“Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore, I do not run like someone running aimlessly; I do not fight like a boxer beating the air. No, I strike a blow to my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.” 1 Corinthians 9:24-27
This is a verse that I had not read in a long time but it struck me how appropriate it is for now. Over the last couple of weeks, we have had to begin coming to terms with the loss of Barbara Morrison our Volunteers Co-Ordinator and Development Ambassador. But Barbara was far more than just that title to Smiles and everyone who knew her. Her passion and energy for helping the people of Romania through the work of Smiles was inspiring! There was no task that was to menial for her, or uncomfortable, and she always had time to talk to anyone and help in any way she could. We will all miss her greatly!Returning to the verse above, it reminded me of Barbara. Like the runner in a race her goals were clearly set. Set on the furthering of God’s work and Kingdom through Smiles because that is where she was called to by the Lord. This allowed her to bless others and be blessed because she was putting all her energy into a clear direction, not running aimlessly.
This challenged me. It is easy to say that I have my sights set on God and His Work but I have to always back that up with action, putting all my efforts into running “in such a way as to get the prize”. Putting all my efforts into working for God now and one day receiving the prize in God’s presence.
Barbara was a fantastic example in this regard and although to all of us it seemed like her race was too short, she is now with the Lord receiving her prize. But perhaps we should look at this as a relay instead of an individual sprint. Barbara has done her part brilliantly and now it is up to us to pick up the baton and run with it, to do our part and build on what she did for God. That way God’s work in Romania continues to grow and that is definitely what Barbara would want!
There are always great examples of volunteers who work so hard to fundraise for the work of Smiles and this month is no different. This is only my second time of writing about them, but it is wonderful to hear about the great variety of events that happen.
• In Wigton David and Margaret Ferriby held a Barbeque at their home. It must have been a fantastic one because there were around 1000 people there throughout the day and raised £500 ($650) for Smiles. That’s my kind of BBQ!
• Aghadowey Baptist Church put on a Family Fun day on the 21st of July. With craft stalls, bouncy castles, face painting, games and a BBQ among other things this sounds like it was a fun day for anyone and everyone! Even more of a blessing was that it raised a fantastic £1068.85 ($1,390)! I am told by Gemma one of the organisers that that brings the total raised to £3,175 ($4,127). This is amazing and we can’t thank everyone enough who has contributed to these efforts!
• Many great events have also been happening in Marlow & High Wycombe. A team there jointly organised a screening of the sing-a-long version of ‘The Greatest Showman’ and managed to raise a fantastic £665 ($865). Apparently, the teenagers and the children definitely won for best singing (and in some cases… dancing)!
• Amber and Becca, organised a cake sale at their church in High Wycombe raising almost £350 ($455)
• One of the team took the initiative of approaching her Head of Year at her secondary school to organise a cake sale within school and raised a further £170 ($221) towards the team’s efforts.
• They have also had a stall at a local fayre, run numerous cake sales (they must like cake!), organised an afternoon garden tea party and are in process of organising a quiz night with a fish and chip supper!
• Various events have taken place in Worthing …. cake bakes, sponsored runs, music and auction evening, car washes, a fashion show, Folk and Ploughman’s evening, face painting and stalls at charity fairs, pub quizzes, crazy hair day at school and preschool photo’s, all of which have contributed towards us exceeding their target of £3,000 ($3,900). This will go towards helping the Colar Family purchase their new home!
“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.” Matthew 25:40-45
All the folk involved in these events listed here, and all those that are happening this week and are being planned – are all appropriate for this verse. The money you work hard to raise will go towards funding projects here in Romania that help people who in worldly terms are ‘seen as less’. But they are so valuable to God, and to Smiles.
Please keep doing the amazing work you do because it is your part of the race that is God’s work!
Thank you again and may God bless you all!
UK Development Ambassador