About Christy Brunke

Welcome, friends! I’m blessed to be a mom, a pastor’s wife, and the bestselling author of the fictional book, Snow out of Season. But my greatest claim to fame comes from being a child of the King. Because of that, I’m passionate about my family, unborn children, and God-written love stories. Though I used to live in China, now I love serving in ministry here in Maryland. Praying you’ll be blessed as you read my blogs, my story, and my award-winning novel!

The Final Race Interview (Part Two): China

Eric Liddell Biography: Eric Eichinger's The Final RaceHas God ever redirected your path?

In my interview with the author of The Final Race, he shares how God changed his course from one continent to another. There, in China, he met the love of his life and walked the ways of his longtime hero, Eric Liddell. [Tweet that!]

Eric, when did God first call you to teach English in China? Did Eric Liddell’s story inspire you?

I was working in New York at the time and preparing for overseas mission work with my denomination. I was interested in Germany, but there were no slots available. They suggested China, which did not appeal to me at all.

Over time, I began to fall in love with the idea of serving in China. Then, last minute, an opportunity in Germany opened up! All of a sudden, I had a tough choice to make.

During that deliberation, I remembered Liddell was a missionary in China, and that comforted me. I asked the mission board where they would most like to place me. “China,” they said. “Then send me to China,” I responded.

Christy Brunke and Eric T. Eichinger in China

Me (far right) and Eric T. Eichinger (left, sitting) enjoying a meal at Connie Mom’s house during the years we lived in China.

Tell us about your tour of Eric’s old haunts. What struck you the most as you quite literally followed in his footsteps?

I spent time with his daughters in Toronto and trotted around one of the fields where he used to race track meets. His niece also gave me a personal tour of his church and other places in Edinburgh, Scotland.

But I would say the most powerful episode was standing in the very hospital where he died in Wei Fang, China. I had come to the end of his story, and I knew I wanted to do something about it.

Eric Liddell Memorial in Wei Fang, China

A Memorial to Eric Liddell in Wei Fang.

How did Eric’s three daughters respond when you reached out to them? How did you first get in touch with them?

Eric Eichinger with Eric Lidell's daughters: Patricia, Heather

Eichinger with Liddell’s daughters Patricia Russell (center) and Heather Ingham. (Photo courtesy of PRnews.com.)

I emailed them via the leadership at the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh. Eventually, I visited them in Toronto and have kept in touch with updates over the years.

At first, they were skeptical of my motivations and protective. Many “like me” had irritated them in the past. They warmed up soon enough, and, to my delight, have given exceedingly positive reports of what I’ve written.

How did you meet your wife, Kara? In what ways is your love story like Liddell’s? In what ways is it unlike his?

Aside from meeting in China, I would say we both had to endure long seasons apart from each other. It was a bittersweet blossom of romance.

Eric Liddell and Florence Mackenzie wedding

Eric Liddell with his bride Florence Mackenzie. (Photo courtesy of myvoiceinpen.wordpress.com.)

Do you ever plan to return to China? If so, in what capacity?

Kara and I have led one mission team to China since. Eventually, we would love to share the experience with our children. Beyond that, I’ll let God decide. He knows where to find me.

In my final interview with Eric, we discuss the movie version he’s working on with Howie Klausner. Click here to read it now!

The Final Race Interview (Part One): Crossroads

Eric Liddell Biography: Eric Eichinger's The Final RaceHow does your life intersect with that of your favorite hero or heroine?

In my last blog, I reviewed The Final Race, a brilliant biography about Eric Liddell. This week, I have the privilege to ask author Eric T. Eichinger how his life intersects with the life of his longtime hero.

Eric, in The Final Race, you described how seeing Chariots of Fire when you were eight made you an “instant fanatic of Eric Liddell.” Did your parents name you after the famous Olympian?

Chariots of Fire 1981 Movie Poster

Photo courtesy of dvdsreleasedates.com.

No, that was a serendipitous coincidence.

What was it about him that so impacted you?

It was inspiring to see a fellow Christian portrayed in such a dramatic and heroic way [Tweet that!], particularly the running set to the iconic music of Chariots of Fire. In general, there weren’t a lot of major movies that positively showcased Christianity.

