The photo above was taken on Tuesday, just outside of a United Method Church in Hindman, Kentucky. The trailer behind the team has signatures from numerous work groups that came to help through Sharing With Appalachian Peoples (SWAP). This week overflowed with encouraging stories and messages from people as we blitzed through our penultimate week together. Read about kudzu, the Yankees, encouragement notes and more!
As Family We Go
Monday we were reunited with our fearless leader, Nate Roskam. He received much-needed rest away from work, and quality time with his family. Now he is back on the road and bringing a lot of balance to the team dynamics. The ride took the team 64 miles from Springfield to Kirksville, Kentucky. The day started off rough a wrong turn, a flat tire, malaligned brakes, and a broken spoke. However, the day turned around after we got our rhythm going. Rodney, Ben Kuhn’s dad, drove in on Sunday night and was able to ride with his son! This made Rodney our 12th cyclist in our #dayridechallenge! He certainly held his own. We shuttled to the Eastland Park Church of the Nazarene (CotN) in Lexington, Kentucky. The turnout was great and we then shuttled back to the Nazarene Church in Richmond. Busy day!
The cool morning ride has been consistent with the temperate weather we have had recently. Temperatures aren’t getting above 80 degrees, and we are thankful for that! We saddled up in Kirksville and aimed our handlebars 61 miles down the road to Boonesvile (not Booniesville). A bright spot in our day happened when we rounded the corner past some barking Rottweilers outside of Berea. The first of the month brings out yard sales and spreads of roadside antiques in Eastern Kentucky. Red, one of the guys we met, loves people for the community they bring. Our team shuttled to the Waco CotN for an evening service. We were honored to have Suella, the district NMI president for the eastern Kentucky district, with us for the evening. Just prior to the service, a few people opened up their homes for us to shower up. One woman, Sherrill, is living with her elderly mother, in the house that her great-great-grandfather built and lived in. We are blown away by the rich history in the towns we get to cycle and travel through!
On Wednesday our riders rolled out from the small town of Boonesville headed to Hindman, 68 miles away. Nate Roskam jumped on his bike and rode at pace with Ben for the day. He attributes his peak physical condition to his standing desk he has had for five years. The team ended at a United Methodist Church for the evening and were blessed by unexpected generosity. The church invited the team to join in on a back-to-school BBQ with the SWAP team from down the road. Some Mennonites had taken a week off work to help rebuild a house destroyed by arson. Darrell, the homeowner, worked alongside them to get the job done, a second time. These stories are so encouraging for us to hear and to are a blessing to be able to share what God is doing. Our family time in the evening was a great heart-to-heart pow-wow, and a much-needed time of sharing.
In the morning, we were treated to a pancake and sausage breakfast, also in tandem with the Mennonite work crew. Our Thursday route took us from Hindman to Breaks Interstate Park. Breaks was a milestone for the team because it brought us into our tenth and final state: Virginia! The 67 miles were riddled with bumps and pot holes, but the scenery was out of this world! Invasive to the Western Virginia area is kudzu, a Japanese vine. Several decades ago, the US Government paid farmers to plant over 1 million acres of this plant (thanks Wikipedia). For those unfamiliar with this species, check out the crazy photo below!
Friday, we woke up to a brisk chill in the air, encouraging our cyclists who endured the 100-degree weather in Kansas. The uphills on this section of road were twisty but gorgeous to behold. At 84 miles, this was a hefty ride even for the best of the crew. Ed and Rosie shuttled the team in the Krantzmobiles down to Abingdon, via homestays for showers. The Abingdon CotN blessed our socks off with a potluck of massive proportions. Everyone was fed, and fed well! The intimate service was a blessing to the people gathered and to our Pedal to Plant crew. We made some good friends and will follow up with some great leads.
Our Saturday ride brought us just under the 500-mile mark to our destination. From Meadowview to Fort Chiswell, the 84 miles was quite exciting. Newly poured pavement and closed streets made for smooth cycling up and down the switchback roads on highway 80. See the photo of Nate and Shawn sprinting down the steep grades of the mountain side. Our shuttle took us to Pulaski New Life CotN. Upon arrival, we were greeted by a generous congregate. He asked if we had plans for the evening and gave us enough tickets for the whole crew to go to the minor league baseball game. The stadium in Pulaski now hosts a farm team for the Yankees, but boasts one of the oldest-running stadiums in the US of A.
