10 Questions with Lopez Lomong (2x US Olympic Athlete)

Welcome to 5 Questions With.....

Except you'll notice that today it is again 10 questions. That's right! This is yet another Super-Sized edition of the 5 Question feature.

Today's guest is Lopez Lomong. Lopez was a barefoot lost boy of the Sudanese Civil War. He eventually made it to the US where he became an American citizen and graduated from Northern Arizona University. He is a 2x Olympic Athlete. He recently wrote his biography, Running For My Life. This is a book you must read!

Before reading his interview, why not check out this video of Lopez:

Let's get to it:

1. Your book, Running For My Life, tells of your abduction from church in Sudan at the age of 6. How hard was it to recount that period of your life?

It was very hard because in one second I lost my family, my childhood, and everything that had once made me happy. It is hard to think back on that time because I felt a sense of loss and hopelessness.

2. You ran for your life and ended up in Kenya where you became a refugee for 10 years. Did you ever feel like giving up hope?

Although life was terrible in the camp, I felt a sense of responsibility for the 10 young boys in my tent that became my family. We empowered each other with our companionship and gave each other a reason to keep fighting. We did not have anywhere to go or any alternative so the importance of having these 10 boys was critical.

3. It was while at the refugee camp that you drew closer to the Lord correct?

Not exactly. God played a role throughout my entire life. It was not one moment or one incident that drew me close to the Lord, but rather his constant hand in my life. Although I had a little bit more formal religious education in the camp, I prayed throughout my entire journey and that is where I found my closeness.

4. You came to the US at 16. What was the hardest part of adjusting to life in the US?

Culture was the biggest shock. At 16 I was so used to the culture in the refugee camp. I also wanted very badly to be seen as an American rather than an immigrant. Also it was my first time ever going to school, so that was a huge adjustment. Another big adjustment was thinking of myself as a child again - although it was the most amazing thing to have a family again, I had to get used to the reality that they cared for me and were here to love me and guide me.

5. How do you feel the Lord watched over you during this time?

God put me in a family that loves me unconditionally and helped me find a place where I was accepted and at home. I finally felt a true sense of peace with my family for the first time in a long time. It was a blessing!

6. You went to college and never gave up on your dream to be an Olympic athlete. How special was it to make the 2008 Olympic team?

It was very special. It was an opportunity to represent and give thanks to a country that had taken me in. It was incredible to have a country that I was proud of and an identity! Carrying the American Flag in at the Opening Ceremony was one of my most proud achievements - it was my dream come true. I was not longer a "lost boy" but a person with a country and an ambassador through sport.

7. God seemed to give you a platform to tell your story during the Olympics. Do you feel that running is gift from Him?

Absolutely. I am so blessed to have this talent. My legs once saved my life and now running is my platform to speak about what still needs to be done to keep children from struggling as I did in South Sudan. I use this platform to be voice of the children in South Sudan who are not heard in their struggles.

8. What can you tell me about your partnership with World Vision?

I recently started my foundation - Lopez Lomong Foundation - with the 4 South Sudan program to target clean water, health care, education, and nutrition for the people of South Sudan. World Vision is a great partner in supporting my cause logistically as they have a huge amount of human resources and experience working in South Sudan. They are a key part of implementing the projects that I design and fundraise for. http://lopezlomong.com/foundation/

9. What is the main work of the Lopez Lomong Foundation?

The main project is 4 South Sudan focusing on 4 basic needs - clean water, education, nutrition, and health care.

10. How did it feel to make the 2012 Olympic team?

It was incredible. I was so proud to join a second team and have another opportunity to represent my country in a second Olympics. It was a huge accomplishment to be on this international stage once again. I am looking forward to Rio 2016 as well!!

Thank you so much for taking the time to do Lopez!

Thank you so much and please let me know if there is ever any other way I can help! - Lopez

You can read more about Lopez Lomong's life in his new book, Running For My Life, and please check out his website: http://www.lopezlomong.com

To see past 5 Questions guests see the 5 questions page under the tab above.


What If I Lost It?

We each have unique talents and gifts from the Lord. There are areas where His strength is evident and we know He has called us to operate in certain ways.

