Adrian is an Open Doors supporter who is celebrating his 60th year by doing 60 fundraising activities to raise money and prayer for the persecuted church - in this blog post, he explains what motivated him, what he's done and what he intends to do.
Adrian, Open Doors supporter
The 60@60 challenge. What’s that all about then?
I was born in a remote cottage hospital in Withernsea, East Yorkshire on 5 August 1960 as all the more local maternity homes in Hull were full. The site in Withernsea is now an old people’s home! I’m not quite at that stage yet, but 60 seemed a big birthday that needed marking in some sort of way.
I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to raise money for persecuted Christians around the world, and 13 September was already in the diary to run the Great North Run half-marathon. I’ve done this previously to raise money for Open Doors, though this year was obviously a bit different. Because of Covid-19, it was a virtual event. I still had to run 13.1 miles but in sunny Southend where I live, rather than on South Tyneside. By God’s grace, my leaden legs kept going! I came 1,906th out of 9,459, and 42nd in my age category, so I was pretty pleased.
I knew I wanted to use the opportunity to raise money for persecuted Christians around the world Adrian
So, the (virtual) Great North Run was in the diary as a ‘one-off’, and I started to think about a whole year of things I could do to raise money for our persecuted family. 60 in a year - that works out at an average of five a month. Almost do-able! Some will be physical challenges like the half-marathon – others will be more ‘bucket-list’ type items, like visiting some steam railways, and others will be plain daft, like eating 60 pieces of chocolate. Many will have a 60-related theme to them. The list is still evolving (and I’m very open to new ideas) but among the planned activities are:
Among the big activities planned for the year is to walk the Pilgrims Way from Winchester to Canterbury. At the end of August, I walked for eight consecutive days and covered 85 of the 135-mile route. I got as far as Otford in Kent and plan to finish it, to Canterbury, in spring 2021. Open Doors produce a Pilgrimage Pack to guide you in your praying and thinking through the walk, which I recommend.
The walk impacted me in many ways. You see beautiful parts of England you would never normally experience; you have some fascinating ‘chance’ meetings – socially distanced, of course! – and you become aware of walking in the footsteps of others who have traversed this route for the last 800 years. And there is a lot of time to spend talking with the Father. It is physically and emotionally demanding and my feet are still recovering. That reminded me of the passage in 2 Corinthians 12: that if one part of the body hurts, every part hurts. A practical reminder of what our persecuted family go through on a daily basis as they look just to survive in circumstances that many of us can’t even conceive.
And that’s the key reason for undertaking this year of different activities. Yes, it is something that personally I will benefit from, learn from and be able to look back on. But it’s much more about walking alongside those in North Korea, in Nigeria, in India and in many other places where they will never have the privileges and opportunities that I have. Who have so little materially but in many cases are rich spiritually. Who need us to come alongside them in their journey, to support and encourage them.
Through doing 60@60, I am hoping to raise £6,000 for our persecuted family. Thanks to people’s generosity I am already 10% of the way there. It seems quite daunting at times, but to know that it will make a real, practical difference to the lives of persecuted Christians makes it all worthwhile. Whether the money goes to livelihood training, emergency aid, spiritual materials or advocacy support, you and I can make our small contribution and help our family stand strong.
Find out ways that you can fundraise for your persecuted family.