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Marathons, Uganda, and World Vision

August 22nd, 2011 | 3 min read

By Matthew Lee Anderson

My friend Bradley Hofbauer runs marathons.

Now, runners are a bit of a strange breed to begin with, but marathoners take the crazy to new levels.  I say that lovingly, I'll have you know.  I spent a year running cross country in high school, married a cross country girl, and thought for 2.8 seconds about training for a marathon before realizing that it would be an investment of time that I did not have. (A convenient excuse, you might wonder.  Yes, yes it is.)

But Bradley doesn't just run marathons for fun.  He and a team from World Vision are taking their foot turnover talents to Uganda and hitting the pavement (or the dirt--not sure how things are like over there) on behalf of some Ugandan children who need support and care.

And I'm asking you, the reader of Mere-O, to prayerfully consider sponsoring one of the children that they are running for.

Sacrificing on behalf of such children doesn't need a reason or a rationale.  It's a good, the sort of good that is its own justification.  But there were a few reasons that I felt particularly impelled to say "yes" to supporting this one here at Mere-O:

1)  The UN has warned recently that the famine which is currently afflicting Somalia could move to Uganda.

2)  The World Vision team is running a marathon in order to raise funds for people who have to walk to get their water (this is the view from Kenya, but the situation in Uganda is not all that different).   The entanglement here with bodies is hard to unwind, what with the healthy taking their own bodies to the maximum limits on behalf of the poor.  That's not a sharing in their sufferings, but it's closer to it than what I'll be doing.  And in matters of practice, better sometimes to try things out than do nothing.

3)   The work of development is messy and complex, but one thing that I know is that sustainable economies are difficult to build if children cannot stay in school because they have to carry water.  Which is precisely what's happening here.

There was, of course, one other reason.  Bradley and his team will be meeting the two children below and shooting a video greeting, which means you will get to see and hear them if you decide to sponsor them.  The first two people to email me directly with a commitment to sponsor them will be selected.  


Rossette turned 9 on August 5th. She lives with her parents, 7 brothers, and 3 sisters. Her parents are struggling to provide for their family.

Rossette is not in school at this time, partly because she is needed at home to carry water each day. She likes to jump rope.




Viola just turned 9 on June 28th. She lives with her parents and siblings (1 brother and 2 sisters). Her parents struggle to provide for their family.

She is in primary school and enjoys mathematics. She helps at home by carrying water.



I know, like Matthew Paul Turner aptly wrote, that everyone is exhausted with appeals of this sort.  And if you have been reading Mere-O for any length of time, you know that this isn't in our normal purview.  We're a bit more intellectually minded, not because social justice doesn't matter but because the intellect does, and it gets decidedly less air time.

But mere orthodoxy is not so far from mere praxis, and the early church expanded because they combined works of mercy with rigorous apologetics.  While the primary locus of such practice should be within our local communities, the opportunity to do good to our neighbor extends well beyond the boundaries of our country.  And that is an opportunity worth considering.

To sponsor one of the above children, email me here.

To sponsor another child, visit this page and use Bradley Hofbauer's name.


Matthew Lee Anderson

Matthew Lee Anderson is the Founder and Lead Writer of Mere Orthodoxy. He is the author of Earthen Vessels: Why Our Bodies Matter to our Faith and The End of Our Exploring: A Book about Questioning and the Confidence of Faith. Follow him on Twitter or on Facebook.