By Renee´ McCullough
Day 5 of our Bike Adventure took us from Gettysburg to Everett, PA. For me and the rest of the team, it was a day of many challenges and encounters with God’s presence. We started the ride at around 6:45 a.m., going through the historic and picturesque town of Gettysburg and Gettysburg College (one of the colleges my daughter, Annette, visited when considering colleges to attend). It was drizzling but not cold as we rode out of town and through quiet farmlands and rolling hills. The rain and elevation of the hills increased as we progressed along the ride. Then we hit Old Route 30 and I, for one, had the challenge of my life (at least on a bike). The “hill” we climbed was at least 4 miles long and I know that the only way I made it up was by God’s direct help. Many times I wanted to stop, but kept going until I reached the topand the joyous shouts of the team already there encouraging those just coming in to the first rest stop. On Route 30 at the intersection of Route 233, I passed another location with personal meaning for me – Caledonia State Park, where my daughter and I began our last hike on the Appalachian Trail several years ago.
Our second major climb was for me even more challenging, especially the steep downhill sections in the now moderately heavy rain and dropping temperatures. After being warmed up and refueled by our team’s gracious support duo Tom and Lois and my very compassionate teammate, Kert (who bought me some hot tea), I headed out for the last ten miles of the ride. Along this section, I encountered two “guardian angels” in the form of drivers who stopped to make sure I was okay when I stopped to rest and get my bearings after missing a turn. I found out later that Kert had a pleasant encounter with a local family while waiting for a pickup after suffering a bike chain malfunction. I eventually made it to our destination, the First Christian Church of Everett, tired but grateful for God’s blessings and safety on the ride.
This day’s ride has shown me even more instances of God’s grace in enabling us to do what we can’t do on our own power, and his love exhibited by our team for each other through continual encouragement, acts of kindness, and mutual support.