Sunday, September 25, 2016

Day Three 2016

The morning greeted us with a chill but we were ready to ride our final day. After breakfast, prayer and a devotion we reminisced a little and shed a few tears. We ride for such an important reason and the realization of this hit us this morning. 
We are so grateful to be a part touching lives by riding a bike. We ride so that those working in the centers, schools and churches, can continue to love people as they face difficult decisions regarding their pregnancy. We all play a role and ours is to Ride for Life!  We are honored. 
 Thank you all who have "ridden" with us in prayer, support, text, emails and filling in the gaps while we were gone. 
 The sun was trying to break through the clouds as we left and got onto Oceana Drive heading toward Hart and preparing to hit the bike trail.

We were on a mission to get back home to our family and friends but wanted to take in every moment of this day. We chatted, dodged porcupines and various road kill, pointed out more flocks of turkeys and loved when the sun finally broke through.

Garry and Kelly were our protectors on the road. We thank you both for your leadership, joy and steady pace!  

We jumped onto the trail in Hart. We were thankful to get off the road and out of the headwind we had been fighting all morning. 

We stopped for a quick break in Shelby and then on into Montague where Diane had lunch waiting for us. We were very well taken care of by one another. It is amazing how quickly a group of eight people can become such a great team in three days. You all rock! 

Just before arriving to see our families we stopped for just a few minutes to prayer together and say a tearful goodbye, knowing that once we get back - family becomes the priority! We love all that came out today to cheer us in. What an amazing greeting! More tears and a little more ice cream. Then loaded up our cars and went on home to shower and rest. 

As of today, this team and all of you reading this, have raised close to $17,000 in three days. Thank you from every mom, dad and child! Thank you from every staff and board member, and thank you from the bottom of each of our hearts. We could not have done it without you. We would love to see the total reach at least $25,000 this year. If you are moved to give, please do's not too late. 

Again, we thank you all and go team Ride4Life 2016. I am so proud of you all!!

Garry, Diane, Kelly, Shelley, Carolyn, Cindy, Mary Ann, Staci - Your Ride4Life Team!!

Saturday, September 24, 2016

The morning greeted us us with a gorgeous sunrise followed by breakfast burritos and other power food to send us off for a day of riding. Each morning we meet for devotions and prayer in the parking lot and today we were honored to meet Jeremy Smith, the Track and Field coach at Spring Arbor University. After witnessing our time of devotions and prayer he introduced himself and asked who we were. We told him what doing and why we were riding. What a blessing to meet strangers in a parking lot and yet have the same hearts. 

We made great time today, team rode like the wind. We encountered some hills early in the day but the scenery was worth it. The route took us east out of Ludington and up into Free Soil. A big "thank you" to the lady at the Marathon station in Free Soil for the use of the bathroom. After riding 27 miles first thing in the morning, it was much needed. Thank you for your kindness! (Ah, the things you take for granted). 

Just before Free Soil we came upon a memorial for a police office killed in the line of duty. We had to stop and take in the moment. 

Only one wrong turn (or forgetting to turn and having to loop the riders back on course) . we were hoping they didn't notice but Garry was on to us pretty quick. 

Some highlights of the day were;
1. More great conversations on the rode. The day just flew by.   The SAG team can usually here the riders coming before they can see them. It is so fun to listen to the "rode chatter". 

2. Lunch in Manistee at a beautiful park on the beach. (Sorry to past riders - we don't know how we missed this in the past). 

3. Beautiful sunrise and sunsets.

4. Quick stop at Garry's family cottage for a bathroom break. What a peaceful spot. Oh, and someone may have taken an interesting souvenir. (shhhhhhh...)  
Don't tell Garry...

5. The end of todays route took us out to Ludington State Park. Sunny and 70! Shelley and Cindy decided to race to the water. Off they ran, neck in neck, over the boardwalk only to simultaneously leap off the two foot ledge toward the water and once again, simultaneously face plant into the sand below. We are so sorry we do not have photo record of this hysterical event, but please believe us - hysterical. Upon returning to our bikes in the parking lot a couple asked Shelley, "Are you one of the ladies that took a nose dive into the water?" "Yup, that's me!" - Shelley replied. "We were watching from up above in the pavilion, we couldn't believe you both took the same nose dive!"

