Walk for Hope Ambassador Melinda took up the challenge to walk to church again this year, walking 10km to her local church. For her, Walk for Hope prompted a lot of reflection.
“I completed my Walk for Hope yesterday! It was a bit early in doing my Walk but that’s because my husband, Paul, is speaking at an Easter Camp on the weekend and I didn’t want to walk from camp to my church on Good Friday – a distance of 604kms! So I walked 10kms from my home to Hawthorn Church of Christ on Palm Sunday instead. At the halfway point my sister, Sally, joined me on my Walk to encourage me.”
“Participating in the Walk for Hope for the second year in a row, I was hit again by the time I had to pray and reflect. I was able to pray for my neighbours as I passed their houses at a much slower pace than when in the car. I was able to pray for our partners overseas and reflect on the effort and energy they give to make it to church each week. Plus walking in 82% humidity with no breeze blowing I definitely felt a solidarity with Sati and our Fijian partners - humidity and I are not friends!
“I left Paul at home with the kids and the bags to bring to church. I left home with only my water bottle and phone so I could make good time. Paul and the kids even drove past Sally and I as we neared church and waved to us from the car! I reflected on how if I was walking to church with the family, the nappy bag, the snacks, and the supplies for my Sunday School lesson, it would take much longer than me just walking alone. I wouldn’t have the time alone to reflect and pray. We’d probably need rest/toilet breaks for the kids. And I’m sure there would be tears or tantrums at some stage! I wonder if I’d consider it all too hard and not want to go to church at all? I think I would need to take encouragement from this verse I’ve been reflecting on over the past week leading up to my Walk:
Why am I discouraged?
Why is my heart so sad?
I will put my hope in God!
I will praise him again—
my Saviour and my God!
Psalm 43:5 NLT
“It’s easy for me to put my hope in the abundant resources I have around me. But for anything real, lasting, and of eternal worth I need to put my hope in God. A choice I have to make each moment, each day.
“On arriving at church (with 10 minutes to spare before service started) we were welcomed with applause and congratulations on completing our walk by our church family. Everyone’s support was indeed encouraging but a bit embarrassing too. Where is the applause for Christians who walk much farther over harsher conditions to fellowship together? Where is the applause for Christians who risk their lives to meet in secret to worship God? #GMPWalkforHope has again left me encouraged and uncomfortable, with more reasons to praise God and more questions to ponder.
“I want to wish all those who participated in their own Walks on Good Friday all the best. I pray it’s been a reflective and rewarding time for you. “
If you would like to encourage Melinda, you can contribute to her Walk for Hope fundraiser at www.walkforhope.com.au/melindavanvuuren