I’m Steve Johnson, a Lutheran pastor living and serving in Goose Creek, a suburb of Charleston, South Carolina. For those who know me personally, you may know that I have been blessed to be able to remain physically active at a time in my life when many my age are more focused on retirement. For the past 15 years or so, that active lifestyle has included running. About five years ago, I accepted a challenge from my sons and participated in a triathlon. Now, five years later, I am hooked, and I am about to take up the greatest challenge of my athletic life. On September 27th I will travel to Augusta, Georgia for my first Half Ironman!
Maybe you’re curious about why a 66 year old guy would want to swim 1.2 miles in the Savanah River, bike 56 miles in the hill country around Augusta, and finish by running a half marathon (70.3 miles total), all while trying to finish in under eight hours. I can assure you it’s not a mid-life crisis! It has much more to do with the twin realities that I really enjoy being physically active and participating in triathlon events, and the blessing it is to be able to continue to do what I do when so many folks I know cannot, no matter how much they would like to!
I am also participating in this particular event as a way of supporting something else that I am passionate about – the ministry of Water Missions International. My father tells a story about a time when he was young and the family well went dry. It became one of his responsibilities to haul water from a nearby creek for the family’s use. A generation later, I grew up with a deep appreciation for clean water, as close as the nearest faucet. As you can imagine, too, I grew up knowing water was precious and not to be wasted. Water Missions International seeks to reach out to villages and communities around the world that depend on distant and polluted water to survive. These are folks who are sickened and even die because of the lack of clean water. I want to help them improve the quality of life – and even make healthy life possible for people who cannot do that for themselves. I love that what they do is in the name of the Living Water we know as Jesus.
So, I am participating in this Half Ironman as a fundraiser on behalf of Water Missions, and I am asking you to prayerfully consider supporting me in this effort. My goal is to raise $7,030 (100 X 70.3). This amount, when combined with the efforts of two other congregations, one in California and one in Florida, will fund a deep well project and a sustainable water filtration and purification system for a school and village in western Kenya.
I want to ask three things of you today. First, please pray for the ministry of Water Missions International, for my training, for a safe and successful race and that God will be glorified through this. Second, please support me financially if you are able. You may also donate online. Finally, please share my story with someone else and invite that person to match your financial support. This is amazingly important work, and together we can make a difference in the name of Christ.
Pastor Steve Johnson