Love over Zika

Guys, the clock on the wall is ticking down into the 43 day territory before my race.  I read somewhere on Facebook that it’s 135 days until we leave for our mission trip.  Crazy.  Where is this time going?

I have to address something that has hurt my heart. It’s actually bothered me for two weeks now after sharing with a co-worker that I’d be heading to the D.R.  She went last year to a resort in Punta Cana and was telling me how lovely the heat would feel after the weeks of winter we’ve had recently.  Then she asked me if I was concerned about Zika.  Being a woman only a few years older than I, she was glad she got her trip to the Dominican done before the outbreak of the Zika virus.  “Cover up in so much Deet,”  she told me.

I know it was meant out of concern.  No doubt the medical world is reeling from the cases of babies whose lives have been altered by the Zika virus.  I know she meant that she hoped I was protecting myself since only the Lord knows the ultimate long term consequences of this virus in our bodies, especially as women.  It still hurt my heart.  Why wouldn’t I put my life out there to love others?  Why would I be so concerned about a mosquito that I wouldn’t show love to the men, women, and children who likely encounter them every day?  We’ll be running medical teams in the Dominican.  Don’t these women and babies deserve the same medical care that my co-worker is suggesting I guard with my life?  Don’t get me wrong, I think that the hotspot for Zika is not the D.R. (I believe Brazil has been hit particularly hard instead).   I still think the bible says it best, though:

Mathew 10:39 If you cling to your life you will lose it; but if you give up your life for me, you will find it

(If my pastor is reading this, he knows I was paying attention this past Sunday, and maybe that’s why these comments have stayed so heavy on my heart)

I’m not trying to say that I’m holier than anyone.  I absolutely have concerns for traveling half way around this hemisphere to spend 10 days in a world so unfamiliar to me.  I’ve heard malaria pills (if they are required by my doctor) can give wicked night terrors in some people, and heaven help everyone in my group if I see a snake. Or a spider. And I already know the “tinkle in the sugarcane fields” bathroom situation awaiting me.  But I’ll steal a line from an old Pastor of mine… “God comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable.”  May I be the hands comforting rather than the comfortable one in need of affliction.

Speaking of affliction…  I’m back into the middle of my second round of training.  Is there a curse with the 8 mile run week?  Last round of training I felt like my 8 mile day was worse than swimming through jello.  This week, it was on a treadmill.  It was mentally t-o-u-g-h.  I think I took two bathroom breaks just to mentally break up the monotony of the belt going round and round.  That and some food network host’s brownie episode were probably the only thing motivating me forward.  I made it, though!  On to bigger and better mileage!

If you’d like to support my race to the Dominican, you can donate to my youcaring page below:

https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115

 

Cool Runnings

7 weeks to race day and it’s cool runnings.  Pun intended.  This weekend, the wind chills are going to be in the -25 to -30 range.  Yikes!  I’ve been trying to figure a way to run my scheduled 8 miles outside all week.  I’ve determined it’s jut not going to happen.  At least I got a solid 7 miles in this past sunny sunday.  I confess, I’ll need some prayer to gut through 8 miles on a treadmill.  If you see me at the YMCA on Saturday morning, I’m sure I could use a cheer of affirmation. Or a movie recommendation.

In all seriousness, I cannot complain too much.  We have had a relatively warm and sunny winter up until the past two weeks or so.  We’ve had some snow, but nothing like last year.  I’ve also learned that having to jump over giant plowed piles of snow aids in agility, or at least that’s what I’m telling myself.

It’s kind of hard to believe I’m 7 weeks out from the fundraising race that will send me on my mission trip to the Dominican.  That means we are also 7 weeks out from our fundraising silent auction that I posted about last week, and a mere four months and change from sitting on a plane down to La Romana. In light of that and the fact that we’ve really embraced the cold over the past few days, I’ll put in a plug for my hubby’s fundraising efforts.  He’s been making strides to get some great items for the silent auction.  He’s scored some lift tickets to several area resorts and some seats at the New Haven Symphony.  Major kudos to him, and if those sound like fun, check out the silent action on April 1st!

