Gary Schroeder: These friends are more like family

Gary Schroeder: These friends are more like family
January 10, 2022

By Gary Schroeder

And so a new Adventure begins. Twenty seven intrepid riders arrived in Orlando, Florida to begin the Fuller Center Bike Adventure’s second Tour de Florida.

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Sherri Givens: God’s invitation to work with Him is a blessing

Sherri Givens: God is building homes for people, and He’s letting us help!
January 6, 2022

By Sherri Givens

I participated in a Bible study on the book of Romans this past year. At one lesson, the teacher told us about visiting her grandparents when she was a little girl.

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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!

Seizing Every Moment


By: Brian Niedert

I awoke this morning to a beautiful cool morning, pleasantly surprised by the shift in winds overnight from south to north. The anticipation of riding the tailwinds out of Vero Beach was heavy on the minds of us all who fought headwinds the previous two days. 

I was blessed with the opportunity to present the morning devotional, focusing our thoughts on Jesus- The Light of the World. He was indeed, the light of the world while he was in the world. He calls us who are in the world but not of it, to be salt and light. He calls us to be light, not to draw attention to ourselves, but that others may see our good deeds and glorify our Father in Heaven. A challenge was presented to spend time daily in  the Word (which became flesh and dwelt among us) that our minds would be transformed and the light of our lives shine bright for His glory. As was fitting, we remembered on this last day of the year one our our own FCBA riders’ whose life was taken prematurely by a vehicle collision a few months prior. His life was one of shining the light of Christ wherever he went. What a sobering moment it was to reflect on how short our lives on this earth really are and how we should seize every moment to share Jesus with others.  

And off we went – headed out to West Palm Beach with the wind to our backs and temperatures never climbing out of the 70’s. The views this day were absolutely spectacular, catching frequent glimpses of sunny beaches as we rode through meticulously manicured landscapes of several golf and yacht club communities, winding our way along the back roads and scenic byways. Our destination – Holy Trinity Episcopal Church- a beautiful one-hundred year old church in the heart of the city next door to Trump Plaza.  

Being this the last night of the year, many were interested in going out to celebrate and ring in the new year. However, many of us were content in celebrating with sleep. 

All-in-all, we tried our best to bring glory to God as we let our light shine bright – finishing the year off strong.  Praise be to God! 

From First-timer to Family

By: Randi Topps

What a busy day! 
Everyone was up and bustling around before 7 am. May had finished breakfast already by 7:30.  Kudos to the breakfast crew for having food and coffee ready ahead of time! 
The Methodist minister was so happy to offer his prayers and the FUMC so generous with the use of their main building for two days!   When sweet Courtney read the story of the Rag Man you could see how it touched her heart.   Hearing this for the first time had me in tears as well.  To think that the sacrifices the rag man offered for the sake of others is exactly what Jesus was is and always will be!
My first ride with this amazing group of people was so inspiring.  Head winds today brought us even closer gathering up our strength to help each other through the ride.   When I had a flat , not only did my group of riders stop, but so did the next group until the flat was resolved and everyone knew we were safe.   
I love the helping community of the Fuller Center riders.  I am so blessed to have been welcomed into this family!

Orlando Build Day

By: Mike Rutherford
Our first day together on the Tour de Florida allowed us to serve Mustard Seed of Central Florida and spend some time riding and walking around Orlando.
Our service project on this trip was to build dressers for families who need furniture for daily living. It fits well with Fuller’s goal to eliminate substandard housing since we could provide furniture for needy families. We built 18 dressers on Saturday and by the end of the project we were finely tuned furniture building machines.
The rest of the day was spent preparing to ride. We finished our orientation and then had a shakedown ride with the bikes to make sure everything was working properly. Several team members chased down the final bike shipments and our final team members joined us on Saturday evening. Everyone settled in early for the night in preparation for a week of riding. 
Sunday promises to end at the beach as we ride across Florida to Cocoa Beach. We should have multiple days ahead of beach side riding and hopefully plentiful sunshine.
Pray for safe travels, a nice tailwind, sunshine, and friendly faces as we head down Florida and spread the word of the Fuller Center.

Tour de Florida

The idea for the Tour de Florida came from Kert Emperado and Mark Major, when they cycled the Keys in early 2016. Kert, being from Philadelphia, highly endorsed the ride as a great way to escape the cold and enjoying time riding with friends. Mark, who lives in Orlando, saw the potential for the ride to serve his local Central Florida Fuller Center for Housing, in addition to cycling in the sun. We are excited to combine all of the great aspects of riding in Florida, and working to serve those in need of affordable housing!

Tour de Florida Map

In the summer of 2017, the East Coast ride finished their five-week journey from Portland, ME to Key West, FL by riding this very stretch. Despite the August heat, the beautiful riding in Florida shone through, and the thought to repeat this stretch in better weather kept playing in our minds. After trying to get it off the ground for a few years, the time has finally come!

Mark rides along the Atlantic Ocean during the 2017 East Coast Ride

This week-long ride begins with living out the mission of the Fuller Center. We will build with the Central Florida Fuller Center for Housing on Saturday, December 28th. After orientation and church service on the 29th, we will strike out east to hit the Atlantic Ocean  in Cocoa Beach. The rest of the route follows the gorgeous Atlantic Coastline for before hitting a dead-end in Key West. We will have an off day there to bask in the glory of the great ride, and take a sunset ferry back to the mainland. An early morning drive will bring us back to Orlando for a Monday morning departure. There is a lot to love on the Bike Adventure’s Tour de Florida!