Mike Beck is the missions pastor at First Baptist Church of Texarkana, Texas. He has served churches in Texas and Arkansas for more than 20 years. His family also served as missionaries in Lisbon, Portugal, for three years.
You would think they come from a long line of endurance athletes. But that’s not the case with my boys. Two years ago when we stumbled upon a local kid’s triathlon, we participated as a fluke. We really didn’t know what it was. Our training consisted of watching YouTube and winging it.
When the dust settled, we brought home a first-place trophy and lots of questions. “When is the next one?” “What just happened?” Since then we have been to 14 races and made triathlons “our thing.”
But as the trophies and medals started to stack up, I asked myself as a dad, “How can I help my sons bring glory to God through all this?” I knew I wanted them to understand that God gave them healthy bodies for a reason. There had to be more than pointing to heaven as they crossed the finish line.
I’m the missions pastor at our church and have worked with Samaritan’s Purse for years. When I read about the Children’s Heart Project, it clicked. Here are all these kids who can’t exercise because of heart defects. Things like running, swimming, and biking take every ounce of energy they have. What better way to show gratitude to God than by helping another kid enjoy the things our kids enjoy?
I’m not sure most kids realize that there are children who can’t do these things. They also need to know that many don’t have great hospitals and doctors like we do. Our “5 Races for 5 Hearts” fundraising campaign has given our kids purpose to their passions. Our goal is $10,000, which would bring five kids to the U.S. for life changing heart surgery.
We have four brothers who have already joined us, and we hope to see more kids jump in and help. We would welcome any kid from anywhere to jump in and join us.
Especially in youth sports, it’s all about getting our kids on the podium with the award in their hand. Whether it is triathlons or baseball or soccer or dance, I think as parents we should strive to find ways for our kids to take the spotlight off themselves and put it back on Christ where it belongs.
Our first race is on May 17, and the last is September 1. If you would like to support 5 Races for 5 Hearts, please visit our FirstGiving page.