If you’d like to buy tickets to the auction, see me or my hubby.  If you’d like to donate to my race, check out the link below.  And if you’d give me some good TV show or movie recommendations to push through an hour and half on a treadmill Saturday morning, leave me a comment!  Thanks for the love and support!

https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115

 

Week 4, Round 2

Today I looked up and realized I’m in week four of my second round of training. I’m so close!    This weekend I’ll put in seven miles to go with my super bowl fun (Keep Pounding Panthers!).

Along with that seven miles, I’ll hi-lite that we have a fundraising event coming up for the Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic.  It’s a silent auction and soiree benefiting the work done in the Dominican as well as raising funds for those of us going on the trip.  Here’s my pitch….if you don’t want to make dinner on a friday night, don’t want to clean the dishes, and want some decent entertainment, buy a ticket!  I’ll have them (as will hubby) available soon.  OR if you are a local business owner and would like to purchase an advertisement in the evening’s program or would like to contribute to the silent auction, send me a message!  Come out, have dinner, and a good time for just a little coin for a good cause.  If you’d like to donate directly to my trip, see my youcaring page https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115 and help convert my $270 dollars raised to over $1000!

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Until next week folks!  I hope to have good things to report from my seven miles.

9 Weeks To Raceday

What a week!  I’m nine weeks to race day and 20% to my fund raising goal to get me to my mission trip in the Dominican.  I’ll post the link again for anyone who wants to push me closer to 100%.

This week has been a little crazy at our house.  The few inches of snow that were being threatened last weekend ended up turning into nearly a foot in our neighborhood.  A few days later, these southern folks had their new england radiator style heat go out.  Twice.  To say we felt like we did not have it under control all week would be an understatement.  (For those who don’t know, southerners have no real need for radiators.  Nearly all of our heat comes from forced air electrical HVAC systems….talk about an new experience for these new Connecticut residents!).

Blizzards and waiting for repairmen and the gas company not only altered my training schedule, but put me in a funk.  I’m a pretty very type-A personality, so when things feel out of my control, I try to find even more things to get done so that I can check them off the list and feel like I’ve taken matters into my own hands.  “No situation will best me.”

I was taken a little bit this week with a post from a fellow mission trip-goer.  She has been before and she talked about how much we don’t have to rely on God in America.  We’re fortunate, I suppose, in the fact that we have everything at our fingertips.  Yet, because of this very availability, we somehow feel like we can control our surroundings and dictate life.  Yep, that’s me to the letter.  She went on to talk about how the people of the Dominican don’t really have that problem.  They have to rely so closely on God that they don’t delude themselves into this “strive more, control more” lifestyle.  I’m sure their lives are so physically exhausting, but can we all agree that the way we go about is equally fatiguing?  Aren’t we as Americans yearning for something?  Social media pops up every day with some article about decompressing with “Mindfulness” and “10 Ways to a Happier Year” or “5 Small Changes to Be Your Best You.”  Someone is reading this.  Someone is eating it up by the spoonful or the articles wouldn’t keep being written. I don’t think it’s the people of the Dominican.  Have you seen happier smiles?

Can we all agree that we can teach the people of the Dominican things like sustainable gardening and irrigation or how to create footings for a building… but they can teach me (us) something, too?

I’ve been hearing “Good Good Father” by Chris Tomlin every time I turn on the radio this week.  I think it’s a gentle reminder in my bad mood from an out of control week of something the folks in these pictures already know.

But I know we’re all searching
For answers only you provide
Cause you know just what we need
Before we say a word

Might we all remember that He is a good, good father.

If you’d like to help me reach my goal as I run 13.1 to raise $1310 for my mission trip to the Dominican, check out the link here: https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115

Only 9 weeks left!

 

Week 2 of Round 2: Snow!

