I can’t tell you how excited I was to join up with the Bike Adventure gang for the day and the 75-mile ride from Macon to Americus. The ride was hot and I only had 10 days to train.
But I knew that I would be with great company and my son Luke would be waiting for us in Andersonville to ride the last 15 miles. There we would also be meeting many other local riders and then get a police escort to the office for a celebration.
I was also enjoying my first successful test with our new personal campaign pages. Using Facebook and other social networking strategies sharing short stories from my training days brought in generous support from a wide audience. My goal, to raise $750 in increments of gifts of $7.50 per person raised enough money to pay for the guttering we were going to hang on our Elizabeth Street project on Monday.
The day exceeded my high expectations in every way!
I am so proud of Ryan and Kelli and the entire Bicycle Adventure team and all that they have accomplished over the past three years. They are our ambassadors. As a staff person, I am fortunate enough to have them work in all three areas of my daily focus: working with churches, starting new Fuller Center covenant partner groups and working with the Americus-Sumter Fuller Center for Housing. For example, just last week we received an application from the Benton Harbor, Mich. area. Ryan and the Bicycle Adventure team nurtured the relationship and one year later we have a new local leadership team in place ready to help people desperately in need of better housing.
Tomorrow, the team will split up and head out to six different churches in Americus sharing the story of their efforts around the country to advance a ministry that was inspired right here four decades ago.
As I mentioned above, their final gift to the community will be to work on our duplex for Thad and Chuck. I can’t wait to build with these inspirational volunteers!
As ambassadors for the affordable housing movement, the riders need to have confidence that there are great teams in Americus and at all of our covenant partner locations around the country and around the world. So as staff members, we try to do our best to empower, encourage and support the effort at the local level. We don’t see this as a job, but a ministry.
We are not just employees. To use a cycling term, our staff strives to become domestiques for our covenant partners and churches and volunteers.
A domestique is a road bicycle racer who works solely for the benefit of his or her team and leader. The French domestique literally translates as "servant," though the French term for such a team worker is porteur d’eau (literally: water carrier, like the German Wasserträger). In Italy and Spain, the term gregario (a kind of soldier of the roman legions, "one into the group") is used, while in Belgium and the Netherlands the term knecht ("servant") or helper ("helper") is used. The domestique rides ahead of the leader to provide a wind draft to help the leader conserve energy. The domestique sacrifices through sweat and physical energy and even handing over his or her bike if the leader’s bike has a mechanical problem. The domestique has no desire for self glory.
While cycling offers great metaphors for our housing ministry, this isn’t a new idea. Check out Matthew 20: 20-28
Oyee! Bike Adventure riders, supporters and their family members! God speed to New Orleans.