Extra header June 2019

Therapist checking off bucket list with marathons

By day, Kristen Raines Eaves works the bodies of her patients as a physical therapist at West Texas Family Medicine in Plainview. But when the work day is done, she laces up her running shoes and works her own body.

Running is a familiar world for Kristen, who came to Wayland from her hometown of Mansfield, Texas, on a full scholarship to run cross country. And though her days of juggling coursework, homework, practices and Jeff Raines and Kristen Eavesworkouts has officially passed, Kristen continues to run as a hobby. In fact, she just completed her second Boston Marathon on her way to a bucket list of renowned races.

"This last Boston Marathon was really special to me because I didn't think I'd be able to finish it, and it wasn't any type of time that I'm used to running," said Kristen, who was recovering from a non-running injury. "It was special to be there again, especially with my brother, who was running his first Boston Marathon."

Her Boston debut

Kristen had not run consistent long distances since college, but after completing her graduate degree in physical therapy at Hardin-Simmons, she thought she'd jump back into running, armed now with proper knowledge about nutrition and training and having much more time to do both. Then her brother Jeff, who also ran at Wayland for two years and is a triathlon coach in Austin, called with a plea: he was putting on a marathon to help out one of his athletes who desperately wanted to qualify for that year's Boston Marathon, and he needed runners.

Kristen agreed, figuring she would give it a go but knowing she hadn't been able to train properly. One week later, she finished the marathon with a time good enough to qualify for Boston. Jeff's runner didn't, and she pleaded with Kristen to run in her honor. She jumped at the chance, and began training quickly for the race, which was held in April 2014, just one year after the bombing shook the famous race.

"After experiencing such an amazing event like that - it's on Patriot's Day and there are all these American flags everywhere, so it is very patriotic and inspiring - it made me want to do some other big marathons," recalled Kristen. "My Boston time qualified me for New York, and that one qualified me for Chicago. I qualified for London but did not get picked to go."

Kristen trains for marathonsKristen recalls that security for the event was understandably ramped up; runners had to meet early that day and be transported in buses to various sites before walking to the starting line. Military police lined the streets, and she remembers snipers on top of many of the city's buildings.

"For a lot of runners, Boston is the pinnacle, so it's almost like that marathon is the reward. Who cares how you run or how you cross the finish line; the race is the reward and you're just there to enjoy the experience," she said. "I'm not a really emotional person, but I was emotional at that event. It was just so moving."

Checking off her list

When Kristen had the chance to run Boston again this year - this time with her brother Jeff - she gladly registered. But she accomplished another first - running through an injury with a finishing time far below what she would have liked. But the experience was still special and it spurs her to stay after her marathon goals.

"I would love to run all six marathon world majors: there's Boston, New York and Chicago, and I've done those. London, Berlin and Tokyo are the others. I tried to get into London last year, and I've qualified time-wise, but when it's an overseas ballot you have to win a lottery ticket, and it's just luck of the draw. I got to go to Washington DC instead, and I'd love to do that one again," she says.

"There are some others on my bucket list: I'd love to do the Marine Corps Marathon, and the Big Sur Marathon in California is supposed to be really pretty. My husband and I like to make them race-cations where we can go fun places. It's hard work and a long journey to get yourself marathon ready, so it's fun to have a marathon and then a little celebration and vacation."

At the starting line

All this seems surreal for a girl who never really ran until middle school, when coaches saw her blow easily through the mile run and convinced her to sign up for cross country. She did, racking up school records all through middle and high school. Though she wasn't really planning on running in college, the opportunity to earn a full cross country scholarship at Wayland changed her mind.

While she earned all-conference honors in the long distances, Kristen says she never had the speed for shorter races. When then first-year Coach Brian Whitlock - currently in his 15 th year - asked her to consider the marathon event, she was intrigued.

"He told me we hadn't had a runner from Wayland compete in the marathon for several years. I figured if that was my ticket to nationals that I would do it. So that's how my marathon running began, and I ran my first marathon when I was 21," she laughs.

