Another Journey Begins

Another Journey Begins
05/30/2021

By Kert Emperado

This is my eighth year participating in the Fuller Center Bike Adventure, which has always given me perspective and a refocusing back to simple living. Our possessions are limited to our bikes, a bag of cycling gear and a couple sets of clothes for work/build days. We sleep on floors, cook and eat together and talk mostly about biking and what our lives are like beyond this adventure. For some of us, we come back to reunite with our friends turned family, to reminisce about our past FCBA trips, and the life happenings in between them. And of course, meeting new riders who have dreamt about riding across the country, is always a fresh dose of infectious energy and enthusiasm.

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A Leap Forward

A Leap Forward
Monday April 26, 2021

By Neil Mullikin

Hooray!! We made it to Natchez!  It was a huge success after both storms and COVID had put forth so many hurdles over the last 3 years.  Natchez was such a welcome site to all of us.

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Memories on the Trace

Memories on the Trace
Thursday: April 22, 2021

By Diane Bies

Today is Thursday. We have to keep reminding ourselves what day it is as time is definitely standing still and yet flying by at the same time.

We had a cold start today although it warmed up quickly and turned into a beautiful blue sky day. Our route today took us from beautiful Houston, MS to Kosciusko, MS. On this section of the Trace we pass a few areas that are memorable to me as I travel through for the 8th time.

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Why We Ride – Do Good, Share With Others

Editor’s Note: Today’s Build Day Blog Features Reflections from Two of our Riders

Why We Ride
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

By Gary Schroeder

It’s midweek on the Fuller Center Bike Adventure bike ride down the Natchez Trace Parkway. The cycling has been amazing, with beautiful scenery, blue skies, and moderate temperatures, but it was our day off the bike today to do our schedule BUILD DAY that will be the highlight of the trip. Although our group is small because of COVID restrictions, we were able to work on two houses and make a major impact on the home owners.

At one house, the resident has difficulty walking and the existing ramp that he used to avoid stairs was too steep for him to navigate easily or safely. Repairs to the deck and a ramp with a reduced incline will allow him much greater mobility.

At the second house, the wheelchair-bound resident required a larger wheelchair and as a result, his existing ramp was too small. Our small army of riders was able to remove one side of the existing ramp and expand it to fit the new wider chair.

It is an amazing feeling when you realize that one day out of our life can be such a life-changing experience. Ease of getting around we take for granted is a luxury for some and to be able provide that ability today is very rewarding. Seeing their reaction when they see the transformation to their homes is well worth the effort we expended doing the renovation. We have learned to smile and nod when the homeowners thank us for what we’ve done but deep down inside, we know we have received much more than we gave.

Do Good. Share with Others.
April 21, 2021

By Cathy Eastman

Today was cool and breezy with plenty of sunshine. Four of us were led by Deacon Rogers in rebuilding a wheelchair ramp for Dan, a military veteran with some hardships. He had atrial fibrillation problems recently, and last week fell off the ramp, breaking two ribs.

Work went well, with Dan quietly observing and occasionally offering a suggestion. We were finished by early afternoon. We were blessed in having the opportunity to serve both Dan, and Taz.

“And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.” Hebrews 13:16

Why We Ride
Wednesday, April 21, 2021

By Gary Schroeder

It’s midweek on the Fuller Center Bike Adventure bike ride down the Natchez Trace Parkway. The cycling has been amazing, with beautiful scenery, blue skies, and moderate temperatures, but it was our day off the bike today to do our schedule BUILD DAY that will be the highlight of the trip. Although our group is small because of COVID restrictions, we were able to work on two houses and make a major impact on the home owners.

Do Good. Share with Others.
April 21, 2021

By Cathy Eastman

Today was cool and breezy with plenty of sunshine. 

Four of us were led by Deacon Rogers in rebuilding a wheelchair ramp for Dan, a military veteran with some hardships. He had atrial fibrillation problems recently, and last week fell off the ramp, breaking two ribs.

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When Amazing Weather, Scenery, and History Mix

When Amazing Weather, Scenery, and History Mix
Tuesday: April 20, 2021

By Chuck Snavely

On Tuesday, we rode 83 miles from Dennis to Houston, MS, our longest ride so far and our 4th day riding together. Weather continues to be spectacular, cool to start the day and warming to the mid 70s.

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A Perfect Day for Cycling

A Perfect Day for Cycling
Monday: April 19, 2021

By John Nugent

Day 3: Collinwood, Tennessee to Dennis, Mississippi. 58 miles with 1,811 ft of elevation gain.

Today was an absolutely perfect day for cycling. The pastor of Collinwood Freewill Baptist Church generously bought the group breakfast at the local restaurant. 

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Bittersweet

By: Sara Dobbs

“Bittersweet” is the word that came to mind for myself and a few other riders today, our last ride for Tour de Florida 2019.  As eager as we are to get back to family and friends, and return to a good night’s sleep in our own beds, it’s always tough to say good-bye to our trip leaders, volunteers and fellow cyclists.

