Steve Svoboda, student ministries associate at James River Assembly in Ozark, Missouri, is just one of hundreds of youth leaders across the country. But he and roughly 25 students from 7eleven, the high school life group he leads, are making an impact on thousands of people in India.
Realife, the student ministry at James River, has partnered with Speed the Light and Global University in Springfield, Missouri, to provide tablets for pastors in India. The tablets, which cost $85 each, are loaded with three years of training from Global, helping missionaries plant 25,000 churches and raise up 30,000 church planters in India by 2020.
Svoboda and his life group came up with an idea this fall to hold an Ironman triathlon to raise money for Speed the Light to contribute to this project. The goal was to complete a 151-mile to be able to purchase 151 tablets - a grand total of $12,835 for Speed the Light.
"My faith was stirred already before the race as a few people heard about it and said, 'put me down for 10 tablets' while another said, 'love it man, mark me down for six,'" says Svoboda.
On Friday, October 26, 2012, Svoboda himself completed a 2.5-mile swim, 121.3-mile bike ride and 27.2-mile run to reach the group's 151-mile goal. A group of 7eleven students and other volunteers participated in portions of the triathlon.
"It's amazing to see the lengths that our AG students and leaders will go to in their effort to provide our missionaries with the tools they need to reach the lost," says Chet Caudill, national director of student missions. "Steve's passion for missions is contagious and the students in his life group have determined to do their part in reaching India with the story of Jesus. They are making a difference as they work together."
Already, just four weeks into this year's Speed the Light drive, more than $8,000 has been given towards the group's Speed the Light goal. With six weeks left in the drive, Svoboda says he is in full belief that 7eleven will continue to see lives changed as a result of this project. The group has another Speed the Light event planned for next month and individuals are raising funds in other ways.
"Friday is a day that I will never forget," says Svoboda, "not because of the 151 miles covered, but because of the impact that was made in the hearts and lives of those involved. India will not be the same because of the 7eleven Speed the Light Ironman."
For more information about the Speed the Light Ironman triathlon, click here.
To learn more about Speed the Light, click here.