Joy in the journey

A dedicated student who majored in biology, had two minors and graduated a semester early in 2007, Kristen said properly training for the marathon events was tough during her college years. That's part of why she enjoys it so much more today.

"I feel like running truly has been a gift to my life. Kristen Raines Eaves It paid for my education, and if I didn't go to Wayland I wouldn't have met my husband. And running in a sense guided my interest toward physical therapy. It's something that frees my mind, and it's a spiritual experience for me when I run. It's a very prayerful time and it always resets my mind," she says.

"Running, even in practice, was still a prayerful experience that is hard to explain. I run my best when I'm not thinking about running and my mind is somewhere else. I can think of so many times that it's felt like God has carried me through my runs because He wanted me to spend time with Him and didn't want me to struggle so I could focus on Him."

She and Jonathan, also a 2007 graduate, moved back to Plainview in 2017 for her physical therapy opportunity. He is a personal trainer, and the couple are considering a business venture that would blend all their interests.

Devotional: We must choose to follow the Spirit

"Those who live according to the flesh have their minds set on what the flesh desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires."-Romans 8:5

We live in the "me" generation... where it's all about us and everything else is second or third. We do this with God also. So many think that God exists to provide what they want and desire. Even if what they desire is contrary to God Signs to wrong wayand His holiness, they feel God is still required to give it to them... because it's all about them. Paul reminds us that those who live according to the desires of their own flesh only exist to have those fleshly desires met.

They are convinced that their fleshly desires will make them happy, not realizing that this type of life leads to self destruction. They are hedonists who live for their flesh. Everything exists to satisfy their fleshly desires, even God. They believe that their so-called "happiness" is the most important thing... so they ignore or pervert God's Word to justify their own flesh. They create new categories of humans so everyone's flesh can be satisfied. Everyone does what is right in their own eyes... just as long as their carnal fleshly desires are satisfied.

It is impossible to live the biblical Christian life outside of living in accordance with the Spirit. When we live and walk in the Spirit, we desire what the Lord desires. He changes us... He gives us a new worldview...we realize we don't live fo
r the carnal and fleshly, but we live our lives unto Him. The Holy Spirit will always lead us in God's way. He will always be in one accord with the Word of God. He will produce the good and godly fruit of the Spirit in our lives.

Apart from living in accordance with the Holy Spirit we cannot live the biblical Christian life. We will always go back to our fleshly desires. We exist to glorify God.. .we cannot do that in our own flesh, for the flesh always produces the fleshly. We glorify God as the Spirit is in control of our lives. He changes not only our hearts, but He changes our actions to bring glory to God. We decide... the flesh or the Spirit... all the flesh can do is lead to sin, but the Spirit leads to the righteousness of God.

Tony (Lawrence) Pierce earned his degree in 1983 and has served as pastor of First Baptist Church Fountain Hills in Arizona for 13 years of his 30 years in ministry. He and wife Teresa, a 1981 graduate, live in Mesa. They have two grown children and four grandchildren. This devotional is an excerpt from Tony's book "A Life That's Impossible to Live," available for $10 through the church by calling ( 480) 837.3374 or emailing office@fbcfh.org.

From the History Files

In Wayland's early decades, families were creative in the way they handled their children's tuition bills. Almost every student who enrolled at Wayland College worked while earning their education, many in campus roles from janitor to food server.

It also wasn't uncommon for parents to send their young charges to Wayland with vegetables or livestock in tow as payment for their bill, and the 1910s farmer and cowburgeoning college accepted such trade willingly as it meant food for the cafeteria for weeks or longer.

Such creative accounting was not afforded only to students, however. Such was the case for Susette Fowler Fox, an early member of Wayland's music faculty. She recalled in her memoris that her father sold his cattle and bought land in Texas in 1905, settling the family in the frontier area of Plainview. In 1910, she returned to Mississippi to attend college and graduated in 1913. When she returned to West Texas, she sought employment at the new Baptist college.

