Bike for Bibles

Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride, Part 6 (Day 5)

Today was the most arduous day of the ride.  We knew this coming in:  the organizers I worked with probably wrestled over the route for today more than any other on the whole journey.  From Stirling to Millbrook, we had to traverse the Oak Ridges Moraine, among other topographical phenomena, and the hills were steep and numerous – really numerous.  Our riders were ready, however, and they met the task well.  I had more company in the “sag wagon” (the vehicle with the bike trailer at the back of the pack) than usual, but with the heat, humidity, and hills, some riders just needed a break.  (One of our young riders managed to sleep at some length on the floor of my van, which is testimony to how tired he really was!)

A Roman Catholic youth group hosted us in the canal-side park in Campbellford.  This was a helpful break for the riders, and a chance to learn that the design of the original Toonie (Canada’s two-dollar coin) was created by someone from Campbellford.

We visited Roseneath United Church for lunch, and were blessed with their hospitality – they even had balloons out for us!  Shortly after lunch, we took some colourable Scripture selections and stories to the Child Care Centre at the Alderville First Nation.  The children sang a song with us, and we had a good laugh together.  These two stops were a welcome break from the hills!

Other than the loss of a cell phone at the Bewdley waterfront (on the west shore of Rice Lake) on our afternoon break, the day was uneventful.  I was struck, however, at the use of the spiritual gift of encouragement among our riders.  From the back of the pack, I saw stronger riders come back to help the slower ones by riding alongside them, pushing their backs so that they can get that extra little burst of energy.  It was truly moving.  (See the fuzzy cell phone photo above.)

We are being billeted tonight; several families from the churches of the town of Millbrook are hosting us.  It began with a pot luck supper at Millbrook Christian Assembly, the local Pentecostal Church.  (As a Calvinist, the only kind of ‘luck’ in which I believe is ‘pot luck’, and these folks made sure I remain a believer!)  One particularly hospitable family opened up part of their fence so that our motor home could be parked on the back lawn!  And thanks to another neighbour who chooses not to secure his or her router, I am able to blog tonight before bedding down.

The gifts of encouragement and hospitality have been evident in huge ways this week.  God has been, and is, so good.

Tomorrow, we head for Bobcaygeon, via the Peterborough Lift Lock and Lakefield.  We look forward to a somewhat ‘flatter’ day!

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Encouragement From The Word

Pedalling For a Purpose

We started out early last Monday morning from Lindsay, spending nights in Cobourg, Picton, Kingston, and tonight, Stirling.  Tomorrow, we head for Millbrook, then Bobcaygeon, and finally, back to Lindsay.  In total, our riders will have ridden their bicycles over 700 km, through some very beautiful terrain, and through all kinds of summer weather – though mostly hot, sunny weather.

 

            These riders – more than twenty of them, ranging in age from 12 to 78 – have pedalled hard uphill and coasted downhill, sweating and squinting and getting grease “tattoos” on their calves from their bicycle chains.  Why?

 

            Because they believe in the Bible cause.  Specifically, they believe in the value of the work of the Canadian Bible Society as it seeks to translate, publish, distribute, and encourage the use of Scripture throughout Canada, Bermuda, and around the world.

 

            This year, our riders have raised money to provide a Bible partnership with church ministries that offer English as a second language classes across the country.  I’ve been working with the Southern Ontario Cooperative of ESL Ministries (southern-ontario-esl-ministries.blogspot.com) to craft the most appropriate Bible format and choice of translation for use with those who are new to Canada.  It’s an exciting venture.

 

            It used to be the ministry of the Canadian Bible Society to provide a Bible to every person who became a Canadian citizen at citizenship court.  Some years ago, we were denied that privilege by the government, and since then, we’ve been trying to figure out how to reach out to new Canadians with the Word of God by some other means.  The ESL partnership seemed the perfect opportunity, especially since it often reaches people in the first few months they are in the country – perhaps the time they are most open to receiving the gospel.

 

            Our riders recite every day – more than once, usually – the motto that spurs them on:  THROUGH OUR SPOKES, GOD SPEAKS.  Because of the work these cyclists are doing, and the help they are receiving from our roadies, the Word of the Lord is going to reach more and more hearts.  And with some 400,000 people emigrating to Canada last year, and the number expected to increase in future years, the need will be great.

 

            [T]hose who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint” (Isaiah 40.31, NLT).  They also will ride their bicycles for the glory of God, and achieve their goal.

 

            If you would like to give toward the Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride cause, please click here.  You can follow my daily journal entries about Bike for Bibles on my blog.

 

            Our riders love support.  If you would like to come to Millbrook on Friday, Bobcaygeon on Saturday, or Lindsay on Sunday to cheer them on, please join us.  Email me if you need details on the route.  I’ll be happy to point it out to you. 

 

            God’s best!  I trust that through whatever you do – riding, walking, driving, breathing – God will speak through it to you and to others.

Bike for Bibles

Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride, Part 5 (Day 4)

Today, our riders and roadies left Kingston for the town of Stirling, north of Belleville, via such places as Napanee, Deseronto, and Foxboro.  Once again, we saw some great scenery, part of God’s magnificent creation.  As has happened on many days before, in every town we pass through, people would stop and smile and wave as the “parade” passed by.  It’s been a real blessing to watch folks as we go along the route.

 

The highlight of our day was our lunch break at Her Majesty’s Chapel Royal of the Mohawks on the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, outside Deseronto.  This Anglican parish is one of the oldest in Canada, dating back to the time just after the American Revolution, when Mohawk people, who were loyalists, came across Lake Ontario and settled in Upper Canada.  Historically, Mohawks have been particularly loyal to the Crown, and so churches such as this one and the one at the Six Nations in Brantford have been named Chapels Royal.