Our group was comprised of Fuller veterans from various Cross Country, Natchez Trace, and Silver Comet rides as well as riders new to the Fuller family.  A trip that’s just over a week leaves us all wishing we had more time to reminisce and reconnect with old friends and more time to get to know new friends better.  We’re just getting our biking legs in shape and our chore teams figured out and….time’s up!  We leave behind life on the road and living simply in community and return to the daily routines of “normal life.” 

Good-bye to Florida’s fabulous weather, beaches, and ocean views and back to the familiar landscapes of home. What a trip it’s been and what a contribution we’ve made to help eliminate poverty housing!  All of us will go forward feeling re-energized about the ways we can help those in less fortunate circumstances whether it’s raising funds for future FCBA Rides or looking into the eyes of those in need and providing something to help in that moment (a slice of pizza!).

The reading material I packed along for this trip was Millard Fuller’s “Theology of the Hammer” that Courtney sent out before our trip.  From page 143 are words that summarize our mission and remind us why we pedal for a purpose: 

The “Theology of the Hammer” is for the whole world: starting right where you live and going out to the ends of the earth; putting faith and love to work; always doing a good job in keeping with “a well built theology”; constantly seeking to enable people from all walks of life to participate in the mission; and forever focusing on the vision God has given all of us ending poverty housing and homelessness and building up both houses and the people who live in them.” 

God Bless and Godspeed.  Oyee!!

Persevering through the Headwinds

By: Jennifer Wells

“Not only that but we also glory in tribulations knowing that tribulation produces perseverance and perseverance character and character hope.  Now hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured into our hearts by the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:3- 5.

 
Perseverance means “endurance”. Trials and tribulation produces endurance when we exercise faith during those difficult times. Faith produces its own reward.
 
Today was about endurance and persevering through some of the early consistent headwinds that we were faced with this morning.  Actually, the headwinds were intermittent throughout the 90 mile bike ride today.
 
Personally, I find riding into a headwind for miles on end to be one of the more challenging activities to engage in. So today I prayed for strength to practice perseverance and work on endurance.  Through perseverance I built more character and through character building more hope that I could endure the headwinds and make it to the church today!
 
How does this relate to faith?  We are told to persevere in prayer, to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, spread the gospel despite rejection from the non-believers and much more.  By persevering in the tenants of faith through our daily lives we can have hope for better things to come.

The Route to Reflection

By: Debi Swinford
 
As I started the ride today and anticipated 60.6 miles, I also anticipated what to put in this blog.  The actual ride, what we saw, weather, crazy drivers, emotions that arose, our thoughts or how this is a spiritual journey.  How about a bit of each?
 
Day 5 was gorgeous in all regards.  The sun was shining, temps were warm, 80 ish, and the views of these sparkling, glittery cities provided lots of wow power.  The overpasses we traveled offered water views and boats that I have only seen on Lifestyles Of The Rich and Famous.  This ride was a good test of cardiovascular health, not because it was strenuous, but lots of traffic, narrow lanes, and riders had to pay attention to driver/pedestrian intentions.  Focus was required.  My fellow riders are inspiring in so many ways.  Spiritual, kind, patient, selfless, and compassionate.  Jesus would be proud as these folks see the world through his eyes.  That’s the mission, bring to all what Jesus would, homes, comfort and simply Love.  
 
Riding so many hours a day allows our minds to think of those we love the most, those we miss, memories, others we have met riding, those we serve.  It also gives us time to reflect on our own spiritual path and explore ways to widen our path.  
 
Landing in Homestead for the night, we are grateful for the United Methodist Church as our host, onsite showers, and icecream right across the street.  
 
On to Marathon tomorrow.  God bless.  

Celebrating the New Year with Family

By: Ann Coleman
 
We had a late lights on (8:30) in case people were out late celebrating. I think most were asleep before 10.  Yes, we are such a wild crowd!
 
The 47 mile ride into Fort Lauderdale was a good one….no bumps or bruises and no stuck vans and trailers. 😇 Many of us were delayed by draw bridges being raised, but it was fun to gather and watch the boats pass under. 
 
The BIG highlight was having Jonathan Barringer riding in a Sumo Suit. The onlookers loved it and the riders were just relieved that he made it without sweating to death. So why did he do it? Jonathan is a young guy with a huge heart. He sincerely believes in Fuller’s mission and takes his fund raising seriously. He creatively offered the Sumo incentive to his donors if he reached his fund raising goal before the trip started.  What a great example Jonathan is for spreading awareness of Fuller.
 
Morning devotions continue to be a highlight for me. It has been interesting how many of them have pointed us to leaning into God and walking in His light. Having that time together at the morning circle up is such a great way to start the day.  What a blessing!
 
It is hard to believe that the trip is half over. It is such an awesome group of people….some old timers, but some amazing rookies. We are family!