Teenager continues to help out overseas program while honoring her late father

Jackson girl raising money for Speed the Light program
Published: Jun. 26, 2022 at 6:33 PM CDT
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CAPE GIRARDEAU, Mo. (KFVS) - An 18-year-old girl from Jackson is going above and beyond to help a church organization mission overseas.

On Saturday, Moriah Respondek took on a challenge attempting 2,022 cartwheels as part of raising money towards the Speed the Light program at the Bethel Assembly of God church in Cape Girardeau.

She also is dedicating these cartwheels in honor of her dad that passed away in 2018.

Her goal to raise this year is $10,500. With that amount, Moriah and her brother Seth will collectively have raised more than $100,000 over the past several years for this program.

Moriah said she thanks her dad for showing her the way to help others out.

“He passed away 20 days before my first challenge and he was super involved with missions and really encouraged me to start this challenge in the first place,” Moriah said.

Bethel Assembly of God Youth Pastor Danny Wilson said the money raised will go towards a mission overseas.

“This year we’re raising $45,000 to put a water well in a village in Africa,” Wilson said. “We believe everyone should have access to clean water.”

The youth there at the church have taken time out of their days there to help out the effort overseas.

“It’s incredible,” Wilson said. “Obviously, I can’t do it on my own and these kids have just blown me away by their ability to show up and pull off these incredible things.”

Seth Respondek also helps out as he completes challenges as well to help raise funds. He said it’s also important to help spread the word of Jesus along with the funds.

“It’s hard to know that some people can go their whole life without knowing anything about Jesus,” Seth said. “So, giving that bridge to help them out and let them know about Jesus is really important to me and it was important to my dad.”

Moriah was there at the church surrounded by her youth pastor, family and friends, performing cartwheel after cartwheel for hours.

“It’s amazing,” Madison Stenger said. “She has taken something that is a tragedy with her dad dying and turning it into something very powerful and something that everybody can be very proud of.”

Moriah’s mother Tammy Respondek said the support helps her with completing her goal and feels her dad has been a big part of who she is today.

“I think it keeps his memory alive,” Tammy Respondek said. “It’s hugely important for her. It’s very emotional for her every time. But that’s part of her story and I am so honored she does it.”

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