I started today’s ride nearly exhausted from the beating I had taken in the Ozark Mountains the past two days. I wasn’t sure I could make another 80 mtoday old multiple steep climbs so I was a little discouraged. However, it had rained duthey the night and the starting temperature was 20 degrees cooler than it was yesterday so I knew God was with me as I started pedaling. And as usual, I felt at home on the bike once again even with the growing saddle sore and tired legs. Win two and a half hours I pedaled into Bismarck, MO which meant that every mile thereafter would be banked for next week. To celebrate I decided to take a break and eat me sandwich that Dorothy makes for me every day of the ride.
As I was getting out of the car to start riding again a man came to our car and introduced himself as Jim. He wanted to meet Pastor Eric and find out about the ride for diapers (we have a logo on the car that he read). Pam gave Jim a business card as I described the need many families have for diapers. He gave me $10.00 because he said he would otherwise just spend it on another lottery ticket. I thought this was interesting since I had just blogged about tithing yesterday. Jim told us that he had been convicted to begin paying tithe and thought he should give this money to me. As we talked I learned that Jim, who is 46 years old, is recently unemployed as is his wife, Shannon. What’s worse is that Shannon’s stepfather just died. So she is now in Florida for 3 weeks to help her mother with this tragedy. I prayed with Jim asking God to lead him to a job, a deeper spiritual walk, wisdom, and courage to face the challenges in life. We said our good-byes and I pedaled away. Pam stayed there for another 15 minutes and as she was ready to leave Jim came back to our call to tell her he had justbeen offered a job. He was ecstatic. Two hour later when I stopped at the car to get resupplied Pam told me about Jim’s job.
With Jim’s story in my mind I finished the ride with a flourish going further than I thought possible. Today’s ride ended up being one of the most enjoyable and invigorating of the trip. Before I met Jim I was tempted to think ill of Missouri residents in this part of the state as many drivers made me feel unwanted by their gestures and horn blowing. I saw Confederate flags in yard after yard making wonder if I am still fighting battles that are long past. But Jim gave me a different perspective and reminded me once again that this ride is about connecting with others one person at a time.
So I challenge us all to avoid stereotypes, be ready to meet others where they are, listen to God, and practice intercessory prayer because it works. Just ask Jim!
Ride Stats: Total Miles- 81.8 Elev Gain- 4,419 ft Avg Speed- 11.4 mph Avg HR – 113