5. After the face plants, nose dives - whatever you want to call it, I just call it hysterical; Kelly decided to take a swim, we all waded a little and then headed back to the hotel for dinner. 

Dinner was moo and cluck (or as some call it, steak and chicken). One more walk to the city park for sunset pictures, into town for ice cream and coffee (Staci is the best! She too loves coffee).  We huddled up for a group prayer before sending everyone off to bed. Thank you all for your prayers for safety (we NEVER take those for granted). Prayers are so needed when on the rodes, for protection and physical strength. We are a strong team because we have strong Prayer Partners storming the gates of heaven on our behalf. We feel it! Thank you. 

One more day. See you at the finish line! 

The 2016 Ride4Life Team

Friday, September 23, 2016

The day began with a great breakfast prepared by some of our favorite people. Thank you so much Gary Feenstra, Janelle Kelly, Mike VanDrie, Sharlene and Linden Lade, and Amy Aernouts. You all rock! 
Around 8:30 am the Ride4Life team took off on our 250 mile journey. 
All smiles now and believe it or not, they still had smiles after completing 
the 91 mile day. 

The day was beautiful riding weather. We are grateful for the protection, cloud cover, and often experienced glorious rays of sun shining through the rain clouds. Along the road, or running out in front of us, we saw 4 deer (one big buck), a kamikaze snake (as Kelly calls him), lots of turkeys, hawk, and geese heading south. 

Most of our breaks were along some beautiful body of water. We live in a gorgeous state. 
Coming into Silver Lake was a highlight as the white dunes rose up in front of us. Other than one dead end road (sorry guys!), we went with very few mishaps and for that we are grateful.

Here are a few quotes from the day:
   "To clip or not to clip, nah. Let's just tip over."  - says Staci twice.

   "To train or not to train." - says Shelley once - "I think I will train form now on, 
   these hills are killing me."

    "Wooooow!" - says Kelly, every time we saw the water!

Another highlight came while stopped for a break in Pentwater. A curious man asked why we were riding. We told him we were riding for life, for women and men experiencing unplanned pregnancy. We explained that we extend love and compassion while they grapple with their pregnancy decision and provide support throughout the process. He immediately asked if he could donate to the Ride. Thank you dear sir, for catching the vision and for loving life with us! 

Our ride came to a close today right around five o'clock, once again, along Lake Michigan in Ludington. We ate together at the hotel in their commons room. Jon grilled hamburgers and brats (thank you Sherry and Craig for the burgers). Dinner was served at 6:00 pm and then we all walked downtown for ice cream (we missed you Don!).

So everyone is heading off to bed now and ready for another day tomorrow. 
See you all then. Keep praying and don't forget to give if you haven't already! 

The 2016 Ride4Life Team! 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Meet the 2016 Ride4Life Team!

It is that time again! A fantastic team of riders and SAG drivers are geared up and ready to tackle Ride4Life 2016. This year brings a new route and new faces to the Ride, and participants are sure to develop deep friendships, fond memories, and a heartfelt passion for the mission of life on their journey! 

Our team will be leaving on Friday, September 23rd and will be covering 250 miles along the Lake Michigan shore in 2.5 days. We would like to introduce you to our 2016 Ride4Life team, and ask for your prayers and support and we get ready to ride! 

Cindy Rockwood
I am excited to be participating in the Ride4Life. I became aware of LPC and the Ride4Life several years ago when a coworker, Diane Meyerholtz, participated as a support person for the ride. After contributing to her support, I am now taking up the challenge to participate in the ride and raise my own support for this very worthy cause.

The pro-life cause has always been important to me. I worked almost 40 years with special needs children and their families, and I feel that all lives are special. When an unplanned/unexpected pregnancy occurs, that baby is also special and deserves a chance at life. Raising a child is not easy, and as a single parent for many years I realize that at time the extra help and assistance is needed. By doing this ride, and raising support, I hope to make a contribution and provide assistance to the young women choosing life for their babies.

