Muskathlon - Jordan 2018: Meet Our Athletes
In October, Open Doors Australia and New Zealand are sending a team of ten to Jordan to run, cycle and hike all while raising funds for the persecuted church.
During their time in Jordan, the team will meet with persecuted Christians and get a glimpse of what it’s like to follow Jesus in a country ranked 21 on the World Watch List.
Amidst the stories of persecution, they’ll see first-hand the way the light of Christ continues to shine in the darkness.
"Let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.” – Hebrews 12:2
Each athlete is set the challenge of raising $10,000 for the persecuted church. Open Doors will distribute the money in the best ways to support the Christians and refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East.
Meet Our Athletes
Abbey’s motivation to take part in the Muskathlon came from a desire to step outside of her comfort zone and serve persecuted Christians living in some of the toughest places in the world to follow Jesus.
She hopes to meet with the people in Jordan, to listen to their stories and encourage them in their faith. Abbey can’t wait to see how Jesus is working through the church in the Middle East, and then share the stories of those I will meet with others for years to come.
“Training for Muskathlon has been exciting and challenging at the same time, running for the Lord and his church is a privilege and a joy,” she said.
Abbey will be completing the Half-Marathon in Jordan.
“Let us run for perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of our faith.” Hebrews 12:1-2
Alecia has always enjoyed sports. Last year a lower back issue, coinciding with a devastating personal battle, forced Alecia to slow down. She explained that time as feeling numb, broken and impatient.
Alecia began to hear stories of the persecuted church and of believers living in unbearable circumstances. Alecia was encouraged by the hope and faith they had found in Jesus. Despite being rejected, isolated and excluded from their communities, they continued to find joy.
“Their stories have encouraged me,” Alecia said. “I’m so excited to help raise awareness, show support and love by standing one with these people on this life-changing journey that awaits our team in Jordan.
A year on from her back injury, she has signed up to run the Half-Marathon in Jordan. Alecia aims to raise $10,000 for the persecuted church.
Bethany recently started working for Open Doors and has heard countless stories of those facing extreme persecution for their faith in Jesus. The more time she spends in her workplace, the greater her desire to support the persecuted church.
One way Bethany has decided to help is to do the Muskathlon - in order to support her persecuted brothers and sisters and raise funds for those serving the church in some of the most conflicted places on the planet.
“I want to meet the people whose stories I am hearing,” she said. “I want to encourage them and I want to be inspired by their faith and perseverance.”
Bethany has asked we pray for her during her training process and that no injuries prevent her from running on behalf of the persecuted church.
The half marathon will be Emily’s biggest run yet. Born with cystic fibrosis, exercise was something Emily loathed. It became something she had to do to manage her condition, but never felt she had to freedom to enjoy it.
As Emily’s endurance increased, so has her health and now running has become one of her greatest passions.
On the Muskathlon, Emily wants to also bring joy and healing to others. She looks forward to raising funds for the persecuted church and meeting those who have sacrificed everything for Jesus.
She knows those who get involved and help her reach her financial target will also be impacted. She has asked for us to pray for her health in the lead up to the Muskathlon and that she would be obedient to the Lord and trust in his provision.
Despite having been heavily involved in sports like kickboxing, basketball and AFL, it wasn’t until year 10 when Isaac ran his first half marathon.
Isaac went on the climb Mt. Kilimanjaro with his dad and later summited the Mera Peak in Nepal. The trek took him just under three weeks.
Isaac will be running the ultra-marathon in Jordan for the 2018 Muskathlon. He believes in the importance of remaining connected with the global body of Christ and of sharing in their challenges.
“The persecuted church are my people, as part of the body of Christ,” Isaac said. “I’m well aware that I won’t be changing the world by participating in Muskathlon but I will however, be able to join with them, build relationships, and step beyond the comfortable bubble of my life in Australia.”
Last year Jacinda began running through a weekly running program. Since then she has built up her endurance and competed in the run City2Surf, Blackmores 10K Bridge Run, the Melbourne 10K Run and the SMH Half Marathon.
“I love that Muskathlon joins two passions of mine,” she said, “supporting the persecuted church and running for those who can’t and wish they could.”
Jacinda believes this experience will be a joyful challenge and looks forward to what God has in store when she runs the Full Marathon in Jordan in October.
James is participating in the half marathon to raise funds for the persecuted church.
A long-time supporter of the ministry of Open Doors, James is looking forward to meeting some of the people he supports and prays for.
James wants to learn from them and enable them to continue the good work they’re doing as they serve others and build the church in some of the toughest places on the planet.
This is Joyce’s second Muskathlon, having completed the ultra-walk in Lebanon in 2017. She loved the experience so much that she’s back this year to take part in the Ultra-Run in Jordan.
After seeing first-hand how the church was reaching out to those in need, Joyce felt the least she could do was raise the funds they need to continue the work they’ve been entrusted to do- being the hands and feet of Jesus.
This year Joyce is particularly looking forward to hearing the way God is working in other Christians lives. Her biggest expectation for the trip and the training is to grow in her faith. Despite breaking her wrist last October, Joyce is determined to run the race well and reach her fundraising target.
After running the Full Marathon in Lebanon 2017, Justine is returning the the Middle East to run another Full Marathon in Jordan.
She said, "The time I spent in the Middle East, has opened my eyes to a loving Father who is always at work around us. The persecuted church has reminded me of the importance of taking my eyes off earthly things and placing them only on things of Christ."
Justine was an avid runner for years. At the age of 16, Justine fell into the illness Anorexia Nervosa. She used running to punish and numb herself, while at the same time to try and soothe herself.
After eight years of illness, Justine recovered four years ago. Now she runs for those who can't - who don't have freedom, who are scared, for the persecuted. She said, "Most importantly, now I run for my Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, who is the only reason I’m alive to tell my tale today."
"Where my journey towards Lebanon was filled with apprehension and fear, my journey towards Jordan is full of excitement and joy. I praise God each and every day for the blessing and encouragement the persecuted church are to us in the "free" Western church.
"I left for Lebanon with a heart that was eager to help others. Now I work towards Jordan with a heart that is so ready to learn and to serve, that is ready to suffer and ready to hurt."
Regularly taking part in local sporting activities like representative rugby, surfing and cricket, Mitch will be heading over to Jordan to run the Full Marathon in the Muskathlon.
He hopes to share Jesus with people who may have never heard the gospel before.