What a difference a year makes – By Beverly Black
Beverly Black is the Fuller Center’s Director of Donor Development. She’s been planning a huge shindig for the Bike Adventure’s finale in New Orleans. Check out the details here.
A year ago, I took my first trip to Americus, Ga. at the request of Tamara Danel who participated in the last leg of the 2009 Bike Adventure. I am remembering the pool of orange jerseys coming up the hill as they neared The Fuller Center office building. A waving and shouting crowd high-fived the riders as they rode through the parking lot. I was blessed to spend time getting to know the cyclists by enjoying a fun evening meal with them at the home of Linda Fuller, hearing their many stories about how their lives had been changed because of their participation and commitment to a cause greater than themselves. Stories of the lives of the homeowners whose hearts were uplifted after they completed work on their dilapidated homes in need of repair for years, friendships that were made, and yes even new found love that led to the engagement of two 2009 ride alums Krystal and Mike. I got to see firsthand how impactful of an event this was and it made me want to be a part of this great work.
Last year I was a spectator interested in finding out more about The Fuller Center for Housing. This year I get to be a part of this great bike journey across America as a staff member and help spearhead the fundraising efforts by securing a corporate sponsorship with GEICO (with the GECKO in tow of course).
As I reflect back on that day, I am still inspired by the amount of courage it takes to go the distance to complete the ride. In fact this past Friday, I met the 2010 team and they are an amazing group of folks. Again hearing uplifting stories about their experiences along the route, and how being a part of the Bike Adventure was a way for them to give back and help those in need, stirred up my spirit to do more. This morning the group split up and attended worship service at six different churches in Americus and had the opportunity to share some words about the ride and the ministry. The day ended with the annual evening meal hosted by Linda Fuller. It gives them a moment to take a break before working on a duplex in Americus Monday morning. Yep back to work! A good night’s sleep Monday evening and onward due west to Tallahassee, Fla.
Each mile peddled is a movement that leads to changing a life somewhere in the world. This Bike Adventure is not about recreation it is truly ministry in motion! The ride is nearing its last few days and on to the big finish in my hometown of New Orleans! On Aug. 6 the riders along with the Northshore Fuller Center, will do their last work project in Belle Chasse, La. at the home of Delores Black who lost her home during hurricane Katrina.
Delores is how God sent me to The Fuller Center. She is my mother, and we, like so many families after the storm, had some minimal funds, owned our own land, and had a hard time finding a contractor who would help us rebuild an affordable modest home. I searched, prayed and traveled from my home in Atlanta interviewing contractors with a friend of mine who is an architect. However at the end of 3.5 years of trying with no contractor in sight, I was just about to give up and I was led to call The Fuller Center and tell them our story (I was not on staff at the time). God made the connection, Charlie Park with The Fuller Center in Webster, La. patiently listened, the Northshore Fuller Center saw the need, a building plan was put in motion, volunteers came from across the country to work on the project, and on the evening of Aug. 6 the riders will take part in the dedication of Mama Black’s new house with family, Fuller Center staff, and friends.
There’s still time to help the riders meet their $250,000 goal. Click here to get them $10, $50 or $1,000 closer!
Oyee to all riders. Some of you are looking like you spent 40 years wondering where your razor is!! Kyle maybe your luck with change with the unlucky number 13. (I did have 3 flats in a 40 mile ride last Sunday.) I think about you riders a lot (Kelli too!!) and hope that you stay well with the remainder of the trip. Being a part of the trip was one of the more meaningful activities that I have done this year. Tom
This morning I’m reading the accounts of the 2010 FCBA to take the next steps in preparing myself to join the ride for the final segment. Beverly’s journey of discovery and the blessing it is bringing to her mother is a story of faith in action, a story of how God’s love gives us strength to be patient, to persevere and to trust that if we give our troubles over to God he will show us the way. I am so excited to be reunited with Ivan (we met this spring in Kansas City) and Ryan (we met at the CP conference) and to meet everyone else on the 2010 Bicycle Adventure! Thank you, Beverly, for sharing your story, and thank you to all the riders for sharing your stories. See you on August 1st!