Cross country is more than a sport to Sindy Larson. It’s a reflection of her spiritual journey. “Running helps me understand my walk with the Lord,” she says. “You need to be committed to it. We have to keep going through the pain.”
Larson has only been at MU a few months, but she’s positive she picked the right place to race. When the Orange County native was looking at colleges, she was impressed by Multnomah’s mission statement: equipping students to be biblically competent, academically proficient, spiritually formed and culturally engaged servant leaders. And when she visited, the campus community left a lasting impression.
“MU is Christ-centered,” says Larson. “We’re learning how to love the Lord, we’re praying in our classes and we’re seeing God’s work through our instructors. I’ve never experienced anything like this before in my life.”
‘Keeping our focus on the Lord’
For Larson, who ran competitively in high school, joining MU’s cross country team was icing on the cake. She began training with the Lions this summer and in September qualified for the NCCAA Cross Country National Championships. Larson is first woman from Multnomah to compete in the national race, which will take place in Houghton, N.Y., this Saturday. The men’s cross country team, which also qualified for nationals, will be joining her, along with Cross Country Coach David Lee.
“Coach Lee took us as we were and helped us grow from there,” says Larson. “He challenges us to be better. He’s so good at motivating us and keeping our focus on the Lord.”
Concentrating on God is exactly what defines Larson’s cross country experience. She uses her lengthy runs as opportunities — quiet times — to connect with him through prayer. Her teammates only enhance the bond. “Being a part of this team has heightened my experience of the Lord,” Larson says. “Their encouragement has taught me so much about God’s love. I’m really grateful to be a part of this.”
When Larson isn’t running, she’s immersing herself in everything else MU has to offer, including thought-provoking classes and supportive friendships. “The academics are very challenging,” she says. “This community has been really good for me. Connecting deeply with other students has been a joy. And the faculty’s brotherly and sisterly love for us is so cool to see.”
‘Experiencing true life’
In the meantime, Larson is getting excited for her big race on Saturday. “I’m so grateful for this opportunity,” she says. “It’s exciting that our school gets to move up in competition, and I hope it motivates more people to come to MU and be in this Christ-centered environment.
“You experience true life within this community, whether it’s with your team, teachers or students. It’s helping me understand what it means to be a part of God’s kingdom.”