Sunday, 23 June 2013

The Difference

On the long journey of preparation and training that has brought me to this day, I have been incredibly aware of the hand of God in Sea to Sea - donations from people I have never met, persons paying for my flights, bike shops donating services and rushing my bike through the repair line up so I could get back in the saddle, safety through accidents ... I could go on and on, but I want to share yet another example of how the Sea to Sea tour is a fantastic witness of the work of God through His church.

When checking out of my motel room yesterday I was stopped by a middle-aged African American man. Bill. "Where you headin'?" he asked me.
"New York."
He stopped dead and I just had to laugh at the expression on his face. He almost dropped his coffee. As our conversation continued, we talked everything from school to family to home. When he learned that we were a "church group" working to raise awareness of and funds for the plight of those stuck in the cycle of poverty, he praised our Lord.

I was reminded yet again what an incredible opportunity God has afforded us in Sea to Sea. People stop and ask, "what in the world are you people doing?" And they listen, fascinated by the stories of our journey up to this point. Bill is headed home to Florida, and with him goes the knowledge of some 200 fellow brothers and sisters in Christ following the call of God to step out in faith to help others.

And you want to know what makes this story even more incredible? It doesn't end here. Six hours after my chat with Bill, I was approached by Joyce when she biked in from a Walmart excursion to pick up their tent. She sounded a tad confused when she said, "I met this African American man outside Walmart. He said that he had met a girl named Christeena earlier this morning at his motel." Seven miles from this motel, Bill ran into some fellow cyclists and Bonita, Harvey and Joyce were able to continue spreading the word of our cause. Is it not crazy how our Lord works?

Well, last night was our first official meeting as a group of support staff and cyclists. We talked everything from pace lines to tire tipping to hydration. And what was driven home for me yet again is this: Our work is only half done. We have been called as a body of Christ to minister to those in need through this tour and yes, much has been done to raise awareness and funds up to this point. But the real work has just begun. We are reflectors of the image and glory of Christ. When we are sweating our way through Arizona next week and struggling against exhaustion and pain, even then the country and the world will be watching.

And so I beg of you friends, family, and brothers and sisters in the church, do not think that our work is done. The word we are stressing on this tour is community. And you too are part of this community. Your prayers; support; words of encouragement; and donations of time, food, and money make a difference. The humble work we do in the name of Christ, God uses to make a difference. Bill is a prime example of the hand of God.

Grade 6 at Victorious Primary School in Tata, Uganda
I think of my students in Uganda and Kenya. I remember their lack of physical comforts. Many had no shoes, worked before and after a 12 hour school day, and fulfilled the parental role in the lives of multiple siblings. But I also remember their incredible faith, joy, and hope in the Lord. Their hope and faith was almost tangible and my small mustard-sized faith has been humbled. I learned more from those 22 wonderful children than I taught them.

The organizations we are working to support (Partner's Worldwide, World Renew and the RCA) are fantastic and, having seen the work they do, I am so excited to be walking alongside them in this venture. So, please pray for this trip. Pray that God uses our meager efforts to benefit His kingdom and to help those in need. And finally, please consider giving to this cause. Our work is not yet done. God is a “father to the fatherless, a defender of widows” (Psalm 68:5) We as the reflectors of Christ must too be defenders and providers. Thank you for your support thus far and please continue to follow along and cover this tour in prayer because God is making a difference with Sea to Sea. Blessings.

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