Alright, I guess it's time to share my story leading up to this point in the pre-trip preparation.
This has been a dream of mine for a while, and I think one for Paul and Dave too. Listening to all of Dad's crazy stories and the enjoyment that he still gets remembering it made the three of us want to do something like that. We wanted to do some great adventure that could be told for generations to come. Stories full of adventure and glory! But the conversations never got serious until last summer. Somewhere along the line, Dave made up his mind to bike across the country. He said something to the effect of, "I'm biking across the country next summer, wanna come?" And after I realized he was serious, I started honestly thinking if I wanted to do a trip like that.
But first, I had a few road blocks to cover. The one that I met from the get-go was to go on a mission trip with my church or go on the bike trip. I have been to the Dominican Republic for the last two summers and each time has been an incredible, awesome, unforgettable time to see God work and see his people in another country, with another language. And I had to decide to do one trip or the other... After praying, and asking friends, family, and church leaders to pray, I came to the decision that I would regret not taking this opportunity that will likely never come again. I will probably never again have the chance to bike across the country with my two older brothers. Whereas, if God allows me to, I will have chances to go on another mission trip, maybe even to DR.
The second obstacle to hurdle was College. Next year, I will be attending Anderson University and running Cross Country and Track for them. In order to do this trip, I will be missing out on roughly a month and a half of prime training time. I had to ask the coach if I was even allowed to go on the trip, I had committed to run for him, and had to also commit to his decision. If he said I had to stay and train, I would. But I really, really wanted to go, and was also really really dreading him saying no. Eventually, the time came that I HAD to call, so I picked up the phone and dropped the question. And you know what? He said yes! I may have to do some running while on the trip, but he said yes, and that was all that mattered. God opened another door to this path. As Dave said a lot at the first few stages of planning, I had only hit green lights so far, and I was going to continue pursuing this trip until I hit a red light. (which still hasn't come, so I'm still cruisin' along!)
Third, were finances, I am working, but it is a weekend job that has had a slow winter and spring, and I have not had as many hours as I had hoped. However, God is awesome and still provides a way. Through money I already had in my bank account, odd jobs I've picked up, and the like, I am currently done with all my big purchases, and a majority of my smaller ones. All that is left is to save up money for food on the actual trip.
Through other obstacles, God has continued to prove faithful and lead the way and provide ways to do this trip and I am more excited now than I was at the beginning to see how He provides.
As we dream and plan this bike trip, we have continually bring up the topic of why we are doing this trip. We are doing this for different reasons. Personally, I am doing this trip because I don't want to miss such an incredible opportunity to bond with my brothers, an opportunity that, as far as I know, will not come again. I am also going to see the incredible beauty that God has created. The Redwood forest, Yosemite, Grand Canyon, the mountains, plains, hills, valleys, sunrises, sunsets, waves, and wind. All this and more, God has created and I want to see and worship the Creator of the things I will see. As a group, we have discussed doing this trip for a cause or group, but have not found something that we are passionately committed to and support yet (if you have ideas/suggestions of a group willing to sponsor us or anything along those lines that we could represent let us know), but we would like to be the hands and feet of Jesus and as we go. We don't know what this looks like, but listening to the Spirit, I think that God will use this trip to open conversations that would not otherwise happen. Whatever the end result is, sponsorship or no, God will use this trip for his glory. He just has this thing about him, He looks at the plans I plan and laughs; then with a father's love, takes my my plan and throws it away, and replaces it with his plan. One so full of life, one that I would not readily chose, but would never change. That is what I am anticipating for this trip.
Anyways, to wrap up this first post of mine, I want to say thanks to all of you reading this and the support through prayers, finances, equipment, thoughts, and even just you reading this. This trip is not just about me biking across the country. This trip, and my life for that matter, are meant for more than just my enjoyment and pleasure. I am doing this trip because through it, God will get the praise, the thanks, the glory, and I will be able to look up and say, "Thanks Dad, that was a great trip! Thanks for taking us! When's the next one?" This trip, although maybe not the typical "worship" setting with a sermon and music, is going to be filled with praise and love for the Creator God.
Thanks for reading, more will come I'm sure, but for now I'm going to bed. Tomorrow (well really, today) is prom and I'd like to get some rest.
Thanks - Tom