It all started with a conversation.
A year or so ago I was talking with an old friend when as it tends to do with us, the subject turned to athletics. It's a shared area of interest for us, and at the very least we spend a fair amount of time exchanging "this happened to me during this or the other event" type of stories. It was in the midst of that, talking about some of the challenges I faced in a recent long ride, that I made an off-handed comment about how I felt like I had more of a future in endurance cyclng than I did in running, much as I still loved the sport and as appealing as it still was/is to me. "Century rides or longer?" He asked. I wasn't really sure then; I just had a gut feeling that long-distance cycling was what I was supposed to be doing, somehow. And we left it at that.
Fast forward a few months from there, and you'll find me on the road between my home in Holland, Michigan and Ganges, a few miles to the south, against a strong headwind. Wind is ubiquitous in cycling, with no good way to deal with it aside from facing it head-on and just embracing the suck of it. So that was what I did, hunkered down and kept the pedals moving, praying that whole time that my turn at Ganges would come quickly. As I rode, a single thought colalesced: use it for the glory of God. And then I didn't think of it again for thirty miles, until I stopped in nearby community of Hamilton, for a sports drink and bottle refill. Until in the checkout line, when someone asked me how my ride was going. We chatted briefly, during which he asked me if I had ever done any long trips. No, today was/is my longest, around 50 miles. He told me that his husband once did a tour of the Grest Lakes, riding around all five of them. And there, miles from home and talking to a complete stranger, was the inspiration.
Long distance cycling. Use it for the glory of God. Do a long-distance ride for... something. What if I rode my bike from Holland to Mackinac City, to raise money for foster and adoptive families in our community? I wondered on the ten-mile leg home. The need is huge. Anyone who knows us, knows that our heart is for the orphans in our community and beyond. To reach them and do our part to fulfill the Biblical mandate to care for them. It's not by accident that this is one of the dominant mandates to those who claim of name of Christ.
So in or around October of next year, I'll take three days to ride 360 miles to the top of Michigan's lower peninsula, and then a few miles into the Upper Peninsula, with the goal of raising funds for the Mosaic Foster and Adotive Ministry, a local organization who serves and cares for families in the trenches. Who spend their days doing what they can for the most vulnerable among us, and their nights awake, wondering if they've done enough. Imagining what more they could have done, if only they had the resources. My goal, and my heart, is to ensure that there will always be enough. Enough families. Enough resources. Enough awareness to eradicate the need for the foster care system because enough people have stepped up to the plate and answered the call of "Whom shall we send? And who will go for us?" With "Lord here am I. Send me!"