It was hard to believe the ride was coming to a close as we made our way to Tougaloo College today in gusty head winds – the kind that make me wish I were back in West Texas.
This morning’s pre-ride devotional was particularly moving… the story of “the ragman.” The story is an illustration of what Christ has accomplished and continues to accomplish through his people. The ragman goes about, giving of himself, until there is nothing left to give but his own life. Death in this case is not the end of the story. This ‘ragman’ is brought back to life and offers the opportunity for those who would follow him and his way to experience the same victory over the grave. His offer is to surrender one’s own life and prerogative for his purposes; to give of oneself for the sake of the world.
Today started out with a great devotion from Dan Hepp. He discussed an experience he had on a previous FCBA ride in which a rider got lost and the entire town turned out to track him down. This demonstrated how God will use a potential problem to His purpose: making an entire community aware of the Fuller Center and our cause! What a fitting concept to keep in mind when we experience adversity.
FCBA is not only about the ride but about the people. We come from different parts of the country with different backgrounds and experiences. Today we were reminded that though we come from a variety of church denominations, we worship and serve only one God. He equips us with an array of talents to use for His glory in a variety of ways.
There is that split second at 3am when I ask myself, “Why am I awake right now? What is going on?” Simultaneously, I realize that I need to make an early morning trip to the restroom (per usual) and that I’m shivering a bit because I may have made a poor choice of sleeping spot.
There is that follow up split second when I ask myself, “Did I really just drive nine and a quarter hours to sleep on a floor and to turn around and bike in frigid temperatures? Why didn’t I just find the closest volunteer build location and go build for a day? My work in the office and at home will pile up. And I have to break away from the ride early to get home to another commitment. Why do I have to always choose the most challenging path? Can I do this? Will I have the will to do this? What was I thinking?”
Wednesday was a very full day. We cycled 64 miles from Meyersdale, PA to Paw Paw, WV. I actually put in some extra miles, but we will talk about that later. The weather was fantastic and the autumn leaves where everywhere; on the trees and on the trail. Taking in the trees, the hills, the water and views from varies outlooks on the trail was amazing. Another highlight of the day included Chick Fe La for lunch, courtesy of Mike Rutherford, thanks Mike. We also saw some reenactors in 17 century attire.
What I was most excited about today was the fact that we would be going through tunnels. While we had gone through some short tunnels previously, there would be real tunnels, tunnels so dark and long that you couldn’t see without a flashlight, cold and damp tunnels that made you feel like you were biking through a cave. This really excited me because as a kid I was always into Halloween and exploring dark and creepy places, so this was an extra treat for me! Continue reading→
The team had a great overnight at the Faith Bible Church on Monday night and the chore teams were getting used to the daily routines of breakfast duty, church cleaning, trailer loading, and most importantly snack preparation. A beautiful dawn sky foretold a day of plentiful sunshine and light breezes.
When we drove up to the house of the West family in Wilkensburg, PA with our porch post and gutters to “fix” their drainage problem, I saw right away that this home, that at one time would have been one of the more well to do homes in the neighborhood, had sadly drifted into disrepair. The Wests were older folk with grown children, but who had taken in and adopted three younger children ten years earlier. Mr. West was much older than Mrs. West and had severe arthritis so he could not do the much-needed work. The Pittsburgh Project, a local housing non-profit group, had begun to help the Wests with their house issues and we with the Fuller Center Bike Adventure had shown up on this day to help out wherever we could. There were three families with homes that needed immediate help, so we split up into groups and went out into the greater Pittsburgh area to find our families.
56 churches. 26 states and the District of Columbia. 81 days. These are a few of my statistics for this summer with FCBA. The one thing I can’t count, though, is the number of times the people on this trip have brought me joy and made me feel loved.
Not only have I been away from my family for the longest time so far in my life (seven weeks) but two weeks into the East Coast trip I got news that my grandpa passed away. Though it wasn’t entirely unexpected, it wasn’t easy to hear, especially knowing that I was over 2,000 miles from home. But, if I had to be away from home, there is no other group of people I would rather be with than my Fuller Center family. Nicole hugged and cuddled with me, Lindsey and Bri took me on a late night drive and many others showed me compassion and care. Fortunately, my grandpa’s memorial was planned for after my return home but many assured me that family comes first and if I needed to leave my role as a support and media intern, it would be no problem. Continue reading→
There are many firsts for me this week.First, I have never done a long distance ride, which for me is six days back to back.Second, I have only biked 65 miles, one time.Therefore this is a real challenge for me.I was blessed on my ride today to ride with my husband Mark, and friends Larry and Gary.The Bible says “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor.(Ecclesiastes 4:9).When one of us or another struggled whether it was not having the legs for today or a flat tire.We were a Team.The FCBA Team.I have felt welcome into this “Family” from the day that I arrived.We have many backgrounds, many different denominations, but yet we are “One”.One Family working for one purpose.I have heard many say that it is not about the biking.Biking is just a side effect of the #1 purpose.That purpose: Being the hands and feet of Jesus, by reaching out to those less fortunate.I have four more days to finish this week.I have been truly blessed and my life has been greatly enriched by this experience.May God Bless each and every one of my new FCBA Family.
This is my first Fuller Center ride. I joined the East Coast ride at Cary, NC. I am just starting my third week. It has been filled with many great experiences in the last few days.
I have always been taught to believe that we sow seeds and don’t always get to see the harvest. Today I experienced the harvest. Lindsey, one of our faster riders was several miles ahead of Ruth and I. Lindsey met Frank, a man that had lost some money. Lindsey shared with him about the Fuller Center Bike Adventure and our mission. They parted ways. I failed to mention that Frank was also cycling. He was heading north and ran into Ruth and I a little while later. As we met him he asked to talk with us. We stopped to visit. He shared his story about meeting Lindsey and as he rode along he wished he had given Lindsey the found money for the Fuller Center. When he saw Ruth and I, he had a chance to makeup for his missed opportunity and we got to harvest the seed that Lindsey sowed. God’s hand was blessed many people in a short period of time.
This past weekend we stopped in Orlando, FL to assist with the Fuller Center’s local Covenant Partner led by AJ and Karen. They have been making Helen’s house handicap accessible, and other improvements to the home. On Saturday we went to Helen’s to meet her and paint her house. Our bike adventure team, AJ’s team, friends of Helen’s and her church family worked together to paint her house and feed the team. All this was accomplished in one day. AJ and his team still have a lot of work to do but we all got to fulfill a woman’s need.
These are just a few reasons that I joined the Fuller Center Bike Adventure. Looking for the things that God wants to show ME and US.
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