Seattle to Portland! 200 miles…two days! Or more accurately, 200 miles over the course of 30 hours. There’s a great sense of accomplishment in long distance/endurance events. At 47 years old, it means even more, especially compared to an acquaintance at my local gym where we train at the 9am Saturday spin class. He’s ten years younger than me and fit. He also did the StP but somewhere between Centralia and Portland he boarded an Amtrak train with his bike and “rode” to the finish line.
As fun as it is to come away with bragging rights, the real joy of my ride was who I was riding for. I rode for the thousands of World Vision kids who live in Buhoma, Tanzania. It was my first ride in support for someone else and for something more than my personal enjoyment. I also made a personal commitment to “pray without ceasing” (1 Thess. 5:17) during the 200 miles for the community development efforts in Buhoma.
Praying for clean water was routinely interrupted with more selfish thoughts like, “I could use some ice-cold water right now!” Praying for sustainable agricultural practices was routinely interrupted by the thought, “I can’t wait for dinner tonight.” In other words, I found it difficult to stay focused. Thankfully before we left that morning, I stopped by Haydon Mar’s home to pick up his son Lucas (his first time cycling StP and for Buhoma). Haydon asked to pray for us before we left and one petition he voiced stuck in my mind:
God, let every mile they ride, be one less mile that someone in Buhoma has to walk for clean water.
Powerful, right?! Concise and full of God’s vision. Whenever I felt myself losing focus while praying – which was often – I just went back to Haydon’s prayer. Besides being concise and full of vision, it was emotional as I kept recalling research I came across just a few months ago concerning women, girls and water collection in Africa.
Water holes are not the welcoming, safe oasis I had naively pictured. At least 17 million women and girls in Africa collect water every day, which increases their risk of sexual abuse, disease and dropping out of school, according to a study by the Milken Institute School of Public Health at The George Washington University. Since they often need to walk long distances to find water, women and children are at a higher risk of rape, sexual abuse, kidnapping, child labor, teen pregnancy and a host of health issues.
So yes, God, we give and pray for safe water and safe access to clean water. No child should have to put their lives at risk just to get water.
I want to thank everyone who donated to me and our SCAC cycle team. Having you personally support me and our team greatly encouraged us and provided a level of welcome accountability for our training, preparation and prayer for the ride. Thank you for giving towards the vision of one less mile vulnerable women and children need to walk for clean water.
“And if, as my representatives, you give even a cup of cold water to a little child, you will surely be rewarded.”– Matthew 10:42