My formative church was like Liddell’s as depicted in the film: liturgy, proper dress, and singing hymns out of hymnals. It offered me a vivid picture of what an adult Christian could be like.

Photo courtesy of trinitygracechurch.net.

The fact that I was a swift runner and shared the same name all but sealed the deal of fascination for me.

Did you ever aspire to be an Olympian?

Every runner that achieves a certain level of success at the university level peeks around that corner of fantasy. To win a gold medal on the highest stage for one’s country . . . sigh.

I flirted with breaking the 4-minute mile, offering up a 4.04 personal best. But I knew another 15 seconds would need to be shaved off for any serious Olympic attempt.

In what ways are you and Eric most alike?

We share several similarities including our first name, running at a high level, and serving and teaching in China. Plus, we both became ordained ministers, wrote a book, and met our respective wives in China.

Eric Eichinger, pastor of Bethel Lutheran Church

Eric T. Eichinger speaking at Bethel Lutheran Church.

In what ways are you different?

Probably our theology. Early on, Liddell possessed more of a rigid understanding of the Law of God’s Word.

The degree to which he observed the Sabbath is well known and documented, but this also spilled into his everyday spiritual walk. He lived a life of strict obedience to God’s Word. His relentless quest for perfection bordered on a works righteousness mentality.

Ultimately, he warmed to some Gospel grace tendencies in his later years.

Eric T. Eichinger, author of The Final Race

Author Eric T. Eichinger

My theology is more balanced with a constant tension between the Law & Gospel of God’s Word. I spend a great deal of time musing on the intersection between how I stand before Christ— a 100% passive righteousness received from God—and how I interact with the world— an active righteousness of my own service.

What quality of Eric’s do you most want to imitate?

He seemed to cheerfully make time for all in every circumstance. I can tend to be more selfish with my time.

Want to know more about Eric Liddell’s and Eric Eichinger’s years in China? Check out our second interview here! Eichinger shares how God called him to China, how he met Liddell’s daughters, and how he retraced Liddell’s steps in China, Scotland, and Canada. Don’t miss it!

The Final Race, An Eric Liddell Biography

Eric Liddell Biography: Eric Eichinger's The Final RaceChariots of Fire was just the beginning of the story of Eric Liddell, the Olympian who refused to run on a Sunday. In The Final Race, Eric T. Eichinger captures the climax and conclusion of Liddell’s epic life.

But he didn’t do it alone. He partnered with bestselling novelist Eva Marie Everson to produce a book that is truly remarkable.

I first met my friend Eric Eichinger in 2000 when we were both serving in China. Every Sunday, expats like us met at Connie Mom’s for prayer, worship, and Bible study. Lunch and lots of laughter were always thrown in too.

Even then, he was a huge fan of the gold-medalist who shared his love for China, running, and, above all, the Lord. But Eric’s admiration grew when he traveled to Weihsien where Liddell had lived and died.

“Somewhere on my return home from that pilgrimage, I knew I had to tell the story in a way that had not yet been done” (p. xiii).

Eric Eichinger at Edinburg, Scotland's Eric Liddell Centre

Eric Eichinger with his wife, Kara, at the Eric Liddell Centre in Edinburgh, Scotland

After that fateful trip, Eichinger began writing the screenplay sequel to Chariots of Fire. Then he teamed up with award-winning Everson to write the book version, The Final Race: The Incredible World War II Story of the Olympian Who Inspired Chariots of Fire.

Now he’s working with Howie Klausner, the producer known for writing Space Cowboys, to adapt the screenplay.

A clip from an ad for the movie version of the story. Can’t wait to see it!

I can’t imagine anyone more perfectly primed to tell Liddell’s story than Eichinger. In his own words, he describes the passions and pursuits that characterize both their lives.

As an eight-year-old Christian possessing the same first name as that of the Flying Scotsman and sharing a zeal for running, I became an instant fanatic of Eric Liddell by watching Chariots of Fire.

I thought the parallels ended there, yet at that time my race had barely begun. Amazingly enough, I also happened to run collegiately. I served in my church’s youth ministry, and I served as a missionary in China, where, like Eric, I met my wife. I went on to study theology and ultimately became a pastor and a writer” (pp. 259-260).