I’m in week 2 of my second round of training and I’ve been inside all but one day of it.  It’s been “Connecticut Chilly.”  This weekend, winter storm Jonas will be knocking on our door.  We think.  Maybe.  I’ve been checking and it seems like the snow forecast changes every hour.  Is snow storm running a thing?  Because I’m not sure I can run 5 miles indoors.  I may have to get inventive and use snow shoveling the entire back patio as cross training.

I can’t help but chuckle to myself how hubby and I were just discussing that once we get to the Dominican in July, we’ll be wishing for a cold breeze.  While I’m bleary eyed and strapping on my running shoes this weekend, I’ll be longing for Caribbean sunshine and warmth.  It’s funny how that works.

I don’t really have much else to report this week.  I hope everyone stays safe if they are in the guaranteed path of the storm.  For all my fellow New Englanders, we’ll just have to play the wait-and-see game to find out if we are getting an inch or a foot of snow. Pray for me if you see me out running in blowing snow.  This southern native isn’t sure she’s ready for that yet.

Stay warm and safe!  And if you’d like to donate to my journey, check out https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115

 

I’m 20% to Goal!

Guess what friends?  I’m 12 weeks from race day and 20% to my fundraising goal!  In even bigger news, we’re about 6 months from the mission trip and team meetings have started.  These 12 weeks and 6 months are going to be gone in an instant, I’m sure!  So, now that I have had the chance to meet with the team for the 2016 mission trip, I’ll fill you all in with some great details.

First things first, our trip down to the Dominican will begin July 1 and span through July 10.  Other teams are going on other dates, but this is when hubby and I will be traveling.  If you aren’t interested or able to check out the donate page, would you commit to praying for us those dates?  Additionally, we’ve gotten the good word that my father and mother in law will be joining us on the trip.  My father in law is the pastor of a Chinese Church in the metro Atlanta area and I can’t wait to see how God speaks across languages.

So, what exactly will greet us when we get to the Dominican?  This team we are traveling with has been going for 25 years and they’ve been able to change the landscape a bit with the help of other teams and the local population year round.

  • The Good Samaritan Hospital is not quite done, but it’s already seeing 50,000 patients each year and now employs 450 people.
  • The Joe Hartman School sees 250 kids through it’s doors each day with the gracious help of teachers who give of themselves and sponsors who give just a little extra money to make sure these kids receive education for the future. If you are interested in sponsoring a child at Joe Hartman School, visit drmissionteam.org or check out “the Joe Hartman School Project” on Facebook. (Just $180/year sends a child to school for the whole year).
  • Fifty for 50.  This was a project to rebuild the corrugated metal houses in Bateye 50.  Dilapidated and leaky homes have been replaced with cinder block and concrete homes with sturdy roofs.

And, what will we be doing while we are there:

  • Mobile Medical Clinics.  Not everyone needs or can make it to the hospital.  We have nurses, doctors, and other clinicians who will be giving of their time in different bateyes and barrios each day.
  • Teaching teams will go to the Joe Hartman school to encourage, to read to the kids, to  share teaching strategies, and to bring new tools for learning such as books, pencils, and games.
  • Fifty for 50 will be building it’s last few homes.  If all goes to plan, our team will complete the last home to be built in Bateye 50 on July 9th.  The next huge request in the Fifty for 50 project will be beds.  Almost none of the families have beds.  They sleep on mattresses on the floor or on piles of clothing.  The goal will be to price, build, and deliver beds to families.
  • Fulfilling Smiles will be delivering food to families in each community.  In a previous post, I mentioned that there has been a drought and many families have been without work.  That means they’ve been without food as well.
  • A sustainable food garden is in the works.  We’ll keep the work up with an irrigation system so that even when work is light, families can still work to have food.
  • There will be an Evangelism team.  Last year, this team married a couple who desperately wanted to be joined in matrimony.  Who knows what will happen this year.
  • And possibly my favorite:  Special Events.  There is a movie night each year where a generator is brought from the hospital and a family movie is played outside.    Dominicans and Americans alike gather around for wholesome fun and night at the movies.  There’s also Joe Hartman Day.  The best way I can describe it having never been is like a “field day.”  I heard great stories in our meeting about how fascinated the kids of the Dominican are with the kids that will be coming down on our trip with us.  They get mission teams with plenty of adults, but what they really want is to see other kids like them.  Worlds away, and we’re not really all that different.

