Expedition Updates

Well, we made it!  1,500 miles, 8 pairs of shoes, 6 giant jars of peanut butter, and countless lives impacted.  I had originally planned to update the blog during the expedition but as it turns out we only found 3 places in all of Mongolia that had free wifi.  Not to mention I was a little occupied.  The following is a brief update of the Expedition:

July 17th  We landed in Ulanbaator, Mongolia. We spent a full day at the Children’s Place Orphanage where we got to see how they were using the donations we sent over. They had an old cook stove that they used to cook 3 meals a day for over 35 people and were anxiously awaiting the new 8-burner stove and double oven they had ordered. They were repairing the heating system (it was already freezing temps at night) and putting in new playground equipment and sand.  The children had prepared a performance for us in thanks, and just watching their precious faces and smiles made me wish I could take every one of them home with us. All said and done, the orphanage will receive over $20,000 because of your generous donations!

July 19th We flew out to the western border town of Olgiy and the following day drove to the Russia/Mongolia border where Brian started running. We camped every night. At one point, we were so remote that we were 900 miles from the nearest hospital! Even though we were on the MAIN ROAD across Mongolia, we wouldn’t see a vehicle for several days. It was just us, our little team, and 1,000s of wild camels, horses, goats, sheep and shepherds herding their flocks.

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The daily routine

5:40am    Wake up                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         6:00am    Breakfast in the meeting tent. Brian would eat and drink as much as possible. Breakfast usually consisted of hot rice or wild rice soup.

7:00am    Figure out the right gear to wear. The weather was so unpredictable.
7:30am    Brian would walk/run from camp. I (Lissa) would begin packing up. Brian usually walked the first 2 miles to loosen up.
10:30am  The support vehicle with me & the kids would catch up with Brian somewhere around 10 miles. He would have a snack, change layers if needed. We would go ahead 5 miles and wait.
11:30am   Lunch at 15 miles. Brian would appear and we’d have a picnic lunch followed by a 20 minute roadside nap.
1:00pm    Again we would jump ahead 5 miles, wait.
2:00pm    5 miles and wait…
3:00pm    5 miles and wait…. (of course we came up with all kinds of primitive entertain, theres so much you can do with rocks, sling shots and goat horns, I never knew, not to mention who could catch the feistiest lizard and come out triumphant in a cage match.
4:00pm    After Brian would reach us and have a snack, the kids and I would go ahead to set up camp as he finished out the 30 miles for the day.
6:00pm    Dinner in the meeting tent (always some form of noodles, potatoes, and either horse meat or sheep, it’s not like the Mongolian Grill, I promise!)
8:00pm    Into our tent for reading out loud ‘Lord of the Rings’, wrestling and sleep to prepare to do it all over again the next day.

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August 29th  We made it back to the capital city right on schedule. We took our first shower in 43 days! The next two days were spent with an amazing man named Baska. He does outreach to the children living in and around the city dumps. These children’s situations are so heartbreaking and devastating, mostly living in extreme poverty and neglect.  Baska, now in his 40s, was raised in the very dump we visited and is only alive today because a man from a local church saw value and worth in him and rescued him from his situation. Baska regularly feeds over 200 homeless and starving children. They all know him by name and come running when they see or hear he is near. We were able to feed 300 children over the 2 days we were there. We were also able to give Baska $4,000 to purchase land to place ‘ger’ homes for the children as a safe place to feed them and for them to seek refuge at night. We were truly blessed to meet Baska.

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September 1st We left Ulanbaator and headed towards the eastern border. Brian would run 6 days and rest on the 7th. During the last 2 weeks, he was running 33 miles a day to make up for lower mile days in the beginning. On September 17th, Brian touched the Mongolian/Chinese border, thanked the Lord for his provision, hugged everyone and took off his shoes with a giant sigh of relief!  We flew back to the capital city and headed out for good ole’ USA on September 21st.

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Thank you,
From our family to yours, truly, thank you for your support! You made this happen! You fed those precious children, you bought them a new safe place to take refuge at night and you provide them with heat this winter. You made this expedition possible! Thank you for believing in us! Thank you!

Love, the Hunters

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Two years of dreaming, planning,praying, sweating, and it all comes down to this.  This will be our last state-side blog post until we return at the end of September.  Our phones have been blowing up with good-byes and well wishes.  Our base of support (which extends all over the country) will be a tremendous source of strength.

We fly from Chicago to Beijing today and tomorrow.  Tomorrow night we have an overnight stay in Beijing (hope they have a Panda Express).  On July 15th we fly into UB.  After a day or two of visiting the orphans and registering with the U.S. consulate, we will take another plane out to the far western border town of Olgii where I dramatically transform into Forest Gump and start running.

Some of you have asked about my ankle injury (see previous blog post) I sustained last week.  The bad news is, it is the worst foot injury I have ever had.  It had been very tender, and swollen.  The good news is, It’s doing much better!  I have been alternating heat and cold for the past week.  I haven’t run much, but I have been eating A LOT.  I would like to have put on an extra 10+ pounds but I only managed to gain 6 lbs.  Over the course of 2 months I’ll probaly lose more than 20lbs, which for me is no bueno.

Big News

Brian farm is Coming with us!  they will document the journey and produce a film about the odyssey.  Don’t rush to Netflix anytime soon.  It will probably be at least 14-16 months before you can start the popcorn.

 

 

Thank you everyone for all your support, prayers, and love.  See you on the other side! check our daily progress at acrossmongolia.com

 

So, the other day I went on a ride to switch up the training and while on the bike I was stretching and I cranked something in my right ankle. I didn’t even notice the first day but for the last two days it’s been very tender and swollen. I can fully put weight on it and I went for a short run today but Dr. Lissa said take it easy. Alternating heat and cold have been doing the trick.