What if you lost it? What if something happened and you could no longer do the one thing you felt the Lord had called you to?

What is that one item you enjoy doing, one area you feel a special talent or interest in?

Now picture it gone...forever!

How would you feel?

I would feel panic.

I know because it happened to me....twice!

I have always felt the Lord's call to write. I feel so relaxed and comfortable putting things into words that at times it feels like second nature. I find myself listening to the random words and phrases of others for those "hooks" that can become future devotionals, sermons, etc.

Once I was so focused on the writing about the Lord that I was missing Him completely. When i realized I had made writing an idol, I also sensed the Lord telling me to shut it down for a season...2 long years. It felt...miserable. After that time had passed, I felt the Lord calling me to write again. Yet things had changed. I no longer felt the need to write just for the sake of writing. I waited until I felt the Lord's nudge before putting things on paper.

While in the midst of my recent concussion, I had a flashback to that time of no writing. Days after the concussion, I sat at my computer staring at a blank screen. I was saying the words out loud but could not get my fingers to type. It was almost like looking at a foreign language. I saw the letters but my brain was not making the connection between what I wanted to write and actually typing it out.

I will admit, I got scared. In a moment of panic I wondered if I would ever be able to write a sermon or devotional ever again. It may sound silly but in my befuddled state, it was a genuine concern.

Obviously the ability has returned, but so has the realization that I need to look at surrender again. What does it mean to count everything as rubbish that I may gain Christ? (Philippians 3:8)

I know God could still use me in other ways if He shut down one avenue of expression, yet the thought of giving up my lifelong interest terrified me.

Which tells me I place a higher value on my writing than I should.

Which means I still have some surrendering to do.


The Chick-fil-A Controversy

I tend to stay out of "culture war" controversies here on my blog. I would rather focus on Jesus Christ then the latest trends that get people on both sides of an issue all fired up. However, recent comments that I have been reading on Facebook just got the juices flowing and I felt the need to weigh in.

I decided to post this AFTER the turnout by Christians and others who support Dan Cathy's recent comments on marriage, and BEFORE the planned Kiss-In by those in the LGBT community who disagree with those same comments.

First of all, setting aside the hoopla, let's look at the actual comments in question that were made in the Baptist Press: “We are very much supportive of the family – the biblical definition of the family unit. We are a family-owned business, a family-led business, and we are married to our first wives. We give God thanks for that."

That comment has grown and morphed into an internet juggernaut. I have seen postings from friends and others in the LGBT community tossing around words like "anti-gay, human rights and civil rights."

I have seen Christians and political conservatives toss around things like "free speech, pro-family and standing up for the Gospel."

Instead of calmly and rationally talking about matters, people got their hackles up on both sides...and the Chick-fil-A sandwich was caught in the middle. Protests were planned, supportive rallies were organized and people have used one mans comments on his personal beliefs to raise all kinds of support for whatever side of the "battle lines" they stood on.

I read the comments on Facebook where people have resorted to name calling, intolerance and immaturity. I see where Christians have tried to make support of Chick-fil-A and eating a chicken sandwich into a support for the Word of God itself. "Taking back marriage" has meant that you buy a chicken sandwich to prove you believe in God! I have seen comments where those in the LGBT community act like Christian boogeymen are out to get them.

I have this image in my mind of Jesus looking at the whole affair and weeping.

He is weeping because the LGBT community feel that Christians and by extension God, are filled with hate and anger towards them.
He is weeping because we as His children have failed to demonstrate His love, grace and mercy to those we disagree with.
He is weeping because His children put more emphasis on politics than prayer, protests than the poor and demonstrations than evangelism.
He is weeping because "religious" politics seem to have taken the place of relationship with HIM.
He is weeping because a chicken sandwich has nothing to do with SALVATION!

It's time for Christians to get back to knowing nothing except Jesus Christ and Him Crucified . (1 Cor. 2:2) It is time for all of us who claim to be His followers, to actually start following Him. He went into the streets and ate with the sinners, loved the unlovable, showed grace to those trapped in sin and pointed the way to the Father.

So instead of rallying around a chicken sandwich, let's rally around the Son of God!