Imagine, if you have experienced it, the log ride at Disneyland. When the ride begins, you and a few people climb into a carved out “log,” and gently drift around a little river at the top of the mountain. The ride seems pleasant at first. You hear cute songs sung by cheery squirrels and birds. Everything just seems so annoyingly happy. Too happy. Something is off. You sense impending doom. After a few minutes, you see brier rabbit caught in a thorn bush. He’s trapped. Crying. All is not right.
Then, the log starts to go up.
Before you is what seems like a 1,000 foot incline, darkness all around, with the roaring sound of rushing water and the crank-crank-cranking of the log slowly approaching the opening at the top.
There is no escape.
Your heart starts racing.
You are about to go down a waterfall.
Yep, you just might die today.
Sacrifice. The theme of this trip. One doesn’t really comprehend what that means until you’re in it. At first, we thought a sacrifice of time and money was enough. But, it’s so much more than that.
Over the course of this trip, and meeting the leaders of Venture Expeditions in Minneapolis, our team was posed with this question: What are you willing to sacrifice to help others? How will you let this trip change you?
Sacrifice isn’t supposed to be easy. And it’s not for the glory or the recognition. In order to really lift someone up, in order to understand God’s love for you, and to live out who you are designed to be, you need to lose yourself.
We’ve been blessed by some amazing people on this trip, who have opened their doors, served us, prayed for us, encouraged us, and been in awe of us. Who are we to deserve such treatment? We are just riding our bikes! But to them, we are heroes who should be honored. How much more can we honor others with our lives?
I observe this amazing world around me and meditate on the freedom that the bike provides. As the scenery flies by, from prairie and farmland, to mountains and urban cities, this is still my body, in which I have a choice in where it goes. But, ultimately, with this one life, I can choose to make a big difference and throw myself into faith. What good does it do to be safe? To only think of yourself?
This trip has become about more than just riding a bike. It’s about discovering your soul and learning about who you are. Those are the muscles I really want to stretch.
Seattle to mid-Montana. 1,000 miles. Our two-week venture has taken us through 13 city destinations with miles upon miles of various terrain and weather, hundreds of faces welcoming us in, and 2,400 miles left to explore.
The uniqueness of this trip isn’t the seemingly impossible expedition; it’s the change that happens within. Climbing onto a bike and lasting for 8-hours is a very tangible goal. However, our team didn’t sign up for a vacation – we wanted a challenge. And the challenge is the sacrifice. We sacrificed our summer, which isn’t a long amount of time, to climb mountains, ride hundreds of miles a day, and understand God’s love for the oppressed. Right now, we are just scratching the surface.
Our bodies are hurting, our hearts are tired, and some nights, it’s all the energy we have to maintain a simple dinner conversation. But, we do. Something keeps us going. And the more we dig into our souls and meditate on why we are doing this ride, we become acutely aware of who we are, and what we are (and aren’t) capable of. I become aware of my freedoms and restrictions, what my body and mind needs to keep going, and what my soul needs to create a firm foundation. Mostly, I realize as much as I feel I understand myself and the world, I am pretty inadequate by myself. I’m one speck of dust in the world, one glitch of time that will be gone in a breath. When I want to strive for greatness, it takes much more than my own strength and understanding. It takes a team. It takes God. More on this soon. 🙂
For now, our trip has been amazing, but it’s time to dig deeper. To accept the faith that we can do this trip and truly help those who we are raising awareness for in Asia, we as individuals have to be open and ready for what God has in store. That is the true adventure!
Two hours up a mountain on a bike. Two hours of pedaling, climbing, aching, and more pedaling. 4,000 miles up. For two hours. And we freaking did it!
How? We don’t know. If we would have known how hard it was going to be, more than likely we would have objected. But, we were strong in faith, determined, and encouraging of each other. And when it got really hard, we pushed through anyway.
The journey has been incredible so far – from beautiful Seattle to the picturesque countryside leading to Sultan, Washington, through prairie and farmland leading to Spokane, our tired bodies are going through much more than a physical change. And for that, we are grateful.
Yet, when it comes to approaching those obstacles, this is what we have learned: you need to attack them. You don’t have to like it, it doesn’t have to be pretty. But, when you see the mountain looming in the distance, you speed up. Going slow is more painful. You go to the highest gear (hopefully, you have a slight downhill beforehand), and you pedal your heart out. This will give you momentum. Then, you slowing start shifting down, even if you have to eventually shift down to your last gear.
And you keep going.
Eventually, you will get over that obstacle. And the view from the top… is pretty fantastic.
15 riders, staring up a mountain. This mountain out of Washington, while daunting, is not just physical. For many of us, this mountain is the first of many obstacles we will have to overcome. We are putting more than our physical bodies through this demanding terrain. We gave up two months of our year, pausing our school, jobs, and personal lives to focus on a much more demanding issue at hand – human trafficking. This issue, to us, is worth the sacrifice.
What is faith without applying yourself? It is just words. What is the act of doing without faith? It is empty and impulsive. This venture is about blending the physical and mental with spiritual faith, where God calls us to help his people who are oppressed. We all have to dig deep, dare to be vulnerable, and put ourselves out there. This hurdle will be the first of many.
So, tomorrow we start – one pedal push at a time, to trek 3,400 miles! Join us in our journey and help push us forward! Tomorrow – WE RIDE!