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At first I was super bummed about this little setback but I quickly realized “life” gives us setbacks all the time. We can’t choose when they happen But we Can chose how to respond. I want to force myself to run through the pain, but the voice of wisdom says wait and rest. Sometimes the quickest way forward is to stop and wait.
In sports medicine they talk about a treatment for a sprain or strain called R.I.C.E
Rest
Ice [and heat]
Compression
Elevation

Next time you get a sprain in life try what I do;
Rest- in The Lord. Instead of striving just quiet your heart and mind by focusing on how awesome he is.
Inquire- of The Lord. Your setback is not a surprise to him. Don’t waste your time by asking “why”. He doesn’t have to tell you. A better question to ask is, “how do you want me to respond?”
Consecrate- set yourself apart. Don’t let the setback upset you. Make a decision to surrender yourself to God’s plan for your life.
Engage- your mouth to only speak positive words. Only allow encouraging, uplifting, words of praise to come out of your mouth. Praise God for his nature, character, and his promises. As you line up your mouth with God’s truth your setback will turn into a stepping stone for your next victory!

This expedition could not happen without the support of friends and family. Brian and Lissa are traveling with their children, whom have also raised money themselves with lemonaide stands to help bring some toys to the children in the orphanges as well. See Selah and friends with their recent accomplishments.

 

I feel like I am awake in my own dream. Two years of praying, dreaming, planning, and training is about to come to fulfillment. This week is JAMMED with last minute shopping, Skype calls to Mongolia, and saying our good-byes.

By the end of the week we should have our tracking map up on our website so you can keep tabs on us!

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I am making this quick post from my phone to make sure things are working smooth!
Stay tuned to this blog, we will post all trip updates here!
Soon you will be able to track the progress of the expedition on our special google map embedded in this site.

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reposted:

Holly Collingwood: Running for the children of Mongolia

My children ask me sometimes if an animal is good or bad? I didn’t understand what they were really asking for a while. But then I figured it out. In their eyes, if an animal eats another animal, it is bad.

Predators get a bad rap in children’s literature. There is Foxy Loxy who eats Chicken Little and all her friends before they can tell the King the sky is falling. There is the big tuna that eats all Swimmy’s brothers and sisters. There is the Big Bad Wolf who eats Grandma. There is a different wolf (or maybe the same one) who eats the Three Little Pigs.

Fortunately, my children have never known hunger so they don’t understand the desperation and consequences it can cause.

Making beds of cardboard, the children sleep on the pipes to stay warm. During the day, they scavenge at the city dumps for whatever scraps they can find or beg for their food on the local streets. Children live this way. Children.

In this most amazing country, The United States of America, it is estimated that more than 50 million people do not have dependable and consistent access to enough food due to limited money and recourses. To break this down, 1 in every 6 people in America go to bed every night wishing there was more.

And this is America.

Just think about how much more prevalent hunger is in a struggling and war-stricken country like Mongolia. And especially for the orphans who live there. When I think about the monstrosity of this situation, I feel overwhelmed. What can a single person like me do?

My friends Brian and Melissa Hunter felt this way. And they prayed about it. And Brian came up with a plan. A grand, impressive and ambitious plan.

He is going to run across Mongolia to raise awareness and funds to support the orphans of Mongolia. Yes, this is a single man who will run 1,500 miles across an entire country this summer because the orphans of Mongolia have no one to speak for them. Check out his website here.

Throughout the long winter months, the daytime temperatures there seldom climb above 0°F and the nights are brutally cold with temps below -20°F. In desperate attempts to escape the cold, the orphans pry open the city manholes and sewer lids and retreat beneath the streets. Inside the manholes run heating pipes that provide heat and hot water to local buildings. Making beds of cardboard, the children sleep on the pipes to stay warm. During the day, they scavenge at the city dumps for whatever scraps they can find or beg for their food on the local streets.

Children live this way. Children.

The Hunter family and a logistics crew will accompany Brian and support him as he runs. They are working with an existing orphanage that will use the funds to build more housing so they can accommodate more children in a safe, warm, nutritious, educational and caring environment.

So, when I think about what I can do, I come up with a longer list of things I can’t do and they begin with running. I can’t run more than a 5K – I barely finished one in April by speed-walking. But Brian can run and what I can do is tell their story. The Hunters leave in a few short weeks and are short of their fundraising goal.

If you can, please consider helping these orphans. The goal of Across Mongolia is to raise $25,000 and there are several ways you can help.

1) Please watch the video here and listen to Brian’s impassioned speech about their journey Across Mongolia.

2) Please make a donation. For $30, you can sponsor a mile of the journey.

3) Please purchase one of Melissa Hunter’s musical CDs or purchase one of the Hope necklaces made by Heidi Somers and Andrea Burgess. All proceeds will support Across Mongolia.

4) Please tell a friend about Across Mongolia. The conversation can begin just like this, “Hey, I heard about this guy who is going to run all the way across Mongolia to support the orphans there.”

5) Please pray for the Hunters on their journey and the orphans of Mongolia who are right now hungry and alone.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Holly Collingwood is married with three children. Read her Thursdays on Greeley Moms. Also check out her personal site here.

Coming this summer is the expedition of a lifetime for the Hunter Family.

ONE MAN, with the support of his family, will RUN 1,500 miles across Mongolia this June/July, 2013.  They are raising awareness and will distribute necessities to over 3,000 homeless CHILDREN living beneath the city streets in manholes in the capital city of Ulaanbaator, and deliver a message of HOPE and LOVE!