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CHALLENGES DEVELOP CHARACTER

Have you ever thought about your greatest physical achievements in life? How much they might have taken out of you and the effort you put in to achieve them? Of course we are each made differently and for one a 26 mile run maybe a ‘walk in the park’, whilst others would find it incredibly exhausting. Yesterday, I found myself thinking through the most difficult, physical challenges I had faced and with focus and determination how I had attempted each of them, knowing it would take real effort and stamina. In this article I have detailed seven physically demanding challenges over the years. There would be others, like moving house, climbing mountains, 20 plus mile climbing walks in the Lake District, but the seven experiences are varied, interesting and hopefully ones you will enjoy. 558125_10150705953003624_863170051_n  535230_10150706497853624_2051996651_n OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Imagine a very demanding climb in the Himalayan mountains that took me past remote Tibetan villages, roaming yak, acrobatic monkeys and right in amongst the tallest mountain range in the world. One of the team, saw a wild leopard just the other side of the river bank at one point around 2100 metres. The oxygen levels are much lower as you climb above 2000 metres, and I found it increasingly exhausting as the day wore on, regularly having to catch my breath, quite literally. I had never been so high before, the Himalayas are the highest mountain range in the world and Nepal contains a number of the top ten, Mount Everest not being too far away. I have climbed Scaffell Pike, Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Ben Lawers but they are all much lower in comparison! After two days I was within reach of my target village and stayed at this lodge to rest [see picture]. This gave me the opportunity to slow down, take in the scenery and capture some camera shots before the light went for the night. Temperatures drop dramatically in the Himalayas and the higher you climb, the more layers you add, especially during the clear nights.  This night I had two duvets and most layers on underneath to get warm and sleep. Langtang village was my target destination, positioned to the side of Langtang Lirang, one of the tallest mountains in the world. I could then rest for a while before descending to my rest point half way down the mountain. Needless to say, my feet were sore and my body ached after these four climbing days in the Himalayas but it was an incredible experience and one I will never forget. I did take the treat of a short horse ride at the beginning of the descent! Getting to the Himalayas from Kathmandu was another amazing adventure and one I will write about in the future. OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Screen shot 2013-01-07 at 22.04.39

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Riding horseback for a bit of my journey down, over a thin suspension bridge, at 3400 metres!

P9070467 copy 2 The Tibetan people are very enduring people. The live long lives and are very fit, carrying sizeable loads up those steep mountain sides. This woman’s face was etched with lines of determination and  I  journeyed with her for some of my climb. 5648_119973523623_2761492_n Part of my training for the ministry years was working with underprivileged children in the USA. This Salvation Army camp was a super experience for me and one that confirmed I had the right people skills to work with children and young people, even the difficult ones! During the 2 months of summer camp, I experienced the toughest cabin with an addition, a lad that no one else could cope with, Lemar. This was to be my ultimate test but one I would respond well to, even though it was a challenge and a half! Lemar was mischief personified and yet had the greatest smile. He late on in the camp asked me to pray with him about his awful temper. This was to be a real learning curve for me in New York State, North America. Two years later, I went back to Sebago Lake in Maine and worked in a different camp with disadvantaged children. These experiences were very rewarding and helpful in my personal development.     5648_119914618623_991917_n

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Lemar in the middle, was the toughest lad I have ever worked with. The older boys were scared of him but one day, he asked me to pray with him. “Can your God do anything about my temper?” he said. I prayed with him in our log cabin, in Saddle Lake Salvation Army camp in 1980 and asked the Lord to touch his life.

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My closest friend, Scot McCall with Lemar. Scott would tragically die later that year and boy, was I gutted. This pencil illustration featured in my graphic design degree show and captured Scot’s heart for children. Despite being a penniless student, friends gave me some money to produce this illustration and some others as cards and posters. Without doubt, 1980 proved to be a powerful turning point in my life and one that adjusted my eternal focus.

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When the boys arrived for this camp, we took them to the barn for a talk and then asked them to leave their weapons at the front, their were a pile of knives when we returned. Although an incredibly tough camp, the experience was so rewarding and one that would richly benefit me in the future.

39051_10150236408005405_1678971_n Over 18 years I was responsible for the running of twenty-two beach missions in Hunstanton and Overstrand, in North Norfolk from 1992 to 2010. These missions were more demanding than church based missions as you have to take all the equipment with you and the majority of the volunteer team came from all over the country for the 10-14 day mission. Getting loaded up and transporting all the equipment and unloading the other end was part of the mission. This entailed four days of hard, methodical work, and so by the time you were there for the mission you had already done a mission! Of course, one worked with super team of between 25 and 30 volunteers, once you were at the mission venue, everyone pitched in like a well oiled machine, teamwork at it’s brilliant best. After the mission, it was pack up and bring it back to Thetford and then spend some days sorting it all out and packing away. It was a phenomenal effort, physically and spiritually and a wonderful experience to see so many children, young people and team so blessed during those beach mission years. 5648_119914713623_155249_n 40047_422983848623_6619271_n 508 39197_422980113623_4255751_n Mission work is hard work but a lot of fun. You make wonderful friends and serve together in a super people project. The memories will be life long, the seeds eternal. One key I learnt during these years was that behind the mission is a lot of hard work, preparation and planning. The logistics of moving house, effectively in a few days, was a massive undertaking. If you went about it with the right attitude and hard work ethic, you experienced rich blessings & amazing faith building situations. The expression: ‘the more you put into something, the more you get from it,’ is definitely true. Some of the team still work with me in other residential holidays.

