From November 12-18, I will run 155 miles across the Patagonia wilderness terrain. And I will celebrate my 30th birthday on day 2 of the race!
I’ve always been one to push my limits and challenge myself.
When my brother-in-law Deyl ran his first ultra-marathon across the Sahara Desert and raised money for Opportunity International through his efforts, I immediately knew that this was a challenge I wanted to face at some point in my life. I have always found it deeply fulfilling and exciting to see my God-given capacity grow when I take on and tackle challenges; but I wanted to run, not only for the physical and mental test of racing long distances across difficult terrain, but also because I believe Opportunity International is changing the world. It is an honor to help further their work to alleviate poverty.
This year, things started lining up too perfectly for me ignore, and, despite major fear and doubt, I decided to lace up my running shoes and sign up for Racing The Planet: Patagonia.
First, each year on my birthday I have a tradition to run a mile for every year I’ve been on this earth—typically with zero training or prep leading up to it. The challenge invigorates me and pushes me past what I think I’m capable of. It causes me to think and dream bigger—which is a great way to start a new year. With my 30th birthday coming up this year, I knew I wanted to do something big. When I saw that Racing the Planet was doing a special race in Patagonia that would fall on my 30th birthday, I knew there was no better way to kick off a new decade than pushing myself harder than ever before.
Secondly, Opportunity International is an organization that is always on my heart. The work they are doing to to empower and enable entrepreneurs to escape conditions of poverty is a cause I am extremely passionate about. But when I found out Opportunity was making a big push in 2017 to further their presence in Colombia, I heard God’s call loud and clear to get involved. I spent the first 18 years of my life growing up in Colombia as a missionary kid with my parents and three older sisters. I learned to read and write in Spanish before English, and I have always identified more with being a Colombian than being an American (at least on the inside, on the outside I’m 6’2 and 100% Swedish descent but I can’t do anything about that).
Growing up, I was heavily involved in my parents’ ministry with the Covenant World Mission working alongside the Colombian people. I saw first-hand the poverty and hardships Colombians face through my parents’ ministries, many of which work with marginalized populations—the same communities in which Opportunity works. I remember working with a ministry called Hands With Hope serving and empowering single mothers who are former victims of abuse and now primary providers in these households. Opportunity serves women just like this, and other vulnerable people throughout Colombia, providing them with financial tools and training so that they can better support themselves and their families—and I am excited that my race will raise money to empower these amazing people in Colombia.
I love every bit of the Colombian culture: the warmth and kindness of the people, the soccer, the food; it is where I call home. Having the chance to partner with Opportunity and further a great cause in a country a love is a dream come true, and gives me an internal motivation for my race that is larger than myself.
Where Donations Go
In spite of the challenges they face, women worldwide show inspiring resilience and determination to break out of the cycle of poverty. Studies show that when women have access to financial services, they have a significant impact on the quality of life for their families, especially their children.
Your gift to Opportunity will empower women to develop new roles as income earners and community leaders. With access to transformational training, and critical financial products such as savings, loans and insurance, women in poverty can build financial security and create stability for their families, often for the first time in their lives.
Opportunity operates under a model of sustainable success. Loans are granted. Loans are repaid and loaned again and again. As important, 95% of our loan clients are women and 99% of these loans are repaid in full.
About Opportunity International
Opportunity International provides small business loans, savings, insurance and training to over 14.3 million people working their way out of poverty in the developing world. Clients in 22 countries use these financial services to start or expand a business, provide for their families, create jobs for their neighbors and build a safety net for the future. Learn more.