Serving Persecuted Christians Worldwide - 60 and out! Adrian shares about mammoth challenge that’s raised over £6,700 for persecuted church - Open Doors UK & Ireland
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10 August 2021

60 and out! Adrian shares about mammoth challenge that’s raised over £6,700 for persecuted church

He’s done it! You might remember Adrian, an Open Doors supporter who is celebrating his 60th year by completing 60 fundraising activities to raise money and awareness for the persecuted church. Earlier this month, Adrian completed the mammoth challenge – and has so far raised over £6,700! We caught up with him to find out how he got on.


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Adrian's sixty challenges – which ranged from the quirky to the extreme – have so far raised over £6,700 for the persecuted church

Memorising parts of the Bible is always a rewarding exercise. But for one Open Doors fundraiser, learning Isaiah 60 by memory had added significance: it was the 60th and final challenge of his 60@60 fundraising activity for Open Doors. His aim was to complete 60 activities – ranging from growing a moustache for 60 hours to going on England’s longest zipwire – in his 60th year. Four days before he turned age 61, Adrian completed his extraordinary challenge. So far, he has raised just over £6,700!

Here, Adrian shares how he got on, including the highs and lows he experienced over the past year, and what advice he’d pass on to fellow fundraisers...

To what extent did the overall challenge meet or exceed expectations?

I knew that it would be a challenge but in one sense I didn’t quite know what to expect! It’s probably fair to say that it consumed my life in many ways – physically, emotionally and spiritually.

It provided motivation and reason to do things that pushed me out of my comfort zone which I would never have tried otherwise (e.g. white water rafting). It also provided a push to do things I wanted to do but wouldn’t have done without the motivation of completing the challenge. One of the biggest things I learnt was that fear always appears greater beforehand than it is in reality.

I also learned much about faith. There were several occasions where, having not had a donation in a couple of weeks, God brought encouragement – notably an unexpected donation of £1,000. I also saw answers to prayer when exhausted, frightened, etc. 
I look back and am grateful to the Lord for the amazing opportunities the challenge has given me and the things I experienced. 

Has the challenge changed how you view and pray for the persecuted church?

The challenge reinforced a lot of what I already know through being a speaker for Open Doors and having done previous fundraising events. 

However, it did give me opportunity to walk alongside the persecuted church in a closer way. During tough physical activities, it was good to think of the pain and challenges persecuted Christians experience – for example, when running, I reflected on the freedom I have when others are stuck in prison cells for their faith. One the challenges was spending a week on one meal a day (bread and soup). It really made me think of those who permanently live this way.

Meanwhile, walking the Pilgrims’ Way (from Winchester to Canterbury) reminded me of the journey of those who historically took the route (often in poor clothes and footwear, far beyond their normal life, in search of God and of hope) and those who do the same today across the world, journeying in search of the Lord. 

Overall, the activities reminded me that the story of the persecuted church – which the challenge has enabled me to share with a wider audience – is one that affects real individuals. 

What were your highlights of the challenge? 

  1. Seeing beautiful places, churches, Jane Austen places and Spitfires along the Pilgrims’ Way
  2. Spotting a fieldfare and a goldfinch (long sought after) as my last two birds on the bird spotting challenge
  3. An amazing sunset and rainbow on the Holy Island of Lindisfarne
  4. The elation of completing the zipwire, swimming in the sea and the view from The Shard
  5. Finally memorising Isaiah 60 after many months trying!

What were the most challenging times for you? 

  1. Doing Pilgrims’ Way 1, during which my feet really suffered with blisters. Every mile was a challenge
  2. Distributing the calendars and cards
  3. Keeping going with activities in late winter when momentum was slow 
  4. Facing my fears (e.g. heights)
  5. Not always believing that I could reach the target.

What advice would you give to people thinking about, or doing, a fundraising challenge?

  • The effort is worth it to be able to stand alongside our persecuted family and to seek to raise money to help support them 
  • It’s good to stretch yourself – especially if it’s something you’ve always wanted to do or is a bit outside your comfort zone
  • Count the cost beforehand (read Luke 14:28-33). It will take your time, energy and commitment. It will stretch you, sometimes more than you anticipate
  • Pace yourself
  • Have a clear focus but learn to be flexible and adapt if necessary
  • Persevere. To misquote Billy Ocean: “When the going gets tough, the tough get going. And look to the Lord!”
  • The fundraising side is often as challenging, if not more so, than the 'doing' element. Think creatively, spread your net wide, don’t be afraid to ask people, and be thankful to donors and the Lord
  • Some things will work better and grab people’s attention more than others, especially when doing a series of challenges. Accept, learn and move on
  • The more things you do, the harder it is to get a “Wow!” factor, as people can get 'giving fatigue'
  • Preparation and admin time is important (e.g. preparing a timetable of events took a long time and getting accommodation for the Pilgrims’ Way was a challenge, especially in first lockdown)
  • “‘It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him’” (Genesis 2:17). Teamwork and having support are important to keep you going when the going is hard
  • People often like to get something tangible to buy (e.g. cakes, calendars), rather than just make a donation
  • The local press (and sometimes work PR departments) are interested in a good news story. It may also get you the odd donation
  • Raising awareness of the persecuted church is sometimes as important as, if not more so, than raising money
  • Enjoy the good moments and the sense of having pushed yourself, succeeded and having something to look back on in the future
  • Use the Open Doors Challenge team to stay in touch.

Are you feeling inspired?


Do you have a fundraising challenge you’d love to do? Or are you simply looking for some ideas? Either way, head to our fundraising page for all you need to get started – including loads of handy tips and resources to help spread word of what you’re doing to raise money. 
 

Find out more

Do you enjoy walking?


Raise vital funds for vulnerable believers in India by getting sponsored to walk a route and distance of your choice in the summer – all whilst discovering more about what it’s like to live as a Christian in the country. 
 

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