Paul’s just prior vowed life-service-prayer to the King of Kings. It was an amazing lift, for Paul had failed in his first two attempts of the three allotted him. That same Jesus also lifts you up in the numerous vicissitudes of this life. Your lifting up by God is not necessarily as world-renowned as the case of Paul’s dramatic lift, but, nevertheless, it is just as critical to you in your own personal rescues by the Lord of Glory.
Will & Jackson
Two young men graduated from the PAYHprogram this past month. Will graduated September 13th, while Jackson graduated September 30th. Both of them came to us as unbelievers, and both accepted Christ during their time in the program, and both were baptized in the campus pool. Not only have they received a second chance in life, but through the blood of Christ they will now spend eternity in heaven. Hear their incredible testimonies at payh.org/will and payh.org/jackson.
United Way Kickoff
A few days prior to Jackson’s graduation, heshared his story with several hundred people on at the September 19th United Way of Toombs/Montgomery/Wheeler Counties kickoff luncheon. Jackson was but one of several individuals who shared how non-profits supported by United Way helped “change the game” in their lives. This year’s goal is $550,000, and 65% had already been met by the end of the luncheon.
Steven Richardson, our Substance Abuse Counselor, recently took some time to travel to Haiti with his church (Harvest Time Faith Center of Vidalia). Over the course of the trip, they met with various missionaries in the Northern / Gonaives region to ascertain how they could best help their ministry efforts. It was his first trip to the country, and Steven stated that he was shocked by the extreme poverty, the abundance of resources, and the resilience of the Haitian people. They are in the process of planning a return trip.
While our main bike ride occurs every July, several of our riders continue to represent the PAYH Bike Ride year-round. Two of these, PAYH Bike Ride founder Mac Jordan and PAYH Director of Communications Stephen Nichols recently undertook a challenging mountain ride from Chattanooga to Atlanta along US Bike Route 21. While their intent was to camp their way down, they quickly ended up sleeping wherever they could find shelter after their tents were destroyed in a storm the first night. Still, they returned safely on September 29th, having successfully completed the trip.
As many of you know, it’s been 25 years since Paul Anderson was called home to be with the Lord. This October, we are celebrating Paul and Glenda’s life and ministry with a very special Founders’ Day. The program will begin with a special presentation by strong man Tim Fox, who will be performing such feats of strength as bending rebar, breaking baseball bats, and driving nails through boards with his hands (which was one of Paul’s favorite’s). Afterward, we will have a father / son softball game with the PAYH young men. Kids can play in the bouncy house and slide, and some of our staff will find themselves precariously perched above a dunking booth. A delicious dinner, catered by Papa Buck’s Barbecue, will close out the evening.
As we look forward to the Christmas season, one of our favorite ways to celebrate God’s marvelous gift of His son is through our annual Christmas Dinner Theater, to be held December 5th & 6th at First Baptist Vidalia. During this time, guests will be treated to dinner and a special production of “It’s Never Too Late” showcasing our PAYH young men. Through them, we will get to know 3 soldiers from the Vietnam era: their hopes and dreams, Christ’s impact on their lives, and how through Him it’s never too late to make things right.
Limited seating available. For tickets, please visit payh.org/Christmas or call us at912-537-7237.