My Second Home - Day Three - Hope Ride 19
I am back in Africa again, my second home… back to the bush, and the dust, and people who have made a significant impact in my life. I love it here because love is here. But I don’t love the wind so much, and the night wind on thatch was like a threat whispered low, “headwinds are waiting – get ready to suffer.” The wind also foretold a change. This morning that change was evident in a warm and steady breeze. Though we are at the end of the South African winter, the temperatures suddenly turned warm – unseasonably warm! Our plans and preventative preparations for cold morning riding are out the window. We stopped just short of ninety degrees this afternoon. It’s going to be hot when we take leave of the Waterberg Mountains – hotter when we cross the Chobe in Botswana – hotter still crossing the Caprivi Neck in Namibia – and Zambia could be a smoker if the weather doesn’t shift.
Our day followed a practiced pattern for Hope Ride teams. Breakfast at sunrise was followed by a drive out into the farm (game reserve) where we spotted Impala, Nyala, Eland, Giraffe, Warthogs, Sable, Waterbuck, Blesbok, Wildebeest, Kudu, Baboon, and Ostrich. Strangely absent were the Zebra that roam these 2500 acres in substantial numbers. We then organized our team in assembling bicycles, sent a shopping team into the nearest town for supplies, organized the bike and cargo trailers, mixed NBS hydration formula (thanks Breakthrough Nutrition), prepared our daily ready-bags, connected with new and old friends, and enjoyed a wonderful braai (cookout) around a roaring fire after sunset.
Change and improvement is ongoing here at the Reaching a Generation base. Excellence, passion, and joy continue to drive the multi-faceted ministries that are now flowing far beyond South African borders to bring life and hope to the children. In this part of the continent, those under fourteen years of age will soon be the majority of the population. If you want to reach Africa, you had better reach the children… and so… we ride.
The epic nature of our cycling adventure sparks generosity in the hearts of donors. I am amazed by the interest and involvement that follows a simple bike ride. The gravity of the need draws resources to the table. You cannot see what we see here without being moved… and we hope to move people to action by telling the story. The people engaged in Hope Ride are forever changed for the experience. Shared suffering forges bonds that are unique and enduring. Our suffering, as riders, cannot even begin to compare to the sufferings of every-day people who struggle for survival… or under devastating effects of poverty, but our struggle helps alleviate theirs and that shapes our prayers.
We are praying tonight. We are praying for strength, safety, and following winds. We are praying for our friends and families so far away, and yet so near. We are praying for our partners here, and the children waiting at ride’s end. And we pray for those awesome moments when God’s presence deepens our love for Him, sharpens our sense of purpose, and enlarges our hearts of compassion. Tomorrow we plan to ride one hundred miles, but we really don’t know what tomorrow will bring… only that we are moving by the guidance of an unseen hand and in the tender care of the One who rides the wings of the wind.