Pastor Julie warmly welcomed the Pedal to Plant crew Sunday morning. She is recovering from surgery, and still made us feel like family. The Lord was working at the service and Gene brought the word, continually refining the message God has laid on his heart. After our Nazarene naps and an afternoon of rest, the team was surprised by a hearty dinner of ribs, prepared by our very own Sherrill Roskam. We thought the evening couldn’t go any better, but we were wrong. The kids at Nampa First CotN sent a huge stack of encouragement notes to our riders via Nate Roskam. These were passed around and communally enjoyed by the crew. Some of our favorites are pictured below. To top it off, Kristin Hastings, a leg rider, emailed the team a devotional thought, laid on her heart by the Lord. This is where the title of the blog post ties into the blog, so you know this is important. “Spirit in the Wheels” refers to the passage in Ezekiel 1 where fantastic, four-faced, winged creatures ascend and descend at the movement of the spirit. Along with these creatures, are wheels, that move and stop and rise at the movement of the Spirit. Kristin asked us “Is this not like the vision? Are these sons and
daughters not lifting up the glory of God? Is the spirit of these living beings not in the wheels? ” This passage so uniquely fits into our circumstance that this word could not have come at a better time. We are thankful for God’s hand in the work he has called us to do. We are thankful that He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world. He has gone before us and hems us in before and behind. And those are the promises we count on as we move into the final week of our journey!
As of right now, our mileage count for cyclists sits at about 3,800! We have less than 400 miles to go, and that number keeps dropping! If you are interested in donating money to help get us to our fundraising goal, click the link below. You can also contact us via email to work out other ways of donation and participation.
According to our financial gurus and Excell spreadsheets, $110,000 has been received and $300,000 has been pledged in support.
We will be able to give a more accurate number once more data is processed on the financial side of things. Check our Pedal to Plant profiles on Facebook and Instagram to support the team financially and prayerfully!
Churches who’ve hosted us; Churches visited this week are below in bold
- Eastland Park Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Waco Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Hindman United Methodist Church, VA
- Abingdon Church of the Nazarene, VA
- New Life Church of the Nazarene, Pulaski, VA
- Liberty Bible of Barberton, WA
- Hilltop Church of Astoria, OR
- Tillamook Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Lincoln City Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Church on the Hill of McMinnville, OR
- Eugene Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Sisters Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Mission Church of Bend, OR
- John Day Church of the Nazarene, OR
- Baker City Church of the Nazarene, OR
- McCall Church of the Nazarene, ID
- Grangeville Church of the Nazarene, ID
- Missoula First Church of the Nazarene, MT
- Bitterroot Valley Church of the Nazarene, MT
- St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Dubois, WY
- Sunnyside Church of the Nazarene, Kinnear, WY
- Riverton Church of the Nazarene, WY
- Jeffrey City Community Church, WY
- St. Joseph’s Catholic Church, Rawlins, WY
- St. John the Baptist Episcopal Church, Granby, CO
- High Country Church of the Nazarene, Buena Vista, CO
- Lincoln Park Church of the Nazarene, CO
- Garden City Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Larned New Beginnings Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Indian Hills Church of the Nazarene, Wichita, KS
- Hutchinson First Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Newton First Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Jefferson Street Baptist Church, Eureka, KS
- Severy Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Church of the Nazarene, Chanute, KS
- Living Faith Church of the Nazarene, Girard, KS
- Carthage Church of the Nazarene, KS
- Marshfield Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Mountain Grove Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Redford Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Farmington Church of the Nazarene, MO
- Murphysboro Church of the Nazarene, IL
- United Methodist Church, Glendale, IL
- Paducah Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Owensboro Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Elizabethtown Church of the Nazarene, KY
- Farmdale Church of the Nazarene, Louisville, KY
Check back soon with us to follow our pedaling journey across the country! If you’d like more instant updates on where we are, follow us on Facebook and Instagram, where we will regularly post our status and location!