The sun was scorching on the afternoon of the 29th of April, but that was no excuse for teenagers, children, and adults not to show up to the Plaza Salvador del Mundo, in the Salvadorian Capital. They had one goal, “To run for the world.” Many of them had been training for weeks or months before the 5km run, as well as praying specific unreached countries.
“During the race every time I was tired, I thought about the country of Turkey. I thought Turkey wants more from me, and then more countries came to mind like Spain and Indonesia which then started to motivate me. There was another moment near the end when I wanted to stop but then I thought about the difference it would make if I stopped. I started to repeat to myself – I am brave, I am brave I am brave,” expressed Leticia Espinoza, volunteer at OM El Salvador and winner of the female division of the race.
According to the missionary training organization OASIS, approximately 32% of the global population (680 million people) has not had the opportunity to hear the gospel, and many of them had never even hear of the name of Jesus.
This is the reason why the leader of OM El Salvador, Marlene Guevara, supported these events that raise awareness for Christians who are working in the least reached areas and sharing the message of the gospel.
“Run for the World (R4TW), is a race whose main objective is to mobilize people to be able to pray, give, and go. When the people are running they are praying for a specific country, they get to know about one of the least countries. As well as giving, they could sign up to support a specific project, one of which is the Academy. It is a language academy to support and prepare future missionaries to go to the least reached countries around the globe,” explained Marlene.
For Diego Humberto Valeriano, the winner of the men’s division, it was an unforgettable experience, “not only to be in the presence of friends but also to witness my brothers and sisters in Christ coming from other parts of the country to come here to serve the Lord in a new way.”
Leticia added, “the part that I liked the most or that was most significant for me was the fact that we prayed. Because it says in the Bible that we can be assured that the Lord our God will hear our prayer and that He is faithful. And that He will strengthen us to fulfill His task because we are following His task.”
A Calling for All
Marlene shared, “This is the time for El Salvador, and the rest of Latin America to start with sending missionaries. Many times we doubt if we are ready to go or we are waiting for some sign from God as a confirmation that we should go. But if we read the Scriptures, He has called us to follow and therefore we must not be afraid and doubt because there are many opportunities in the mission field.”
However, it can be easy to overlook the important role that the local churches have played in missions. For a staff member at OM El Salvador, it is necessary to know what role each must play with the local churches. The church is here on earth as representatives of God by sharing the gospel.
Each one of the participants agreed that this is an encouragement and a reminder for the believers of the churches called to share the gospel.
The OM team believes that there are no limitations on how to have a role in missions as some can pray, others give, and others go. Every participant of the race knew this because at the end of the race while the fatigue of the participants was evident, so was a deep sense of joy and happiness because everyone was able to help in their part.
Leticia concluded, “Doing this race is really important because it makes people ask who are those crazy people running? Oh, they are running for Christ!”