 

The hospitality we received from the Priest and people of the congregation was top-notch.  We got several good history lessons in the process, learning about gifts given by British royalty – such as communion ware still used today! – and how Christian liturgy and some traditional Native worship practices converge.

 

At the end of the presentation, I asked the Rector, The Rev. Brad Smith, whether there was a particular Christian song often associated with the Anglican worship of the Mohawks.  He said that there were no peculiar hymns, but that each year, when they give thanks in commemoration of the landing of the Mohawks in Upper Canada, they annually sing The Battle Hymn of the Republic.  I offered to play it for those who wished to sing along, in solidarity with the Mohawk people.  We raised the roof off the more than century-old church building as we celebrated the glory of God and the reconciliation of God with us, and of white Canadians with First Nations.

 

The day was a very hot one, and sticky.  We arrived in Stirling very grateful for the gift of a shower!  Each rider and roadie was taken to the home of a member of St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church, who offered us this gift with kindness and humility – along with a great supper!

 

Once again, the Lord has blessed us mightily.  Thank you for your prayers.

Bike for Bibles

Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride, Part 4 (Day 3)

Today – Wednesday – was another great day for B4B.  We were set to leave the Free Methodist Church in Picton at 0800, when a thunderstorm rolled in.  We checked the Environment Canada Website, and our expert leader believed that the storm would pass quickly.  So, we waited for about an hour, and departed Picton on wet roads but with no precipitation.

We toured Prince Edward County’s east side, seeing many vineyards, farms, orchards, and historic church buildings as we travelled.  Our morning break was at the Black River Cheese Company, a neat little place that sold great cheese and great ice cream (though I was good and indulged in neither – too early in the day!).  From there we toured the County until we stopped for lunch at Lake on the Mountain Park.  This is a phenomenon not to be missed; a lake, seemingly without anything feeding it, sits on a hill quite a distance above Lake Ontario.  Here, we had an impromptu visit from a reporter from the local newspaper.

After lunch, we descended the hill to the Glenora Ferry, operated by the Ministry of Transportation as part of Highway 33, the Loyalist Parkway.  From the Ferry, we stopped at the historic Hay Bay Church, which was settled in 1792 as a Methodist mission for the United Empire Loyalists, who had moved to Canada in sympathy with the British after the American Revolution.  A member of the overseeing Board, now run by the Bay of Quinte Conference of the United Church of Canada, gave us a fine and interesting lecture on the history of the church.  It was an especially enjoyable stop for one of our riders, whose great uncle had been a student minister in that congregation many years ago.  Now, it is used as an historic site, and one service is held each year.

From Hay Bay, we came to Edith Rankin United Church in Collins Bay, on the west side of Kingston.  The church is situated on the shore of Lake Ontario.  We enjoyed our supper, and our evening worship gathering, overlooking the lake.  The Associate Minister of the congregation treated us to a communion service, which was a real blessing for us all.

Tomorrow, we will head back west, stopping at the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, whose Anglican parish has proven to be a great friend of the Canadian Bible Society.

Thank you for your prayers.  Our riders and roadies continue to be strong and healthy and passionate about their ride and our cause.

Bike for Bibles

Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride, Part 3

Day two of Bike for Bibles Ontario has gone great.  We rode from Cobourg to Picton, taking as many lightly travelled routes as possible – though they are hard to find at this time of year!  A few times, we had to travel along Highway 2 or along Highway 33 (the Loyalist Highway), but more often we travelled along county roads that were quieter.

As the group shared during worship tonight, everyone was marvelling at the gift of human senses.  We all remarked on the beauty we saw, of course – quite a lot of the day was spent along Lake Ontario – but many also remarked on what they could smell!  At one point, we were overwhelmed with the smell of strawberries!  As people who lead harried lives, we are blessed this week to be able to go slowly – cycling does have its limits – and enjoy creation, enjoy relationships, enjoy life.

We have some riders who are experiencing some physical struggles, but almost all are continuing to ride anyway.  Please pray for all, that they may experience physical strength and joy in their riding.

We continue to ask for prayers for safety and good weather.  Feel free to respond to the blog with your comments and your prayers, which I can share with our riders and roadies!

Bike for Bibles

Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride, Part 2

We have, uneventfully once again, arrived in Cobourg and been fed both physically and spiritually.  The Lord has been with us mightily.  The folks at the Church on the Hill have treated us royally, and we are grateful – and now, for a good night’s rest!  We get to sleep in:  the riders were so efficient today, we arrived at every stop about an hour ahead of schedule.  So we get to “sleep in” with breakfast at 8.  After tonight’s supper, I don’t think anyone will want to miss breakfast!

Thanks for your prayers!  I hope to post some photos as time allows.  We have a really excellent young photographer as one of our roadies.

Bike for Bibles

Bike for Bibles Ontario Ride, Part 1

Today, the Canadian Bible Society’s Bike for Bibles Ontario ride began.  As time permits, and as wireless networks are available, I will be posting updates on what is happening.

Last night, we gathered in the Salvation Army Citadel in Lindsay, Ontario, to begin our ride.  Riders and roadies from as far away as Windsor and Bracebridge are joining us to raise funds for CBS to provide Scriptures for new Canadians studying English as a Second Language through church ministries across Canada.  We heard a testimony from Klaas Slagter, one of our riders, who is going strong near the front of the pack despite having been diagnosed last fall with prostate cancer.  He was treated very early and rejoices in the Lord at being cancer-free – and riding his bike!

Today, we have (so far) pedalled from Lindsay to Millbrook, without incident.  After lunch, we will climb the Oak Ridges Moraine and begin a slow descent toward Lake Ontario and the town of Cobourg.

Please pray for our riders and roadies, for safety and for good weather.  We are grateful to God to be able to engage in this ministry!