Why I Started Running in Barrouaille

Half Marathon PictureWednesday afternoon the Lord started leading me to do something that to be quite honest I REALLY didn’t want to.  Not because it was sinful or rebellious, but would attract a lot of attention….

He wanted me to start running again

Sadly since leaving the states I haven’t done much running since

  1. Roads on the island are very small (often too small for two vehicles, much less a runner)
  2. The island is filled with huge hills that would be very difficult to run up
  3. And of course the fact that it’s 80 degrees year around makes running difficult as well
Most of all though I wasn’t interested in attracting more attention to myself.  Because the only thing that’s look stranger than a white man in Barrouaille is a white man running through Barrouaille!
Knowing it was the Lord’s will I though I did a trial run on the beach but found it was incredibly uneven, not long enough to get proper exercise (only a couple hundred yards), and just resulted in soaking wet running shoes.
This of course meant my worst hopes would be realized…
I’d have to run on the streets
Barrouaille is situated with one main road where most of the shops or businesses are located, then two other secondary roads are located below it. Since running on the main road would be too dangerous (for my body and pride) I decided to run along the secondary roads.  Unfortunately that didn’t take too long and after about twenty minutes I was faced with the question of whether or not the brave the main road.
As I walked along it trying to catch my breath a lady in town stopped me and asked why I was sweating so much.  When I told her that I had been running her eyes got wide and the lady (along with her friends) were VERY interested in seeing me run.
In that moment part of me wanted to refuse and walk home (never to run again) but another part realized that maybe…just maybe this was an opportunity to connect with the people, and create relationships that allow the Gospel to be shared.
 So I ran with it (sorry for the pun)
After putting on a big show saying that I wouldn’t run because everyone would make fun of me (they promised not too) I ran about ten-meters and back.  While that was done I heard some good-natured laughter, but also the words “go John go” clearly shouted.
Now of course my reputation town is to be Pastor of Tabernacle Baptist Church, not “crazy white man who runs through town” but in a sense people need to see that side of us sometimes.
That goofy side
The one that’s willing to laugh at himself
And is willing to look ridiculous if it builds a bridge for the cause of Christ
I believe that sometimes God takes great joy in asking us to do things that may seem embarrassing or ridiculous.  Because it’s in those moments that the only place the Glory can possibly go is to Him.

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