Byron Center, MI
Written by Rev
As we pulled off the ferry and arrived into Ludington, my excitement exploded like a geyser. I was ecstatic to be back in Michigan even though I knew that we had about 3 hours left of traveling. It was a blessing to be back in what us Michiganders call the mitten.
I am now sitting at my parent’s home at my desk, typing on my laptop trying to figure out what to write about a 52 day trip that was 8,603.1 miles long and covered 28 states. This is going to be tough.
There were many things that stuck out to me along the way and if I were to name them all; it would take forever to write. So this is going to be in summary and if you want to know more, feel free to email or ask me in person.
Leaving Michigan in the freezing cold and then having 5 days of rain caused me to wonder if I was ready for this all. Soon and very soon it became evident that this trip must happen as God worked marvelously in many different ways. God works in many ways and before this trip I thought I had seen it all. I was wrong.
There were times when I was discouraged and God provided a beautiful day, a smile or wave from a stranger, an air mattress, places to sleep, places to eat, a text from a person back home with a verse in it, or a conversation with a stranger about justice or a prayer from a stranger. God is good.
It was amazing to see the country that I live in: the United States of America. There is a song that is title, “America the Beautiful.” I was wondering how true this was as we planned to cover most of the climates in America. Everything from desert to mountains, to plains, to hills, to grass, to forests, to many bodies of water; God created them all and they are beautiful. It gave me a whole new appreciation for God the Creator. It was absolutely amazing to see two oceans as well as the different land changes as we traveled. Our biggest temperature change in one day was from almost freezing to 100 degrees! The mountains were beautiful, the plains were beautiful, and the trees were beautiful, each body of water was gorgeous, the snow was amazing and the hilly and curvy roads were excellent.
I was meditating on Matthew 6:24-35 as we journeyed along and this passage talks about worrying. Jesus says in verse 26, “Look at the birds of the air….and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much valuable than they?” This caused me to really focus on two aspects: first, how valuable I am and second, how God will take care of me.
First, how valuable I am. I am not being arrogant, but the same God who created his world, the trees, grass, scorpions, the Colorado River, the Mississippi River, the plains in Oklahoma and Texas, the cacti, the desert, the wooded forests in Oregon, the lakes in Minnesota, the mountains in California and Tennessee—He also created me. Wow! That is absolutely breath-taking to me. Also in that verse, Jesus implies that the God who created those birds, who were meant for flight in every way by the way that they were intricately created, also created you and me and we are more valuable than they are. We are more valuable than they are because we are made in His image as Genesis tells us. That is amazing!
Second, God will take care of us because we are more valuable than the birds. As I often do, I told my mother not to worry, but I found out that I am quit the worrier as well. On this trip, I worried countless times at where we would sleep and where we would eat and if we would have enough money to finish the trip. I was completely wrong by worrying. By worrying, I was not trusting God to provide for my every day needs. He proved Himself over and over again to me that He would provide for my every day needs; everything from providing a gas station when needed, to a place to eat and then a place to sleep. There was no need to worry, God was and is in control. God is good.
I also was amazed at how God worked in people along the way. For those of you who think that God is not at work in the people of America, you are completely wrong. God is working, in marvelous ways. I have seen it first hand. There were so many ways where we were either given money, given a place to sleep—for however long we needed it, given food, had a great conversation with strangers that gave us complete encouragement, etc. The list goes on. God is working in powerful ways and I cannot wait to see the work that He will continue to do in America.
This experience has strengthened my faith immensely. As I have stated before, I have worried and not done as much praying and trusting in God as I should. But I have learned and now as I live my life back at home, I continue to rely and place my trust in God, knowing that He will provide for my everyday needs.
Another aspect of this trip that impacted me was relationships. If you followed our blog you know that we stopped and visited with countless of relatives of Vikings. It was awesome. It was great to listen to both of his grandparent’s stories about their childhood. Viking had heard these stories time and time again and it was awesome to see that. It challenged me to appreciate my grandparents and to visit them more frequently and to listen to every word that they say and to ask them stories about their childhood.
Viking, we made it my friend. I owe an incredible amount to Jonathan. He let God work in him about injustice and that was shown to me at a campfire in my back yard and then a 3 hour breakfast at IHOP 6 months later. Yes there were disagreements and roadside arguments where we didn’t see eye to eye on things. But with patience during frustrating times with peace from the Holy Spirit, we overcame them. I appreciated the ministry partner that came with this awesome ministry. We have been friends for about 3 ½ years now and this is by far the craziest thing that we have done together—I think. No, it is. It all started with a dream, then God working, then God working more and more in our lives and providing immensely for this trip. I am so very thankful for this opportunity and I hope one day that I can tell my nephews and nieces, children, grandchildren and whoever else about this ministry that I took with my best friend. This trip will never be forgotten by me. Thank you for your patience, kindness and understanding through all of this. I thank God for you. Thank you.
As for me, I will be leaving July 15 for a mission trip with the youth group from my church to Biloxi, MS for one week. Then I return for a week and half, and then headed to the east coast with my girlfriend’s family. Then a two week break and seminary starts for me. I will be attending Calvin Seminary in Grand Rapids to achieve, Lord willing, my Masters of Divinity and continue my work as the Youth Director at my church. If your interested, I do have my own blog and the web address is: http://ponderinglifeandthebible.blogspot.com/
I still sit here and really can’t imagine that I actually circumnavigated the United States of America—on a 49cc Honda Ruckus. Wow. Amazing isn’t it? But the fact that I did this isn’t about me. It’s not about me doing this to just to say “Yeah, I did it”. It was for those who aren’t free. It was for those who can’t speak up. It was for those who are victims of beatings, sex slavery, and the like. It was for God’s glory. God allowed me to do this and all glory goes back to Him for what He did in my life and those who we came into contact with.
I want to thank you all who have supported us during this trip. Whether it was in the form of money, prayers, a place to stay, a prayer on the side of the road, a simple conversation, showing interest in our bikes, etc. Thank you all. I cannot describe in words how amazing it was to have support of people all over the country. Thank you.
May God bless all of you who read this.
To God be the Glory.
“The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make His face shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD turn His face toward you and give you peace.” Numbers 6:24-26