Saturday, September 26, 2015

 Day 8 

Final Day and finally home! What a unbelievable week we have had! So many great sights, memories, trails, roads and miles. New friends, new struggles, new victories and new mercies were found every morning! 

We met this morning for our final breakfast in the community room at Naders Motel in Ludington. (Thank you again this year for your gracious hospitality Naders staff). Diane and Mary Ann cooked eggs, bacon, and french toast. What a way to start the day. We left today not long after the sun came up heading along the lakeshore into Pentwater. 

The Tebos family and friends greeted us along the route with music and cinnamon rolls. Thank you, they were so delicious.  
We rode through Pentwater and into Hart to connect to the trail. We made great time as we were all anxious to get home. The trail  connected in Hart but was closed. We gave it a shot anyway and it worked out well. 

We made a couple quick stops in Shelby and Montague to "refuel" and on into Muskegon. 

As is our tradition on these rides we stop short of our final destination for a picture, prayer and team goodbyes. It is always a sweet time. 

While there in the park, we met a homeless man who was astounded with what we were doing. We gave him a bunch of our leftover break food. 
He was so touched - as were we. 

It was a reminder that this ride is so much more than taking a 700 mile bike ride. It is about doing life together, valuing all life and being Christ to everyone we meet along the way. Unexpected conversations of life, redemption and God's love. That's what this ride was really all about, that is what pregnancy center ministry is all about, that is what Christianity is all about. 

We encourage each of you to go looking this week for unexpected conversations, encounters and opportunities that God puts in your path. 

Thank you to each of you for a great welcome home reception! It was wonderful to honk horns, give hugs necks, share tears and eat together. We thank you for your love and support throughout the week, we could not have done it with out you and our God!

 Ride4Life 2015 - 

So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, (or ride)

do it all for the glory of God.

I Corinthians 10:31

Friday, September 25, 2015

Day 7

Exodus 33:12-17
Moses and God are talking. Moses says, "If you are pleased with me, teach me your ways...The Lord replied, "My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest."
Then Moses said to him, "If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here..."

This was our promise today. His presence would go with us and he would give us rest. Our commitment to him was that we would not go anywhere today without it! 

So off we went in His presence. Leaving Glen Arbor with Ludington as our destination. He did indeed, go with us and at the end of this day, we are resting in Him just as we have done throughout the day.
We left on the Heritage trail through Sleeping Bear National Dunes. Wow! Beautiful and tragic at the same time. Dunes, lakeshore, and forest. 
The forest, however was still so devastated with trees down everywhere from the big tornado that went through back in August. It was a great way to begin the morning as the sun broke through the trees along Glen Lake and the Lake Michigan. 

After a breakfast stop in Empire we began our steady climb up into Arcadia. It was a route filled with steep climb and steep climb. Our reward for the climbs were the great downhills; but those climbs never seemed to end. 

One of the highlights of the day, after pedaling up a 2 mile hill, was the scenic outlook at the top overlooking Arcadia and Lake Michigan. It was absolutely wonderful to see this little refuge. We stopped for a break and once again, met a few people their who were both curious and supportive of what we were doing.

What goes up must come down. As we left the scenic lookout we experienced the longest downhill of the day (one mile). 
Many of us reached speeds of 30-40 mph. Amazing! 

It was not only a day of hills but also one of unseasonably warm temperature. The sun was a blessing (no rain other than on day one) but it did add a little heat to the challenge. No real complaints though, it was a beautiful day overall. 

Quote of the day: "The last hill is not the last hill."

After lunch in Orchard Beach State Park we continued into Manistee for a quick stop at Dairy Queen. We have been talking about ice cream all week and it seemed to be an ideal day to finally indulge. 

On we rode into Ludington, got into the hotel and jumped into the pool. We enjoyed our final meal together in the community room . 

A big thank you goes out to The Bekins for providing us with cheesy potatoes, slaw, pies, and rolls. They were delicious! Mike grilled steaks and chicken and we sat down to our feast. 

Tonight was a night to reflect back on the week, highlights, special moments, conversations shared, lessons learned and new friends made. 

It has been a great week. One more day and approximately 80 more miles. Thank you all - cyclists, SAG, family, friends and supporters! You have made a difference in so many lives in this one short week. Thank you all. 

See you around 4:00 pm Saturday, Sept. 26th at Maranatha Bible and Conference Center for the picnic. 

We are anxious to get home! 

