Biking; an activity that the majority of us learn how to do when we’re little. When I was younger, biking was a way for me to get from place to place. I never imagined that it would turn into a way for me to strengthen my faith. Spoke Folk is a mission trip that trains high school and college age students how to be missionaries in their daily lives. This past summer, I went on my second tour in Colorado.
Now you might be wondering what biking has to do with a mission trip, but they have a lot more in common than you might think. On a typical morning during Spoke Folk, you’ll wake up to a counselor roaring “Good morning Spoke Folk!” You have no idea how early or late it is because you lose your sense of time while on tour. Everyone is always exhausted, but it’s okay because you’re all going through it together. Next, you’ll help pack up all of your sleeping stuff, luggage, and tour supplies into Spoke Folk’s two vans, which like to spontaneously break down from time to time. Next, you will circle up for morning devo and then you and your biking partner will hit the road.
Our biking days range anywhere from a twenty mile day to a hundred mile day. Now I know what you’re probably thinking, “that sounds awful,” but it’s actually one of my favorite things about Spoke Folk. While you’re biking, you are presented with so many opportunities to get to spread the gospel. This past summer in Colorado, when the group that I was biking with made our first turn out of the church parking lot, we immediately had to stop because one of our tires was wiggling like it was going to fall off. One of the biggest rules while biking on Spoke Folk is that if your partner stops, you stop. You have to stay together. About every three to five miles, we would have to stop and readjust the tire. In order to repair our bikes, we needed a tool called an allen wrench, and, well, we didn’t have one with us. When we were about thirty miles into our ride, we had to stop, yet again, and we finally decided that we were going to call one of our support vans to come and pick us up. I was frustrated that we wouldn’t be able to finish our ride, and I desperately wanted to keep going. However, in that moment, I knew that this wouldn’t be the end of our excursion. Colorado is filled with people who ride bikes, hike, and jog around in neighborhoods and on trails. Lucky for us, we just so happened to be stopped on a popular hike and bike trail (funny how that works).
A sweaty man came jogging up to us and asked us if we were having some troubles. We explained to the man that we were having some issues with a tire, and that we needed an allen wrench. The man nodded his head and the next thing we know, this gentleman started sprinting back to his house to retrieve the much needed tool. When he returned, he started tightening the tire and made sure that everything was working like it was suppose to. After he finished fixing our bike, he turned to us and smiled, “I think you’re going to need this more than me.” Not only did he fix our bike, but he also let us keep his allen wrench! I was so blown away by how selfless and generous this man had been. We ended up praying with him, and seeing how joyful and full his heart was afterwards was one of the best feelings that I’ve ever experienced. It’s moments like these that remind me how God will always take care of us, no matter what. We just have to trust in Him, and His plan for us.
When my pastor first told me about a biking mission trip, I thought that he was crazy. I didn’t understand how this experience was going help me grow in my faith. Yet after going on tour, I would be crazy not to see the effect it has on people. People from all over the United States gather together for twelve days to spread the word and love of Jesus, and in the process, we become a family. On the last day of the trip, everyone is wiping their eyes and trying not to choke up as we say goodbye. I don’t think that I have ever gotten so close with so many people in just two weeks.
Spoke Folk has provided me with life-long friends, a support system, and a family that I know will do anything for me, no matter how far away we may be. It’s hard to put into words the connections and relationships that you build with people on tour. The only way I can imagine describing it is as a miracle. I don’t know of anywhere else that you have the opportunity to grow so close to people in such a short amount of time. One of my best friends from tour is a fiery redhead from California named Josie. She and I instantly clicked and started making so many memories. From my first time eating Chipotle, to wearing dinosaur heads in Walmart together, to our much needed Starbucks stops while biking. We have helped each other grow stronger in our faith, and we can always count on each other for support when we’re struggling.
Biking; an activity that has come to mean so much to me. Something that used to be a happy childhood memory with my friends, has come to hold so much value. Biking, through Spoke Folk, has come to not only be a way for me to express my faith, but it is also something that pushes me physically, mentally, and spiritually. It challenges me to do more, to go beyond what I imagined was possible, and to be the best version of myself. Spoke Folk has shown me that I’m not on this Earth for myself. I’m on this Earth to serve the Lord and to spread His love. God will use us in amazing ways, we just have to be brave enough to let Him.