First, but not Last

By Daryl Olson

This was my first bike adventure with the Fuller Center, but I suspect it won’t be my last, especially because of an unexpected ending, more on that later. To be honest, riding with the Fuller Center was in my initial vision an inexpensive way to undertake a supported bike tour of our great country. At the same time there is the satisfying aspect that 89% of the entry fee is going to build housing for those who cannot afford decent, safe, or sanitary housing. In order to accomplish the goal of raising substantial funds, the bike adventure is described as a “minimalist” journey. Indeed at times that is the case and one undertaking a Fuller bike adventure must be prepared to be resourceful, tough, and not expect a chocolate on your pillow! But having said that, wow, some of the dinners put on by the local churches are fantastic. Sleeping on mats within churches works well and we had a shower available every night. 

On a bike adventure of this sort lots of cooperation is required for a mind numbing number of details that must come together, which requires a lot of team work.  A multitude of daily tasks are divided up between team members to accomplish all that needs to happen, such as writing this blog, writing a thank you note to those hosting us, cleanup, laundry, food preparation, etc, etc. An indispensable part of the journey is the incredible generosity of those churches and individuals we met along the way. The bike riders are but one “cog” on the wheel. It is the prayers, caring, and generosity of the people along the way that completes the “cogs” that enables the Fuller Center mission to roll on. I’ve now experienced this generosity first hand. My goal was to ride every mile from Bozeman to Portland and do my part to support the team. But as sometimes happens our best plans meet with so called “disappointments”.

I was riding the section in Idaho from Eureka to Libby on Tuesday when I hit some soft sand/gravel alongside the road. I went down hard on my left side. A quick trip to the ER in Libby, just showed bad bruising around the ribs, but now I cannot move faster than a glacier without excruciating pain, so must certainly have a cracked rib. Wednesday night, we had an amazing dinner and time of fellowship in the north Idaho panhandle community of Bonner’s Ferry at the private residence of Brandon and Teresa. They saw I was in pain and offered me a place to stay the night, I chose the recliner! This morning not being able to move without pain, I made the decision to abandon the quest to Portland. Brandon and Teresa immediately offered me a ride to Spokane, two hours away, to meet up with my superstar wife, Jan, who will drive to Spokane from our home.  for the trip to Spokane, Brandon and Teresa said “no worries” and that there were several neighbors that would do the same thing.

I have no doubt that they are correct about their neighbors, because I met their neighbors last night. They have a wonderful little community here in Bonner’s Ferry. What they have accomplished here is simply amazing.  In a community that numbers around 2,500 people they are building their 11th home for the needy. They raise money and take no salaries. Being affiliated with the Fuller Center they offer the homes to the most worthy and carry the mortgages themselves, making affordable housing available to those who most need it. They are true hero’s, working where the “rubber truly meets the road”. So along with life’s so called “disappointments” I’ll count the many blessings that abundantly come from the Lord and from those who are His. P.S. Another team member, Phil, has generously offered me a ride to Spokane, which is great as our hosts, have already done so much for the Fuller team.

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