I came to know Jesus Christ in a truly personal way after I moved to Colorado Springs, Colorado. I grew up in a family that went to church on a regular basis when I was a young boy. However; I would never say that I truly knew the love that Christ had for me. On a nice sunny day I would much rather be outside playing with my friends than going to church on a Sunday morning.
Growing up, sports was my life. It was what slowly took our family away from going to church and learning more about Jesus. I found myself always traveling to sporting events on the weekends — swim meets, tennis tournaments, triathlons, soccer matches, etc. Eventually, I didn’t find the time to go to church.
While I was attending college at Wake Forest University, I began to realize something was missing in my life. Unsure of what that missing piece was, I found myself drawn to hanging out with friends that were followers of Christ. There was something different about their lifestyles that I liked to be around.
During the summer of 1998, after graduating from Wake Forest University, I moved out to Colorado Springs to train at the Olympic Training Center in the sport of triathlon. In 1999, I slowly realized what was missing in my life. I began to attend church again on a regular basis with friends of mine from the training center. I started looking forward to Sundays and learning more about Christ’s amazing love. I realized that I wasn’t living my life the way I wanted to. I was a slave to my sport of triathlon. My life felt empty. I was fighting against the belief that there was some act or deed that I could do in order to earn God’s forgiveness.
During the summer of 1999, after going to church early on a Sunday morning, I came home and gave my life over to Christ. I knelt down before Him in the bedroom of my rental home and confessed to Him that I could no longer do it on my own. I asked God to forgive me of all my sins. I gave all my “stuff” over to Him. I cried a lot that day; not because I was sad but because I felt free. On that summer day my old self was washed away and I became a new person in Christ. I now know that nothing is impossible with God.
God has blessed me in so many ways. He placed my beautiful wife, Val, into my life shortly after I asked Jesus to come into my heart. God blessed me with loving and caring parents. And God has given me my son, Davis Thomas Kemper, who is such a blessing in our lives. Finally, God has blessed me with talents in the sport of triathlon. My prayer is that I will never be afraid to honor Him in all that I do.
My favorite verse in the Bible comes from Isaiah 40:28-31:
“Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
On the days when I don’t think I can run another mile, or when I don’t think I’m able to cross the finish line, I always remember that God does not grow tired or weary. Anything is possible with God. As long as I put my faith in God, He will renew my strength, and I will “soar on wings like eagles.”
—Hunter Kemper, USA triathlete