Do you know what it’s like to be part of a cyclist’s culture? I had no idea until I recently registered for the Sea to Sea ride. In about three months, from June to August, there will be about a hundred riders who will participate in cycling a portion or the entire route from Vancouver to Halifax. Imagine the spirit it takes to cycle day after day for about 100 to 150 kms each day!
Why have I decided to join this campaign and do the ride from Calgary to Winnipeg? The main reason is to raise awareness and support for what God has laid on my heart “do justice and love mercy”. World Renew and Partners Worldwide are the two agencies involved in organizing the Sea to Sea ride where funds raised will be used to support families in developing countries to overcome poverty through training programs in agriculture, health, literacy and economic livelihoods. At least 20% of the funds raised will also go towards supporting local community organizations in Canada and USA that congregations are involved with to address issues of poverty, refugee resettlement and other needs.
My work for about thirty years in World Renew has made me acutely aware of the daily sweat and tears of many families around the world who want to change their story of hunger to plenty, of despair to hope and of broken relationships to reconciled ones. Many of them strive to get a bicycle in order to transport their produce to the market, to take children to school, to fetch water, to attend church services and visit friends too. In solidarity with them and with the riders from Sea to Sea, I am excited to be part of this movement to change the story as God intended.
Now let me share what I have learned so far about the culture of cyclists. First, I discovered that buying a bicycle for a long ride was completely different from buying a bicycle for doing short errands. A very helpful sales clerk at one of the bike shops in Hamilton started by asking me questions about the terrain I would be riding and suggested I select a hybrid bike with about 29 gears. What a contrast to the 10-speed bike I thought was ultra-modern as a kid! Then he coached me about getting proper shoes, a snuggly-fitted helmet, a seat that is ergonomically fitted to the size of my bones and a bike frame that allows me to reach the ground with my feet as well as hold the handle bars comfortably.
As I went through this process of buying the bike with all the accessories, I was reminded of the passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 which talks about putting on the armor of God to fight spiritual warfare. Fighting poverty requires using both spiritual and physical armor. Just like a proper fit with a bike is essential to successfully completing a marathon ride, proper tools are essential to overcome poverty. For example, a cyclist needs to be in good physical shape which includes having a strong girth or waist to avoid a very sore back from hours of being hunched over. Ephesians 6:14 similarly talks about girding the waist with truth and putting on the breastplate of righteousness. When dealing with issues of poverty, it is imperative that people confront lies they believe about themselves and replace them with God’s truth. If they are fatalistic by thinking their destiny is poverty and they can do nothing about it, we encourage them to embrace God’s promises for strength and a life that is flourishing.
Pardon the pun, but I am quite geared up for this ride. Thanks for all your support! Thank you for visiting. Together we can make a difference!