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Day 6
We felt every prayer today! They were needed as we covered many miles and some rough narrow roads. 

It has become a tradition to begin the morning with devotions, prayer and a cheer! 

We left Bellaire climbing a long grade but the plus side of that is the fun downhill that followed. 

Around Torch Lake was peaceful and calm, through Alden along the lake in the sunshine. 

We dropped down into Traverse City and grabbed the bike path all the way up into Suttons Bay. Lunch was in a peaceful setting on the bay after riding about 55 miles.

This is why you pray! 

The last 25 miles were trying and a bit stressful with narrow lanes, crumbing roads and lots of traffic. We ended on a trail into beautiful Glen Arbor. 
We headed across the street to Boone Docks for dinner and met a great couple celebrating a birthday. Happy birthday again and thank you for supporting life! Enjoy your weekend.

After dinner we headed to a beach bards bonfire just a few miles down the road, led by Norm (cousin of Don Wickstra). So much fun. Singing songs, reciting poetry, guitars, trumpets, and other musical instruments. It was a peaceful way to end a long day. Thank you Norm and friends!

We also want to thank Mike for doing such a great job getting BLAKE to our destination each night and for the special trips after dinner! 

We are celebrating the new total of over $70,000 raised by the entire team (team Alma and team LPC). We have become one united team and thank each of you for joining in! It's not too late to add to that amount and become part of the team. 

Please continue your prayers as we enter into day 7. It is another 100 mile day, on a Friday through some busy weekender towns. 

This verse sums up the day!

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Day 5
Another amazing day. Mackinaw to Bellaire:
just over 100 miles. 
We began with another pretty sunrise and devotions from Isaiah 55:9, "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts higher than your thoughts."

The challenge was: How big do you believe God is? The bigger God is to us the bigger He will be in us. So let Him be large in your life today! Watch for Him in creation, in each other, in those we meet along the way and in those who are spurring you on. 

When we look for Him, He is faithful to be found by us! We found Him today in so many ways and places. 
* In the scenery along the Lake Michigan shoreline

* In the woman from Wisconsin who stopped to ask what we were doing and gave $10 to The Ride. She worked at a pregnancy center near Apppleton, WI and was thrilled to cheer us on. 
Thank you! 

* In the prayers that felt so tangible from each of you (or supporters, readers, friends and family). We needed them and love feeling them surrounding us. 

* In the woman from Good Samaritan in Ellsworth who let us set up in the parking lot, use the bathrooms and bless us with her sweet spirit. 

* We saw Him through the Tunnel of Trees - spectacular!

* We saw Him in the Widerness State Park - picturesque!

* We saw Him in the hills, the sky and the weather. The weather is the weather! (ask Don about this quote). The weather has been glorious!

* We saw Him protecting us through every mile on the bikes and in the RV and car. Even after the GPS took BLAKE down a dirt road (Blake is good at backing out of tough spots!) P.S. - so is Mike! 

* We saw Him in each other; encouraging one another when the hills seemed insurmountable, when we got weary, and when this 100-mile-day seemed daunting.

He is definitely a BIG GOD. And as the writer tonight, He was BIG in everyone's life today. I witnessed Him first hand in each team member all day long! 

Each day Mary Ann and the RV SAG team write a verse on our daily Break Board (a scripture or inspirational thought written on a white board at every break). Today one of the verses on the Break Board was from Isaiah 40. It was shared again by Bob at the end of the day, it sums up our day so beautifully. 

We feel it necessary to share it with you tonight: 
Isaiah 40:28-31
"Do you not know? Have you not heard? 
The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and His understanding no one can fathom. He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak. Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; BUT those who hope in the Lord WILL renew their strength. They WILL soar on wings like eagles; they WILL run and not grow weary, they WILL walk and not faint."

We DO know and we HAVE heard! He IS everlasting, our Creator who never tires. We experienced that from Him today.  He GAVE strength and power today through difficult hills and many miles. As we placed our hope in the Lord our strength WAS and is being renewed, we have and will continue to soar like eagles. We will not faint. 

To close tonight we close thanking each of you! 

I Thessalonians 1: 2-3
We always thank God for all of you and continually mention you in our prayers. We remember before our God and Father your work produced by faith, your labor prompted by love, and your endurance inspired by hope in our Lord Jesus Christ!

Thank you all for loving God and each of us, thank you for being part of this team through prayer, support, and encouragement!