A day of pondering – By Graham Houston
Today is my third day on the ride and I was honored to be asked to offer the morning devotion before we headed out from Biloxi, Miss. to our destination of Slidell, La. (59 miles). I chose Matthew 25 to set the stage for a story about my dad, a Presbyterian pastor who, following bypass surgery in the 70s took up jogging to improve his heart and health. He would find coins, pennies mostly, everywhere he ran. He gathered them and reflected on why people would not pick them up, especially when they might be seen by others. To him, those pennies came to represent the marginalized people in our society–the people so oftened ignored, overlooked and forgotten.
So with this story in mind we embarked on our journey for the day, contemplating for whom we ride and seek to raise awareness and money. We also prayed for the safe journey of Brett, Ivan and Aaron who departed 45 minutes earlier in the dark on their ride to NOLA.
The last thing we do before departing each day is ask for a volunteer to sweep–that is, ride last to make sure everyone makes it to our destination. On Monday I needed the sweep team of Ivan and Kyle to get through the last half of the day. I was not acclimated to the heat and humidity (I don’t think many of our group were!) and needed to stop often to rehydrate, restore my electrolytes and recover before going on. So today I had an opportunity to give back and help make sure everyone else made it to Slidell.
The job was demanding from the get go. Before getting out of the church parking lot Ryan had a flat! Fortunately Ryan is a master at changing flats (see the "score" at the end of this blog) so all I had to do is watch. The best part of all this was Ryan and I got to spend quality time riding together and sharing our stories with each other about how we got involved in this housing ministry and our encounters with Millard Fuller. It led me to muse out loud how neat it would be to put together a collection of essays from people sharing their personal encounters with Millard. I suggested it could be called "Memories of Millard."
We caught up with Kyle and rode to the first stop–right on a beach near a community called Pass Christian. What a name! From there the riding was relatively pleasant (still hot and humid but nothing like Monday). Kyle and I caught up with Colleen and worked together until we came upon the rest of the group stopped on the side of the road. Becky, riding in a fast pace line, found a road hazard and flipped her bike landing in a ditch and mangling her rear wheel. A little shaken she called it a day (had to–the bike was toast).
We made it to the next stop, a gas station, where we encountered John McTaggart traveling in the opposite direction on a Pterosail. This is a custom-built three-wheeled bike powered by a wind sail, solar power and pedals! He started in San Diego and was heading to Augustine, Fla.
The rest of the ride was without incident and we arrived at Aldersgate UMC to marvelous facilities (we get beds again tonight!) including two great meals. The icing on the cake was the return of Ivan and Aaron from New Orleans (thanks for bringing them "home" Brother Fredo!) after their successful escort of Brett to the airport.
Today we say together with God all things are possible and in His hands we place our lives.
Graham Houston is the president of the Fuller Center for Housing of Greater Kansas City. He would love for you to donate toward his $2,500 fundraising goal which he designated for his local project. Click here to read more about it and to donate!
|Game Time Part 3 — Can You Match the Homeowner to the Build Day Project?
NOTE: I can’t help but point out that whole-way rider, Ivan, finally got his first flat–on his way to New Orleans with Brett and Aaron. So close to a perfect game. Please offer Ivan your condolences.
*Flat Tire Count*
Aaron Alaman – 3
Brett Safran – 8
Chris Cosby – 6
Ivan Cunningham – 1
Kyle Halat – 16
Ryan Iafigliola – 12
Susan Pratt – 2
Allen Slabaugh – 2
Becky Acton – 0
Colleen McKenna – 0
Matthew McKenna – 0
Graham Houston – 1
Abby – 4
Jonny – 0
Leah – 2
Melissa – 3
Olivia – 0
Sarah – 2
Tom – 2
Tony – 0
Mark Benjamin – 0
James Berstein – 0
Steve Carillo – 0
Keith Wishum – 3
So I know I’ve left a lot of comments, but that’s because I’m so excited for all of you! Ivan, you were so close! Good job! And Becky, I’m glad you’re okay – that’s so scary! I’m sorry about your bike. At least New Orleans and celebrating is coming very soon – you’ve already done so much. Thanks Ivan and Aaron for helping Brett get to the airport. Pass Christian is actually where I went for spring break sophomore year of college, and that’s where I met Brett for the first time, working on Hurricane Katrina relief. Coincidences – yay! GREAT JOB EVERYBODY! OYEE!
Have a great ride to New Orleans today! Hope you all are enjoying yourselves as much as I did! Who dat?
Been keeping an eye on the progress. It has been very uplifting to see all the effort that you are putting in for such a worthwhile endevor. You guys have the hearts of many with you. Wish you the best as you complete this wonderful bike ride. God Bless Will from Manassas Va