To “Lament” means to feel or express sorrow or regret, to mourn for or over. Before Friday’s ride began, Scott Shelton, student minister at Jersey Village Baptist Church in Houston and a cyclist, shared that many on the team may be lamenting over the long day’s ride ahead of them.
“I’ve been thinking about today and that it will be a hard day with lots of miles,” Scott said. “This would have been the longest ride in my career, but we got off track a few days ago.”
“A lot of times my students will say or I see us say we have a fear of being completely honest and open with God, feeling that to share the raw and deep things going on in our hearts is wrong, but actually it’s not.”
But lamenting, being open and honest about the things that are going on in your life, also is an expression of faith in God, he said as he shared Psalm 17. (Please add hyperlink – http://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=psalm%2017&version=NIV).
So as the group set out on their longest ride, Scott encouraged them to lament – to lament over the sin in their lives and to lament over the injustice happening in the world today.
“Instead of getting away from the pain (of riding), see that as a humble time to say, ‘Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’”
Though the rest of the day was long, all groups made it to Texarkana, the end of the ride. As the group rode today, they passed through Marion County, the seventh poorest county in the state. They also passed through Cass County where 22.7 percent of the population is food insecure and Bowie County, where Texarkana sits, that has 19 percent of individuals who are food insecure.
Day after day the cyclists keep connecting with individuals who have experienced hunger, helping them put faces to the stats they have been sharing about hunger all week.
In the midst of the ride, several riders stopped at a Dairy Queen in Linden to rest for a few minutes before hitting the road again. Inside, they met Alena, a 53-year-old lady employed at the restaurant. She was energetic and so excited that the group had stopped at her store.
As a few cyclists spoke with her, they discovered she had at one point in her life experienced hunger. Once she heard about the cyclists trying to help hungry Texans, she pulled out her small wallet and gave what little she had, but she joyfully gave to help others who are in the shoes she formally wore. She also talked her manager into giving the group some free bags of ice to help keep the water coolers chilled for the riders.
After the day’s ride of 90 miles was complete, the cyclists gathered at First Baptist Church in Texarkana for a closing dinner. The church provided a wonderful meal and then the cyclists had an opportunity to share reflections of the week.
Rand Jenkins, organizer of the ride, said that people are noticing the riders as they stop in gas stations or eat dinner at a Kettle restaurant. People take notice because they know hungry people and they know something needs to be done to help.
“I can’t imagine my four-year-old son asking me when we will get to eat,” Rand said. “If I’m hungry, I can cook something or use my debit or credit card to go buy something. But there are a lot of people who don’t have those options. And that is why we are riding.”
Each cyclist was given a Bike Out Hunger medal and a world hunger offering bank in the shape of Texas to remind them of their time on the tour, but to also remind them that their mission of helping the hungry does not end when they go home tomorrow.
Some of the cyclists have chosen to participate in Ride for the Cure, a cycling event hosted by the Texarkana bike club taking place Saturday. The cyclists will be riding 30, 40 or 65-mile rides before heading back to their hometowns Saturday afternoon.
Though Bike Out Hunger is ending for 2011, you can still help support hunger ministries though the Texas Baptists Offering for World Hunger. To get involved, visit www.texasbaptists.org/worldhunger.
Also, keep checking the Bike Out Hunger website in the coming months to get information about Bike Out Hunger 2012. We hope to see you there!