Fighting Poverty Sea to Sea

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By now you’ve probably heard about Sea to Sea 2008, the upcoming bike tour across North America. My wife, Linda, and I recently made a leap of faith (or foolishness) and agreed to join the last leg of the journey. We’ll be biking from Grand Rapids, Mich., to Liberty Island, New Jersey.

I must confess that neither my body nor my mind has completely acclimated to that decision, but emotionally I am fully engaged. More than 200 women and men have signed on, making this perhaps the largest single bike tour to ever take place from coast to coast. Well over half the cyclists (129) are planning to bike the entire 6,000 kilometers (3,750 miles). What is truly amazing is that each cyclist has committed to raising $10,000 to help alleviate poverty around the world. If they attain their goal, the total raised will be nearly $1.3 million. Factor in the additional $4,000 committed by each of those who are riding the shorter segments only, and we will raise more than $1.6 million dedicated to making a difference in the world.

So why would more than 200 people give up summer vacations to cycle across North America? I suppose the answer to that is as varied and unique as the cyclists themselves. If you are curious about their motivation, you can read each cyclist’s story on the Sea to Sea website (www.seatosea.org).

I have a number of reasons for participating. From the start, I was enthusiastic about the possibility of a binational ride. I had the privilege of meeting the 2005 Sea to Sea riders in Halifax, Nova Scotia. I saw and felt the excitement and enthusiasm of those who gathered at the end of the ride. I heard stories of church members who “traveled” along with the cyclists by way of Internet connections. I listened to reports from worshipers who gathered each Sunday with the participants. I read the Pumped devotional each day of the journey. Seeing what this one event has done for churches across Canada convinced me that the entire Christian Reformed Church could experience that same enthusiasm.

I also really like to cycle. For a number of years Linda and I rode our tandem bike throughout North America and even made a trip through the Netherlands. The world looks very different from the seat of a bicycle. People are friendlier, scenery is brighter, and time slows down. Cycling is simply a delightful way to see the world. And when you combine that pleasurable experience with the work of raising a biblical awareness of poverty, you can’t beat it.

I am riding to do what I can to raise awareness, in the CRC and beyond, of the needs of the world’s poor. In my work I’ve seen poverty up close, and it’s an incredibly complex challenge. My contribution to Sea to Sea may not directly impact a child in an impoverished country like Chad, but it will support the work of organizations such as the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee, Christian Reformed World Missions, Partners Worldwide, and others.

These agencies, and the Christian Reformed Church as a whole, can make a difference. One-and-a-half-million dollars can impact poverty. Caring people can change the lives of the poor and hurting around the world.

You can help. The Sea to Sea cyclists need your support. They need your encouragement, your prayers, and your contributions. Take a few minutes to visit the Sea to Sea website, where you can find the names of cyclists and their supporting churches.

Thanks for reading! I look forward to your support and participation.

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