Garry Markvluwer
I have lived in Holland all my life, graduating from Holland Christian High School and Hope College. My wife, Sheila, and I have two children, a daughter Leah and son Tyler. I learned about Lakeshore Pregnancy Center in 1999 when my wife started working in various aspects of the ministry. For the first few years, I was a casual bystander with limited involvement. This soon changed as I began to volunteer at some of the events and experienced the positive impact the staff and ministry were having on the community. I Ride4Life to help Lakeshore Pregnancy Center raise funds to continue operating its five centers located in West Michigan and I welcome your financial support.

Please join me in holding up the staff and volunteers in prayer as they serve as the hands and feet of Christ. Every day, they are fighting for the life and souls of the unborn, and they are ministering to the needs of the men and women who find themselves in an unplanned pregnancy.

Kelly VanTimmeren
My wife Gwen and I are longtime residents of Allendale and own VanTimmeren Greenhouses.  We are the proud parents of three grown children, a daughter in law, and one precious grandson.
As a believer in Christ I value a ministry like LPC to give caring non-judgmental support to those at a critical crossroad in life.  Our church home is Watermark in Grand Haven.  This is my second Ride4Life venture, and I am excited to be a part of this awesome team. 

Shelley Hollar
Shelley came to LPC in 2007 as a volunteer and has served in a few different positions in the ministry before becoming the Holland Center Director. “I am reminded daily of the pain and hurt others live in and am blessed to be a part of the hope we offer.”  Shelley and her husband Terry enjoy worshipping and serving at Hope Reformed Church in Grand Haven.  They both enjoy music, and anything in the great outdoors! However on a quiet day you many find Shelley in her sewing room whipping up something new. They have 2 children and 5 grandchildren that bring great joy to their lives.

Staci Ainsworth
I have had heart for Lakeshore Pregnancy Centers for quite some time now as my second mom, Amy Aernouts, has been involved from both a volunteer standpoint and now heads up the Mobile Medical Center. The passion she has for the ministry is evident, and I’ve shared in that in small ways over the course of her tenure. The opportunity to ride in the R4L has been something the Lord and I have been debating about for a few years now. The distance and commitment seemed fairly insurmountable until this year when He said, “Ok fine, Staci, I’ll shorten it up this year. But you have to do it.” So, here we are. I’m absolutely thrilled and equally panicked about the thought of riding 250 miles over the course of a few short days, but I know that whatever I might view as impossible is made possible by Him. 

This organization's rally cry around eternal hope is what I can subscribe to most. My life has had its fair share of twists and turns but in all of it, I fully trust that the Lord is weaving a tapestry of something good; something that can be to His glory. What I can say with certainty is that aside from the gift of that unending grace and promise of goodness is that my greatest accomplishment thus far is my 10 1/2 year old son, Connor. He is such a beautiful reminder of what my own childlike faith should look like and how my Father continually loves me despite those moments I may consider myself a disappointment. And finally, why the people at lakeshore pregnancy centers can be so impactful. With love from the right people, we get to see what Jesus looks like here on Earth and I wholeheartedly believe that we can be vessels of that tenderness and grace to people who may find themselves in a difficult place. 

So, I ride for a number of reasons. But mostly? I ride for life, and life to the fullest. 

Carolyn Doyle
Carolyn is the Executive Director for LPC and has been involved in the Ride4Life for the past 7 years. She routes the trip and leads our SAG Team and Riders safely on the route every year. She is an excellent team leader and her leadership plays a vital part in the Ride4Life.

Diane Meyerholtz
This is my fourth year with Ride4Life, working on the SAG team. I have a servant’s heart and love making the life of each rider easier.

On a personal note, I am married to my wonderful husband Mark. We have three adult children, and seven grandchildren. I love spending time with the grands and the kids. For hobbies, I love camping with Mark, biking, and kayaking. I love reading and scrapbooking in my down and alone time. My faith and relationship with Christ has carried me through many a storm, and He is my Rock and my Foundation.

Mary Ann VanKampen
I really enjoyed my years as an elementary secretary with Zeeland Public Schools.   But, retirement now allows me to spend more time with family and friends, volunteer and travel. I'm excited to be helping for the 3rd year as part of the SAG team to help raise money for Lakeshore Pregnancy.  It's an opportunity to raise money to help those facing an unplanned pregnancy.

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!