Walk for the Hidden Peoples The Figures Are Still Coming In
Its still early to tell about the final financial results, but we can speak of the vision spreading aspect of the Walk athon and the spiritual dimension of what happened on October 19th.
One of the biggest events took place at Brookside Park, Pasadena, just next to the Rose Bowl. Over 500 participants and spectators strolled together or ran around a two thirds mile course, pausing occasionally to hear speakers like lack Hayford, Paul Cedar, RB. London, and Don Richardson challenge them to pursue completion of the Great Commission by the year 2000.
The climax of the morning came when the Run Across America team arrived, completing their 3,500 mile journey. Having started in Boston on September 14th, the originally seven, then eight, members of the team finished theft work in what may well turn out to be one of the single most important vision spreading activities the U.S. Center for World Mission has ever done.
The runners carried a baton with the inscription "A church for every people by the year 2,0(X)." They were able to speak at many churches and colleges, and in other gatherings. Two of the runners, am and LeAnne Ackerman (see center photo, p. 29), were interviewed live on the '700 Cub' and shared the Center's vision of reaching the Hidden Peoples with 4,5 million viewers. Hundreds of Christian radio stations aired public service announcements telling about the Run and the Hidden Peoples. At least 30 stations conducted interviews with the runners or organizers of the event.
The Moody Broadcasting Network on their program Prime Time conducted a 20 minute interview with two of the runners that was broadcast to 120 affiliate stations across the country. As the interview concluded and the toll free Walka thon number was given, our switchboard lit up with calls from Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles.
UPI Religion Editor Jonathan Peterson took note of the run. After doing an initial interview, he reported the runners' daily progress to 37 UPI stations. There were countless calls from all over the country with people asking, Now, why are they running across
America?" And, 'Who are the Hidden Peoples?"
Outside the rather dramatic exposure provided by newspapers, radio and TV, thousands became aware of the frontier mission movement through the efforts of individual Walk a thon participants. We don't know how many times someone said, 11i, I'm participating in a Walk.athon called Walk for the Hidden Peoples.' Hidden or unreached peoples are those remaining groups that have no Christian church in their midst. If you sponsor me in my effort, you will be supporting the US. Center for World Mission which is helping to complete the Great Commission by the year 2000. Would you sponsor me?'
With thousands of mission troopers out there wearing t shirts and spreading vision, who but God can register the final impact? But for those of us at the Rose Bowl event anyway, there was an unmistakable feeling that God was wellpleased Christians from scores of different churches came together for the common cause of frontier missions, Jesus was clearly there. As pastors Hayford and Cedar strolled around the course together in their jogging suits the spirit of God went with them. One could not help but see the spirit of joy, conviction, and unity that accompanied the event.
There was something special about October 19th. Something very, very special.