By Allen Slabaugh
2012 FCBA Trip Leader
This weekend has truly been a great weekend. The people here in Tabernacle, New Jersey have just been absolutely wonderful to us and have made us feel right at home. These two days off from biking have been much needed after we’ve pedaled close to 450 miles this past week. Yesterday we got to experience our first build of the trip and build days are always very exciting to me because it’s when you get to see and experience first-hand the reason why you are riding. It reenergizes you after a long week of riding to get back out there and keep pedaling. All the pain, tough climbs, early wake-ups, and sleeping on the floor are all more than worth it when you get to meet the families of the homes the Fuller Center is working on and get to see how much it means to them.
We had the opportunity to meet Justin who suffers from Friedreich ataxia a rare disease that is passed down through families that affects the muscles and heart. This disease slowly gets worse and causes problems performing everyday activities. Most patients need to use a wheelchair within 15 years of the disease’s start. Our task for the day was to get a bathroom/bedroom addition framed in for Justin who is now in a wheelchair and needs things to be handicap accessible. We were able to help get the New Jersey Pines Fuller Center off to a great start by getting the floor laid, the walls up and sheeted, and the rafters in. Justin seemed to be very happy with the work that was done today and was getting very excited at the thought of his new room as he started to think about what color he wants to have it painted.
After the build we had a get together with the local Fuller Center board at one of their homes. We enjoyed some more wonderful food, had a huge bonfire and just had the opportunity to relax and enjoy each other’s company. It’s hard to believe that we all met just one week ago. Over the course of this first week the group has really formed a close bond with one another and lifelong friendships are being developed.
Today we split up between two churches and had a chance to share with them what we were doing and what the Fuller Center is all about. I always enjoy getting the chance to visit different churches and seeing how they worship and getting to meet the people who attend there.
Today also marks the end of segment 1 so we unfortunately have to say our good-byes to a few riders who we’ve gotten to know so well over the past week. But what I’ve found over the past couple of Bike Adventures is you really never see each other for the last time. This common bond of service and the Fuller Center seems to have a way of making you cross paths on future builds and rides.
This weekend has once again reminded me that this ride is not about me and the miles I’m pedaling but it’s about something more, something greater than myself. It’s about the relationships you form with fellow riders and people you meet along the way. It’s also about putting your faith into action and helping a fellow brother or sister who is in need of a hand-up. This has been a very special ride so far with a wonderful group of riders and I’m very excited to see what God has in store for us the next four weeks.