ASHLAND — A Baptist marathon runner who has raised more than $50,000 over the past year for an African mission has set an ambitious new goal of running eight marathons in eight months in eight states in what promises to be a grueling fundraising initiative.
Amy Compston, a member of Unity Baptist Church in Ashland, wants to raise an additional $45,000 this year for a ministry serving people in the small town of Moyo, Uganda.
The 29-year-old founder of Amy for Africa ran the first of those marathons earlier this week in Boston, where she and her family and friends also distributed Christian literature to runners and spectators.
“It’s really amazing how God has blessed,” said Compston. “It’s been truly amazing watching Him work.”
The African town that benefits from the money happens to be where former Unity Baptist Church Pastor Floyd Paris serves as a missionary.
Compston, a nurse in Ashland, has been a runner most of her life, but she didn’t envision it as more than a pastime until last year after last year’s Boston Marathon when she and her family handed out more than 1,200 Bible tracts. She finished in the top 15 percent of female finishers last year and decided to run for missions.
Compston followed that with a 50-mile Ultra Marathon in Nashville, Tenn., last November, finishing second among female runners.
Her athleticism is generating funding to care for Ugandan children as well as to provide medical supplies to several clinics and the hospital in Moyo.
“Amy is one of the many Kentucky Baptists who are using the gifts and talents God blessed them with to help spread the gospel at home and around the world,” said Paul Chitwood, executive director of the 750,000-member Kentucky Baptist Convention. “Amy truly is putting sweat equity into the kingdom’s work with these marathons. Hers is an unusual initiative and a wonderful example of the imaginative and creative ways Kentucky Baptists are supporting missions.”
Chitwood said every member of the Kentucky Baptist Convention engages in missions with their tithes and offerings in their local churches, a portion of which goes to the KBC’s Cooperative Program that funds a wide variety of ministries and programs. Those initiatives include summer camps at Crossings Ministries where 794 teenagers came to Christ last summer, campus initiatives in which 300 Kentucky college students were saved, and the work of missionaries throughout the world that resulted in more than 300,000 new believers being baptized overseas.
Between marathons, Compston, her husband Chris and co-founder Mark Maynard speak to church congregations and other organizations to help raise funds for the mission project. She shares with them about a time in her life she was running from the Lord. For some 14 years, she was involved with drug and alcohol abuse, despite being a regular churchgoer.
“I was just going through the motions,” she said. “I didn’t really understand what it was to be a true follower of Christ.”
Now running for the Lord, Compston, a mother of four, finished this year’s Boston Marathon in 3 hours and 39 minutes, far from a personal best because of pain in her right hip and hamstring. She still finished in the top 22 percent of women runners.
The slower pace, Compston said, allowed her to interact with other runners and the crowd that lined the streets.
“I think God slowed me down on purpose,” she said. “I was able to share my testimony and share this mission with hundreds of people.”
Amy’s husband, Chris, will be joining her on six of the marathon runs to come between now and November.
On the web: www.amyforafrica.com
To schedule Amy and Chris Compston or Mark Maynard to speak at your church or organization, call 606-571-1031.