Written by: Paul Herguth
Today is only day 4 of our Bicycle Adventure, but oh what an adventure it has already been. This trip has kicked into high gear and everyone involved seems to be having a truly wonderful experience.
We started our trip in Carlsbad, California at Faith Community Church where we were well received by the pastor and staff. Our hosts were gracious and kind. Thirty-six riders traveled by bicycle to Oceanside Pier the morning of June 6th. There we took part in one the most exciting and joyous ceremonies I have ever been a part of. Everyone there was full of hope, unity of purpose, and faith that our experience would be a blessed one. While on the beach that morning we prayed together, gave thanks to God, our families, and to the Fuller Center for providing us the opportunity to be a part of greater movement to end poverty housing. Many of our family members were present which added to the buzz. What a beautiful moment it was!
After the ceremony we mounted our bikes and set out to Temecula, California. Upon arriving at our destination, we were graciously received by our hosts at Temecula United Methodist Church (TUMC). The church staff provided a delicious and bountiful meal that was well appreciated after our 49-mile ride through the hills and valleys of the area. We were also quite pleased to have access to clean showers at Ronald Reagan Sports Park.
On Sunday June 7th we rested. We were able to attend the church service at TUMC. We met with the church members and staff and had opportunity to share with congregation why we are doing a cross-country trek. All were supportive and interested in hearing our stories. After the church service, many of us toured Old Town, Temecula to shop and grab a bite to eat. Others stayed at the church to rest in preparation for the coming rides.
The weather forecast for Monday, June 8th called for 106-degree weather in Palm Springs/Rancho Mirage, which was our destination for the day. We started our ride at the crack of dawn in order to beat the midday heat. We eventually made it to Palm Springs although we did have one accident that was quite serious. Thankfully the injuries sustained will not keep our intrepid rider from the continuing her ride. With God’s grace she is going to soldier on. This is an inspiration to us all to see such faith, determination, and fortitude in the face of adversity.
While in Palm Springs, our Fuller Center host chapter in Desert Communities somehow arranged for us to stay a the Royal Sun Inn Hotel! What an unexpected treat! Warm, soft beds, showers and even a swimming pool have made all feel a bit spoiled.
Today, June 9th was a workday, or was our Adventure leaders call a “build” day. We were honored to be able to labor for the cause of helping those in need of housing repair. We visited Ramon Mobile Home Park to build some fencing and provide needed landscaping services at designated homes in the park. Many residents came out to greet us and asked us about our mission. It was a nice opportunity to spread some of God’s love to the local residents of Palm Springs, CA.
Now the cushy part of the ride is coming to an end as we are staring a 4-day journey of long rides through the California and Arizona deserts. I am confident we will be successful however because of the tremendous support our team of riders has for one another. When I signed up for the ride I was expectant that God would provide an opportunity to inspire someone with our story and I’m sure He will. I suppose however what I did not expect that I would be the one who would be so inspired.
So far this trip has been overwhelmed with joy by my interaction with each and every one of the volunteers. From administration staff to riders, to support personnel, everyone has come together in a spirit of unity, acceptance, care, joy, and love for one another. What a blessing to be a part of a group of such beautiful people. I now see that our mission is not only to reach out to the communities we visit, but to reach out, support, and love one another through this experience.
We are truly one big happy cycling family. I have witnessed such kindness, helpfulness, and genuine concern for one another in such a short period of time together. It is as though I have known these lovely people for years! I am so blessed to be able to be a part of this Fuller Center family. They are teaching me what a genuine Christ-like love looks like each and every moment of the day. I have no doubt that I will be a changed man after this ride is over and perhaps, with God’s grace, I will carry this love with me and be able to impart it to others.
Thank you and God’s speed on the ride tomorrow, and for the next ten weeks. God bless you all!