I know I’ve left things out, but if you think all of this sounds like something you’d like to be a part of, check out drmissionteam.org.  If you’re not ready to make that kind of leap, but you’d like to donate to my fundraiser and send me to the Dominican, you can check out the donate link on this blog or go directly to my youcaring.com page at the link below.

https://www.youcaring.com/meredith-ng-444115

If you can’t tell, I’m starting to get excited…and starting to think “Wow, we’re actually doing this.”  Would you please continue to cheer me on as I run 13.1 to raise 1.31?

Down to Double Digits (Back to Week Zero)

Happy New Year!  This week, I’m back at week Zero.  I start up a whole new 12 week training plan next week now that I’m down into the double digits on days until my half marathon.

There’s a countdown clock on one of the walls on my office.  It’s not mine, it’s actually the team countdown clock to our next big trade show, which happens to be only days after my big race.  Every day I walk up the stairs and turn the corner to my office, I see one more day gone and I’m starting to worry about silly things.  Will there be port-a-potties on the race route?  Do I need to be training as if there aren’t?  What about water stops? Will it warm up for my training runs?  Does anyone actually get out and run in wintry mix or negative wind chills?  Will the roads be icy for my long training runs? Certainly by the time I’ve worked back up to 8 or 9 mile runs, the weather will be better, right?  Boy let me tell you, I’ve never fixated so much on weather patterns and average temperatures and rainfall in my life.  Daily I check what conditions are looking like.   Perhaps that’s a lack of faith that God will give me the perseverance to push through my training.  I’m not sure, but I know we’ve all been at a point of obsessive observance (of something) at some point in our lives.

For the Dominican Republic right now, it’s the weather.  One of our sweet church families spent their Christmas break in the DR.  They went right down to Bateye 50 (one of the communities our mission trip will serve) to spread love.  Bateye 50 is in a drought.  They need rain badly as many of the families there make their money cutting sugar cane.  Our sweet church family reported that normally, the cane cutting season would begin in November.  They are so deficient of water, they won’t be cutting until the end of January.  That’s no snow day or a free pass at training on a long run for them. When the folks of Bateye 50 aren’t cutting cane, they aren’t making money to put food on their tables and in the mouths of their children.  They have no weather.com on their smartphones, but rest assured, they’ve been observing those skies for some time.

I don’t really have an answer for whether or not the people of Bateye 50 question God.  I don’t know if they struggle in faith for his provision.  I want to know.  I want to witness these people joining a bunch of crazy Americans who come down to work hard for one week in God-Adoring praise on a Sunday morning.  It makes my “weather problems” sound a little foolish next to the notion that a whole community of people could be without work for months. And it’s foolish to think that by going there, I’ll bring enough to fulfill their needs until the next group comes.  I’m hopeful for something like the story of of the loaves and fishes; Jesus feeding the 5,000.  Wherever we gather for fellowship in the name of Christ, he will feed us all.  For the folks in the D.R. it might look like one thing, and for the Crazy Americans in bright t-shirts and sneakers it might be another, but we’ll all walk away full.

If you would like to find out more about the Mission Trip to the Dominican Republic or Donate to my trip, follow the “About Me and My Mission” link or the “Donate” link.  You can also check out the great team at drmissionteam.org.    And if you’ve never heard the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000… Google it.  There are links that will take you straight to the bible verses that tell the story… a story that starts with 5 loaves of bread, 2 fish, 5,000 hungry men, and 12 baskets of food leftover at the end.  Tell me Jesus isn’t about provision.

Jesus said to them, “I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.”    John 6:35