For two days in October, four Corban students challenged some of Montana’s most grueling terrain in a race for a good cause.
On Oct. 13 and 14, Michael Blankenship, Hannah Snook, Tyler Reuther and Nika Payne competed with six other teams in an extreme physical and mental race for Bible translation in Cameroon, Africa. The Race to 2025 is a fundraising endeavor by Wycliffe: NextGen and was designed to educate young men and women about the need for Bible translation worldwide and give them an opportunity to make a difference toward that effort.
“The Race to 2025 is a two-day race that bridges the adrenalin of adventure sports that young people crave and the extreme challenge to which Jesus Christ calls His church – to make disciples of all nations,” it said on the Race to 2025 website. The goal is to have a Bible translation in progress for every nation that needs it by 2025.
The weekend event started with a 9-mile mountain bike ride along a course filled with loose rock and long climbs and descents. This was followed by a 16-mile canoe race down a cold Montana glacier water river. It ended with an orienteering event which also took the team through linguistics and food challenges.
“After we flipped our canoes in the huge Cascade rapid, we were all freezing cold and soaked for the rest of the race,” Payne said. “It was a challenge to keep pushing on, but it was a great lesson in learning the importance of encouraging your teammates and seeing how the Lord provides strength that you didn't even know you had during your weakness.”
The second day included additional challenges such as rappelling down a 400-foot rock face and trekking to a simulated Nepalese village. Once there, the team worked together to communicate with its residents and build trust and relationships.
Altogether, more than $11,000 was raised for the Bible translation project in Cameroon. The Corban team raised nearly $1,000 of this amount. For Payne, the race was a mix of personal challenge and personal mission. She was raised on the mission field in Senegal, located in West Africa, by Wycliffe missionaries translating the Bible into the Kwatay language. By participating in the Race to 2025, she earned a $1,000 scholarship to the Canada Institute of Linguistics at Trinity Western University in Canada where she plans to continue her language training upon graduation from Corban.
“Lord willing I’ll work overseas with Wycliffe and help in a Bible translation project overseas, hopefully North or West Africa or the Middle East,” she said. “I can't imagine not having God's Word in a language that I can understand. I don't know how I'd know God if I couldn't read the Bible. My heart goes out to those who don't have it, and I believe God's does too.”
Payne hopes to promote the Race to 2025 event in Washington State March 22-24 and see one or two teams from Corban participate.