Eric Eichinger with Eric Lidell's daughters: Patricia, Heather

Eric Eichinger speaking with Eric Liddell’s daughters Patricia (center) and Heather

Full of the ups and downs of following in the footsteps of Christ, The Final Race inspires you to surrender all. Thoroughly researched and excellently written, Eichinger’s passion for the subject sparkles on every page.

If you haven’t seen Chariots of Fire or don’t know the rest of Eric Liddell’s story, The Final Race is a must-read[Tweet that!] In fact, this brilliant biography about one of our finest brothers in Christ deserves a prominent place on every Christian’s bookshelf.

Published by Tyndale, The Final Race is available in hardcover, as an Audiobook, and as a Kindle book. I especially recommend it to people who enjoy history, biographies, and missionary memoirs.

Want to learn more about how Eric Eichinger’s life intersects with his longtime hero? Check out our interview here.

A Once-in-a-Lifetime Friend

Christy Brunke and Nancy Holec (bride and maid-of-honor)

Me on June 1, 2008 with my maid of honor, Nancy Holec.

Once or twice in a lifetime, you might meet a friend who rivals the relationship Anne of Green Gables has with Diana Barry.

A friend who celebrates your wins and mourns your losses with more enthusiasm than you do. Who brings life to everything and everyone around her. Who is so unique and incredible that she inspires a beloved character in a bestselling novel.

A friend who asks if she can come over when she’s already parked outside. Who makes everything more fun. Who intervenes when you’re being too much of a perfectionist.

Wih my once-in-a-lifetime friend Nancy

With my dear friends Nancy and Angela and my youngest daughter, Angelina.

A friend who helps bring you together with your one true love. Who is more passionate about planning your wedding than you are. Who recommends Rose of Sharon seeds as your favors and later discovers they grow into 10-foot-high shrubs that multiply profusely.

With Friends at Pop-Out Party

At the Pop-Out Party Nancy planned when I first started showing.

A friend who loves to help you decorate your starter home and becomes ecstatic when you find your dream home. Who can pick just the right pillows to go with your living room decor. Who might shock you by suggesting you buy a zebra print rug to go under your ottoman.

A friend who shows up with baby clothes and shrieks of excitement an hour after you tell her you’re pregnant. Who takes monthly pictures of your belly and sends weekly updates about how big your baby is now. Who arrives at the gender reveal partybefore she knows the sex–with a huge “Baby Girl” balloon.

Celebrating my 34th birthday 5 months pregnant

At the birthday party Nancy planned for me when I was 5 months pregnant.

All the while, she is a friend who has been longing for a child of her own, but has been unable to have one. Who later adopts an endearing boy they name Isaac after the promised child. Who later births two beautiful babies and becomes an amazing mom to three kids three and under.

Mom with three three and under.

Nancy with her adorable children after bringing her youngest home from the hospital.

In Nancy Holec, I have found that once-in-a-lifetime friend. I am so glad she was born 34 years ago on this day. If you think she’s pretty exceptional too, post a birthday wish in the comments!

Pregnancy Center Swinging Back at Big Abortion in Orlando

Choices Women's Clinic's goal: save 11,000 babies from abortion

Vicky Botsford (right of center) celebrating at the grand opening of Choices Women’s Clinic. (Photo Courtesy: Choices Women’s Clinic)

Without vision, the people perish. With vision, Choices Women’s Clinic is taking giant steps toward their goal: saving 11,000 babies every year in Orlando, Florida.

Vicky Botsford, Executive Director of Choices Women's Clinic

Photo courtesy of ambassadorspeakers.com.

Vicky Botsford, their executive director since January 2015, knows the pain of abortion firsthand.

“It was a really horrific experience for me,” she said. “It was the most painful experience of my life.”

After Botsford became a Christian, she was invited to a pregnancy center training. There, her heart was forever captured for the cause.

Choices Women's Clinic (Orlando, Florida) new building

God provided a building beyond Choices Women’s Clinic’s wildest dreams. Botsford said, “Truly, it is immeasurably more.” (Photo Courtesy: Choices Women’s Clinic)

Tweet This: Orlando #prolife clinic aims to save 11k babies from #abortion each year. @ChristyBrunke @PHC_News

Continue reading this article on PregnancyHelpNews.com.