Pedaling, speaking, storytelling, and digging deeper

Scott Umstattd
FCBA media coordinator

I continue to find myself more and more impressed with this group of riders. Not only are their bodies enduring but their minds remain sharp and focused on the mission at hand.

This morning during devotions, Megan East challenged all of us to work harder at fundraising. It’s easy to roll in to the next church and collapse on the floor or look for a bike shop or to search for the ever-elusive milk shakes. Megan reminded us that while there is a time and place for shakes and sleep, we must remain diligent, keeping a keen focus on why we are all ultimately here – to help rid the world of housing that is not fit for God’s children. Thank you Meg for having the courage to speak up. We have heard you and will dig deeper within ourselves to find another nearby church to speak at, to pass out more flyers in our search for milk shakes and brake parts. We will take every opportunity presented to us to not just Bike and Build, but to Speak as well.

Speaking of speaking, we arrived in Limon, CO this afternoon and were greeted by Reverend Carrie West and a handful of other members of the United Methodist Church of Limon. The church opened its arms to our riders, even though we arrived several hours earlier than expected. (Something about the lack of mountain passes and hail storms allowed us to pick up our pace.) After we were driven to the high school to take much needed showers, we had the opportunity and time to see Limon. Riders walked and rode their bikes around town (to find milk shakes) and to spread the word about the amazing work that the Fuller Center for Housing is doing in the U.S. and around the world.

We were fortunate to arrive on a Wednesday night. Wednesday night is potluck night at Limon United Methodist. Potluck equals Jackpot for our bellies and bodies. After consuming way too much home cooking, we adjourned into the sanctuary where our FCBA team had a chance to talk to church and community members about our ride and the Fuller Center for Housing. We have a very talkative group and presenting several of us with a microphone to talk about our adventure was an opportunity we could not pass up. With little notice ahead of time, three of our riders addressed an attentive audience.

Patrick Smith talked about the challenges and successes of fundraising for this trip. Patrick is joined on this trip by his brother, The Amazing Blake Smith! and their close friend Martha Joslyn (Martha rejoined the riding group today after being out for two weeks recovering from a sharp cut below her knee. Way to go Martha!!). Patrick engaged the audience with his usual wit and demeanor that we have come to understand and love. He moved his audience from laughter to thought provoking detail about the amount of work these three riders from Virginia did to raise the $3,600 (apiece!) needed to participate in the Fuller Center Bike Adventure. Emphasizing the need to continually raise funds for the Fuller Center’s mission – check.

Krystal Goodwin, fresh off arriving first to the church (the first time Tandem Nation has done this) spoke about the personal journey she experienced from her first FCBA ride in 2009 where she met a pretty cool guy that she ended up marrying right before this year’s trip. Together Krystal and Michael Tiemeyer are Tandem Nation. Krystal and Michael are riding across the country on a tandem bike for their honeymoon. Top that Prince and Princesses of the world!!

Krystal spoke about an 80 year old homeowner she met on her first FCBA ride. A tree had fallen on her home and for months she did not have the means to fix her shattered roof. Whenever the rains came, she would grab a bag, put it over her head and wait for the rains to subside-her only means of staying dry in her own home. The Fuller Center became aware of her situation and Krystal with a team of volunteers worked to repair her roof as part of the Fuller Center’s Greater Blessing program. Krystal was moved by this experience and she touched members of Limon Methodist Church with her honest retelling of this success story. Eliciting an emotional response from personal story telling – check.

Tom Weber rounded out our group of speakers at tonight’s presentation. Tom was injured in our van crash that occurred before the FCBA even began. Tom spoke to the church about his recovery and strong desire to rejoin our group. An inspiring story in and of itself. But Tom took it a step further and explained how he has been able to enjoy 45 years of marriage. It all starts with, "Yes, dear." "You are right, dear." Words of wisdom from our most seasoned rider. Tom capped off his time with the microphone and spoke to the energy and drive of the younger members (that includes everyone else on the trip – sorry Tom) taking part in this year’s Bike Adventure. Tom assured the church members, our new friends, that if this young group of riders were any indication as to what the next generation was bringing to the table, we were in good hands. Speaking of the future with certainty and assurance – check.

Like I said, I continue to be impressed, amazed, sometimes confused, but always in awe of what these riders accomplish on a daily basis. Their bodies are beaten and bruised yet they push through the pain each morning when we wake up. Their minds are sharp and they fully understand the importance that each push of the pedal provides for those that are less fortunate. I am honored to be around such greatness. I know that their greatness and endurance is rubbing off on those we meet everyday. I am a better person simply being near them.

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