Friday, July 11, 2008

Oregon Peaches

A warm welcome by Huntington.
Agatha at work in her roadside beauty parlor.
Adventures of Sweep Team J.
Watermelon thanks to our great sag driver, Walter.
Jenna, Peter, John

Tents are photogenic.

Internet access has been difficult to obtain these last few days. I apologize for the delay in updates.


Yesterday my “sweep team” was on duty, meaning we were responsible for loading and unloading the gear truck, helping with dinner and breakfast, and making sure everyone made it to camp. It turns out to be a fun time, since we are “forced” to go slow and take our time on the ride. For Sweep Team J, this meant spending two hours in a coffee shop before we even left town at 11:00 (which was preceded by applause from various coffee shop patrons—for well wishes I hope, not because they were happy to see us go).

Last night was extremely windy in the small, small town of Huntington, the home of catfish fishing (where you can also still buy penny candy). I took a lot of flack for saying in my zeal, “Penny candy--I’ll buy a few!”

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I wrote this post on Wednesday night:

“Today it is difficult to report on the coffee shops we stopped at, the sights we saw, and the hills we climbed. It is all feeling quite redundant (I may even go as far as to say silly). I’m having a great time for sure, but finding it difficult to deal with the trip’s relevance with the big picture of poverty. At the moment all I’m clinging on to is the fact that we have raised 1.55 million so far. Does that mean the biking is working?

We had a great time of “Wednesday Worship,” led by Hans Doef. Tonight we read through the book of Ruth aloud.”

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It seems as though God directly answered my recent questioning with an encouraging encounter in the grocery store today. I went inside to buy a couple of peaches while Johnny sat outside to watch the bikes. As usual, I struck up a conversation about biking with the produce manager, Jerry (okay, it’s not always the produce manager, but someone who is wondering about my spandex and clanky shoes). He turned out to be extremely passionate about issues involving orphans, widows, and the poor here in Ontario. Not only was I inspired by his passion, but he was encouraged by our mission on the bike trip. He compared us to Ezekiel who lay on his side and fasted prayerfully for 300 and some days for a city in despair (I need to research Ezekiel more fully). He saw us as people who set aside time to pray for those people in need and people like him who have dedicated their lives to helping the afflicted. And he was touched by it.

In this way, Jerry opened my eyes and encouraged me about the mission of this bike trip.

“Will you pray for us?” Jerry asked me. I said that sure I would pray for him while I was biking.

“No, pray now,” he said.

“Oh, okay.”

So we held hands right amidst the peaches and prayed. Jerry wouldn’t let me go until he introduced me to close friends and co-workers of his who were all active in his church.

By the time I got back out to Johnny, he was wondering how in the world I could take so long to pick out 2 peaches. Before we saw the pits of our peaches, we were approached by the owner of the grocery store, Jerry, and a few other workers, who insisted on praying for us and then gave us a dollar bill…a dollar bill wrapped around a 100 dollar bill.

“This never happens to me,” says Johnny.

Me neither.

Its so hard to put this in words, but I hope others are as encouraged by this as I am.

5 comments:

margaret said...

What an amazing story! Know that God goes before you, beside you, behind you, beneath you and above you. And to quote an observation by a friend about encounters of C2C riders with people along the journey, "The Kingdom of God is vast!"

Thanks for spreading the word/Word. Delight in your sabbath rest under the sheltering wings of the Most High God.

Aunt Barb said...

Wow! That is a great story about great people and about the really great God we have. Be assured, I and many other are praying for you and the rest. We are faced with the needs of the poor everyday at Love In the Name of Christ (where I volunteer each week). God bless!
Love, Aunt Barb

Aunt Barb said...

Wow! That is a great story about great people and about the really great God we have. Be assured, I and many other are praying for you and the rest. We are faced with the needs of the poor everyday at Love In the Name of Christ (where I volunteer each week). God bless!
Love, Aunt Barb

Art said...

Isn't it great how God was using you to encourage Jerry, and using Jerry to encourage you! Look how God is working!
We are praying for all the bikers, and that this tour does make a difference in people's lives.
Heather WM (Art Mulder's wife)

Stephanie Jo said...

Laura,

Wow, who knew a story about some peaches and a man named Jerry would leave me a little misty-eyed! What an incredible answer to your prayers. I hope you continue to have great experiences on this amazing adventure you're on.

Love,

Steph