Brothers row across Atlantic for 37 days to raise money for Send Relief

ALPHARETTA, Ga.—When Timothy Hamilton texted his brothers a link to the World’s Toughest Row endurance race with the suggestion that they should participate together, not all his brothers were easily convinced. But three years later, on Jan. 19, 2024, Hamilton, his brothers Trent and Thomas, and their nephew Ben Clark were the third team to cross the finish line after 37 days of rowing in a 30-foot-long boat across the Atlantic, raising thousands of dollars for Send Relief’s work among Afghan refugees.

After some initial back-and-forth, the four Hamilton brothers—Troy, Trent, Tim and Thomas—committed to undertaking the 3,000-mile journey primarily to strengthen their brotherly bond. Because both Troy and Trent had spent time in Afghanistan, a cause near to the family’s hearts is providing help and hope to Afghan refugees. It did not take them long to identify Send Relief as the nonprofit they wanted to support in this work.

“We believe in the mission of Send Relief, and we love the way that Send Relief empowers local communities to help minister to Afghan refugees in their midst and help do it in an enduring way where they can really become part of the community,” said Troy, the oldest of the brothers.

Knowing that Send Relief operates with a gospel focus was another reason the four Christian brothers wanted to raise awareness and support for Send Relief’s partners working with Afghans.

Since the fall of Afghanistan’s capital to the Taliban in September of 2021, Send Relief partners have met the urgent physical and emotional needs of Afghan families all along the refugee highway. Send Relief continues to provide care and support to Afghan refugees through trauma healing groups; parenting, health, and language classes; children’s programs; food assistance and more.

In one recent Send Relief project, partners organized concerts and events around the holidays to provide community, encouragement and food baskets for refugees.

Troy, who planned on taking the role of team chaplain on board, realized months into training that he could not participate in the trans-Atlantic row due to a back injury, but his nephew, Ben Clark, took his spot on the Foar Brothers rowing team. The two worked together to prepare weekly Scripture passages for the team to meditate on, verse packs for the small cabins where the men rested between rowing shifts and liturgical prayers for the team to read and lift up.

Tim, who is seen by his brothers as “a man of the sea,” led the team as the skipper and chief navigator. Trent functioned as the team’s process manager and onboard engineer, going so far as visiting the factory in England that built the team’s water desalinator to learn how to fix this lifeline item if needed.

Thomas, the youngest of the brothers, was tasked with the responsibility of gathering the team’s extensive food supply and also served as the onboard medic. “I wish I had brought some more variety of candy,” he said, “but other than that I would say we were pretty well prepared.”

Prior to their journey, the brothers drafted a covenant among themselves to commit to seeing the best in each other, writing, “We will purpose to follow our Hero Jesus by each serving one another as greater than ourselves.”

“I knew that the statistics were good in terms of safety,” said Troy, “but it was still more unnerving than I thought it would be watching my brothers roll out in a little rowboat into the Atlantic.”

During their row, the Foar Brothers faced intense weather, 20-foot waves, seasickness and strong winds that threatened to blow them off-course.

“It’s very tough, the hardest thing any of us have ever done in our lives.” said Thomas during his final day at sea. “The first two nights were a challenge. They just seemed endless.”

In between harrowing moments, however, the brothers and their nephew had time for meaningful conversations and moments of worship.

“I would say that we’ve been blessed by God and that’s been encouraging,” Thomas said, “I’ve grown closer with my brothers. I understand them a lot better than I did in the past.”

The Foar Brothers rowing team crossed the finish line in Antigua at 19:12 UTC and were welcomed by their families on shore. Despite entering the World Toughest Row in the “expedition” category, denoting their desire to view the row as an adventure rather than a race, the team finished third among 38 total teams.

This article originally appeared on Baptist Press.

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