This time last week we had driven to Livingston eager for the Cycle of Service bike ride to begin. Nine of us arrived and were hosted by Livingston UMC for an incredible dinner with some very special guests. Two work teams, a disaster team from Jasper, GA, and a traditional home repair and day camp team from Goshen, Indiana (Beulah UMC) had joined us. Reverend Wilson Kendrick served as our key note speaker and talked about how God uses us to become His miracles and how each of us play a role in service. Also sitting in our midst was Ms. Allie Brown and her family who joined us for dinner. Ms. Allie’s home was devastated by Hurricane Katrina and now she was finally receiving help and encouraging all of our workers. It was a great night and inspired us all for the challenge which faced us. We were grateful for the ARM staff in Livingston for helping put this together!
As a snapshot, the first day, five of our riders completed a Century ride actually riding 112 miles from Livingston to the state line in Cuba and then onto Selma. We were grateful for the help of Memorial UMC who hosted us that evening and the National Guard armory that provided showers and ice. The other riders were shuttled to the state line in Cuba and launched from there. Our ride was 88 miles!
On the second day we rode from Selma to Montgomery; a shorter but “hillier” ride. Our destination this time was Montgomery FUMC where we were met by our friend, Nathan Atwood, who hooked us up with a great lunch and more importantly, an afternoon mission. That afternoon, we helped load a horse trailer full of supplies heading to Cordova. This included bottled water, diapers, food, mattresses, and other furniture items. I believe the mattresses were a bit sobering as we thought about families not having beds any longer…it made the Cycle of Service meaningful and purposeful. That night we were hosted by St. Mark UMC in Montgomery who provided dinner, breakfast, and a place to sleep!
Day three started bright and early. Our legs were cramped by now, our “seat” sore, and most of us sunburned despite the constant lathering of sunscreen. But it was going to be a fun filled day-our goal to reach the state line in Georgia would be achieved. We left St. Mark UMC and arrived at the Tuskegee parsonage in record time. The ARM board of directors and ARM Tuskegee staff greeted us with lots of great treats and ice cold drinks. Family members began to arrive to cheer on their riders and participate in the family portion of the ride. Soon we were off to Phenix City. The first part of our ride was a scenic county road that would have been perfect except for all the hills-it was a real challenge. Highway 80 was a smooth ride but busy with Sunday afternoon traffic. It seemed to go on forever! But finally, we reached the signs of Phenix City and the beginning of the end. As we raced toward the Chattahoochee River and the bridge the anticipation continued to arrive-and then there they were! The welcome party of Epworth UMC from Phenix City and our friends from St. Mark UMC of Columbus cheered, yelled, and clapped as we came through. Three hard days of cycling, an afternoon of serving, and many times of reflecting now completed-but in many cases just beginning.
Nine riders committed to sharing the love of Christ through home repair and other forms of service. The impact of making a difference in someone’s life one family at a time. And new friendships built! And the fundraising part-you helped us raise over $12,000 towards this effort which also includes tornado relief! We are so blessed and encouraged as more homes can be repaired and more families served in Christ’s name so that they can give glory to God through our small and humble deeds! Thank you again for all you continue to do to support and grow the ministry of ARM in our state!
Grace and peace-see you on the ride next year!