‘Challenges can help shape our lives, developing stamina and endurance and muscles where we did not even know we had them!’

 

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Sir Vivien Richards was my childhood batting hero. This remarkable batsmen was able to destroy the bowling attack and this was before the time of helmets. My bowling hero was Mike Procter and Sir Richard Hadlee. Other favourites were Sir Clive Lloyd, amazing fielder and batsmen and Malcolm Marshall who could swing the ball, even when the pitch was flat.

A noteworthy physical achievement was taking a hat trick of wickets in the first team school cricket match for Sir Joseph Williamson’s first eleven. A hat trick of wickets, as a fast bowler, [three wickets in consecutive balls] is a rare accomplishment in cricket, and to do it in the very first three balls, of a first team grammar school match was something very special. Maybe one of my most unique achievements! My best bowling achievement was 9 wickets for 20 runs in a house match and 8 wickets for 41 in a school match. I could quite often swing the ball and bowl it off the seam to gain movement either way. I also had a ball that bounced off the seam, that popped up, that I liked to bowl very fast to opening batsmen and gained a number of wickets, caught at silly mid off, or by the wicket keeper. I remember sore, blistered feet after the games, having often bowled at speed for a tidy sum of overs. When my first born child, James, came along, I promised Val that I would ‘hang up my boots’, but fondly remember those cricketing years all over the South East of England.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA My first sponsored mile swim was when I was 14 years as a scout at Buckmore Park in Kent. I swam a mile and an eighth [70 lengths] in the time allowed and achieved a certificate and the compliment:  ‘Very well done, the best effort of the day.’ My most challenging swim was the 5 kilometre sponsored swim in 2013, when I took on the challenge of swimming 200 lengths to raise funds for Marie Curie Cancer Care [whom my wife works for as a nurse]. It was a particular challenge to me because a virus had affected 3 weeks of my training, so I only had a month of real practice before embarking on the Swimathon 5K challenge. I remember going beyond 150 lengths realizing I was in uncharted waters, literally, not having swam that distance before. It was a super feeling to climb out of the pool, unaided, proving the challenge was done and I was fine afterwards. I raised £400 and thoroughly deserved the Swimathon T-shirt! 🙂

‘Personal challenges develop character, mental strength, determination and resolve.’

Screen shot 2012-02-06 at 12.07.15 Some years back I made an eight foot chess king snowman and painted it and then transformed into a snow chess queen! It was the first time I had painted snow intentionally to create a piece of three dimensional artwork. In February 2013 I made a really solid, six foot chess king and the snow was marvelous to work with. If I get the chance with a good amount of snow, my next project will be a snow chess knight, the hardest piece to create. 398141_10151353259683624_407127228_n One of my entries has to include the visual arts as it is such a key part of my life. The piece chosen, took me three weeks to complete whilst on the final year of my Graphic Design degree. I prayed before putting the pencil to paper each time I worked on the illustration. The artwork is entitled: ‘The Living Stones’ and illustrates how the people rather than the buildings make up the true Church around the world. The piece shows people of all ages caring for each other, reaching out to those on the fringe of the Church, living in darkness but searching for light and truth. The Living Stones was produced after my degree as an A2 poster and as a card and has been a blessing to many people. Posters and cards are available.

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Friends gave me some money to get these illustrations produced. These illustrations have gone around the world to His praise and glory.

‘And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom He has given us.’ Romans 5 verses 3-5

 

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‘Challenges can help shape our lives, developing stamina and endurance and muscles where we did not even know we had them! They develop character, mental strength, determination and resolve. I believe they better equip us for the battles of life that lay ahead.’

 

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Kevin with men washing their feet, part of the ongoing treatment for leprosy sufferers at Anandaband hospital, Nepal.

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What would your greatest physical achievements be as you look back over your life? I recommend thinking that question through and if you want to share your thoughts in a letter or email, feel free to jot them down and send to me.

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Of course the challenges some people face are far more dangerous or life threatening than most of us would face. Daniel in the Bible was put in a lion’s den because he prayed to his God. The King Darius didn’t sleep and rushed down to the den at first light of day, hoping that Daniel’s prayers had been heard and he had been spared. An angel had been sent to calm the lions and spare Daniel’s life. The King with much joy, released Daniel from the lion’s den and no would was found on him, because he had trusted in his God. Perhaps I should feature more of the really tough situations people faced in the Bible.

Thank you for reading this article.

Contact emails for Kevin: kevinmoore758@btinternet.com or kevinmooreface2facetrust@gmail.com