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Bikes, Birds, and Prayer

Ride for Missions is an annual fund-raising bicycle ride supporting the work of Rosedale Mennonite Missions. This past February, a group of 23 individuals participated in the first-ever Ride for Missions Florida, which has raised $19,210 in support of missions. Below is a cool story from one of the riders.
By Gary Helmuth

The words of Wayne Yoder (RFM Summer Coordinator) were freshly impressed on my mind as I set out on my bicycle from the restaurant in Winter Garden for the first day of our three-day ride. He had reminded us again as he had before on our RFM rides, that we are going out as missionaries – not just to raise funds for the professionals. Scott Kauffman (RFM Florida Coordinator) had challenged us the night before to look for opportunities to love, listen, discern, and respond to the people crossing our path.

So as I was enjoying the West Orange Trail and the beautiful crisp morning air, I noticed out of the corner of my eye a huge bird (an osprey maybe?) doing a spread-eagle 90-degree turn off to my left. As I was slowing down to observe (yes I do stop to smell the roses), I stopped right beside John, who was walking his dog and observing the same thing. “What is in his beak – a snake or a branch?”

I went with the snake as it seemed to hold more interest. We watched as it drifted out of view. We began talking – Donald Trump, Hillary, Obama, the school system, his stint with the army for 20 years in Brazil, another ten working for Hillary in the state department in Brazil, his 15-year-old daughter, his three-year-old special needs son James. I see another discipling relationship happening as Maddi and her mom Missy glide by.

His body language suggested the conversation was close to over as he had slowly shifted from my front right to my rear right as I straddled my bike. But then he began to talk about how his son needed him fulltime, and how his Latina wife in the States who mothered his 15-year-old daughter forbad him to take his son to visit his Latina mother in Brazil. He feels guilty because his son needs his birth mother, but he wants to be with his daughter in the States as well. He is back together with his daughter’s mother, but it’s really only because of his daughter. By this time he had again shifted to my right front.

So I listened. I tried to discern how I could be his friend. I responded by saying that certainly his life faced many difficult challenges. “Tell you what – there is a God in heaven who knows all about these kinds of things – would you be up for prayer?”

“I sure do need his guidance – sure”

So I offered a simple prayer of guidance and strength to deal with the challenges he faces every day.

I didn’t pray the sinner’s prayer with John, but I think he met Jesus. I invested a little, he responded with some degree of vulnerability, and I believe the power of God touched his life…

Gary hails from Sarasota, Florida, attends Bethel Mennonite Church, and this was his fifth ride with RFM.

Join us for the 11th annual Ride for Missions!

This years ride will take place July 30 to August 3, 2016, and travel through parts of Delaware, Maryland, and Virginia. To learn more or register, visit: rfm.rmmweb.org