"The college was young and in financial difficulties. In settling my payment at the end of the year, the board offered me te college cow in part payment. My father took her to the farm 25 miles away and put her with his herd," wrote Susette. "She was not much to look at among his Herefords, but each year she brought a fine Hereford calf that did not show many markings of her mixed ancestry."

The family named the cow Wayland.


Alumnus leads denomination to fulfill mission, outreach

When he surrendered to serving the Lord in ministry as a student at Texas A&M back in the early 1990s, Dr. Steven Cole never imagined he'd do more than work in a church and serve people. So the transfer student and eventual 1995 Wayland graduate's current role leading an entire denomination wasn't even on the radar.

Even so, Steven is in his fourth year as executive director of the Brethren Church, a small denomination of 120 churches, headquartered in Steven ColeAshland, Ohio. In that role, he works with an advisory board, oversees the national budget and staff and helps to support the churches within the denomination.

"My role with the local church is a relational authority, and my responsibility is to serve the church so it can thrive," he says. "I work with our national board and regional groups to support the churches to fulfill our mission, to plant churches and resource churches. Our job is really to be a servant to those congregations."

Moving into leadership

Becoming the director was not a move the Coles took lightly. Steven had pastored a Brethren church in Manteca, Calif., since 2007 after being in youth ministry at a nondenominational congregation in Georgia. When he felt God's call to move into the pulpit, his pastor in Georgia encouraged him and wife Beth to look into the Brethren church.

Steven and the family were quite happy with their arrangement, he recalls, when word came in 2014 that the director was not seeking another six-year term. He wasn't really looking to move or change roles.

"A mutual friend asked us out to dinner, and he began telling me a story about his gift of prophecy and he believed I was the next director of the Brethren Church. Scripture says to test the spirit, and God had not told me that. Everyone knows everyone (in the denomination) since we're small enough, and I knew the director. I was dumbfounded by the thought," he recalls. "The more we prayed about it, the more we were OK. We loved where we were and were fine if it didn't go anywhere. We committed to applying for the job, and here we are."

A unique body

The Brethren Church formed in the 1890s out of a German Anabaptist heritage, similar to the Mennonite and Amish traditions which focus on living simply and working hard. They are also a deeply relational people that focus on connections and community, and that is something Steven has come to appreciate.

Theologically, the Brethren have much in common with other evangelical Christian denominations such as the Baptists. They believe in a personal faith in Jesus Christ, a private and a corporate faith, the importance of community and family in shaping one's faith, but they have a more communal theology. Congregations are autonomous, and national and regional leadership simply serve to resource churches to better live out their mission and theology.

"Some of our differences are that we baptize forward three times, representing the Father, Son and Holy Spirit," Steven notes. "Also, we practice three-fold communion. We have a meal together, then we take the bread and the cup together, then we have a foot-washing time. It's a reminder that we submit to one another and are to be servants to one another. It all goes back to the idea that we interpret scripture together and are very communal."

The big picture

Steven earned his master's degree while in California and started the Doctor of Ministry degree through Ashland Seminary (a Brethren-founded school) online while still in the pastorate. He recently completed the degree in transformational leadership and spiritual formation, for which he completed a study on Brethren pastors and their self-care. He and Beth have two children: Maggie, 15, and Patrick, 9.

Cole familyAll this is a far cry from what young Steven dreamed of while growing up around the oil fields in West Texas and Eastern New Mexico, heading off to A&M to study engineering. But he knows he is where God wants him to be, and he's comfortable in these shoes.

"The most significant part of the work I am doing is leading through a great amount of cultural change, not just in the Brethren church but in America in regards to denominationalism and such. I don't think it's dying but it won't be like it was for our parents," he says. "I often tell our staff that it's a privilege but also a massive responsibility. Church in America no longer holds the sway it used to in the local square of your city. So what does the church do? The mission has not changed, so how do we help people find Jesus in the midst of such change?"

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