[Note: This is short story style. It is long.
Take your time to read it.]
My first long distance trip
In August a friend of ours lost his father to the battle of cancer. Our friend invited us to his father's funeral (some people call it a wake). We attended. At the service a big Harley d00d came up to the mic to support a man who was shedding tears for his friend who passed away. The big Harley guy started talking. He talked of his friend's faith who passed away and how strong his faith in God was. After the service we were invited to a potluck lunch at a park to honor our friend's father. While at this lunch a gal I met came to me and suggested that I go meet this man (the big Harley guy who spoke at the funeral). She mentioned that he is a born again Christian & that he has all sorts of cool stories to share. I was surely impressed with that. I started looking around for him, John is his name. So, Paul and I made our way to the other side of the crowd where John was standing.
The one thing I haven't mentioned is that it had been pouring rain all day. Everyone thronged under the cover of the conglomeration of canopies to avoid getting rained on. We made it to where John was standing & talking to some other guys.
In a break of their conversation my & John's eyes met and I said “I'd like to talk to you”. Immediately we started chatting. We discovered he's a member of a Christian Biker Ministry. He invited us to investigate their website & gave me a business card with all the pertinent information for us to locate the organization online.
We got home that evening and I started my research about Bikers for Christ. I learned that it's a real ministry not just a club or group. There are chapters all over the world. John shared with me and Paul that he's becoming an Elder and is starting a chapter here in Tacoma, WA. I read on the Bikers for Christ website about its history and the founder, Pastor FredZ.
I emailed someone on the website. He sent my info to the closest elder to Tacoma. He is in Vancouver, WA. He emailed me. We emailed back and forth several times. He sent me a copy of the pre-application questionnaire to fill out and send back to him. I forwarded a copy to Paul to fill out as well. We mailed those off to the elder in Vancouver.
This elder goes by Chaplain Rich. He also asked if it would be possible for us to meet him for coffee when he comes up to the Tacoma area for some business. So, we did. In the meantime he had also sent me an email about an event in Roseburg, OR that would be coming up. He invited us to attend because we would have an opportunity to meet the founder of Bikers for Christ, Pastor FredZ. The organization was putting on it's 1st annual Bikers for Christ Rally and Pastor FredZ would be there. This event was the weekend of 9/13 & 14.
We felt that it's what God is directing us to do. So, we had a couple weeks to plan for this. Paul's bike was still in the shop for repairs from an accident he had in June. He prayed it would be able to be used for this trip to Roseburg, OR. He worked really hard on side jobs with his computer clients so we would have enough cash for the trip. He ordered some things that we could use on our trip that related to riding our bikes. We talked to our neighbor about keeping Misa, our puppy, while we were gone. They agreed to care for her for us. Everything was set; except Paul's bike still.
Paul was keeping in contact with the shop every other day to see how the progress was going. The shop was still waiting on some parts to finish up.
I hadn't been on my VROD since Mother's day. Thursday, 9/11. I told Paul that I was riding my VROD to work (the massage clinic). It was an enjoyable ride. I was able to take in some sun and wind.
It was time for us to travel South. Friday, 9/12. We were hoping to meet Chaplain Rich at his home in Vancouver, WA and ride from there to Roseburg as a group. Well, those plans didn't happen. One of Paul's pc clients in Battleground, WA wanted to know if Paul could come past his place while in the area and fix something on his laptop (an opportunity to make some last minute cash). So, we got to the shop riding 2-up on my VROD. Paul's bike was jimmy rigged so the lights would work. Some other parts still hadn't arrived. Paul signed a waiver to take the bike as is for this trip. We ended up leaving Graham/South Hill, WA around 6pm on the 12th of Sept. We took the shortest route possible to save time which meant state highways through the foothills back to I-5. Then from I-5 to Battle Ground, WA, where Paul's client is. We stayed in Battle Ground for the night. If you'd like to see the map route we took go here: http://tinyurl.com/6yg8d5. It was a 3 hour ride of 143 miles. It got dark before we reached Battle Ground. I praise God for allowing me the chance to buy an amber visor insert to put on my helmet. That amber insert allowed me to see better in the dark so that I could make it to our destination.
Saturday after breakfast we headed out for Roseburg, OR. Here's the map of that route: http://tinyurl.com/6qk8rq. That trip was 201 miles and 3 ½ hours. We shot straight up I-5 on the return route, 5 hours and 318 miles. Paul says the round trip was 725 miles. We rode some miles in town in Roseburg while there. He probably counted the mileage on the bikes speedometers.
Now, the meat of the story. When we arrived in Roseburg for the Bikers for Christ event it was around 2:30pm. We pulled into the motel parking lot and checked into our room. There were already some bikers there. Some others were coming back from a ride they took with Pastor FredZ and a bunch of other riders. We met up Saturday evening at the church in Roseburg, where the event was being held, with a couple of the people we had talked to prior. There was fellowship with a band playing worship music and some other neat songs that one man of the band wrote. Pastor FredZ got up with a couple members of the band and played his guitar and sang a song. What a blessing to be a part of this event. We met some awesome people.
We went back to the motel after Saturday's fellowship. Chaplain Rich invited us to breakfast with the WA group. We rested up for Sunday's morning church service.
Sunday morning arrived to greet us with the most awesome sunrise right out our room door on the balcony. Our camera isn't good enough to take a picture of that. Just imagine a beautiful sunrise if you've ever experienced one. If not, you must do it sometime. We also experienced some awesome sunsets on our trip too. I just wish I had a camera that would take those kinds of pictures. Speaking of pictures. As soon as Paul gets around to uploading them I'll link to them so you can see them. I think he did a quick small video of Pastor FredZ singing.
We met for breakfast. There was a group of about 15 people with us. Awesome people! One guy liked how our drinks looked that we ordered. Blended strawberry & raspberry lemonade. He ended up ordering a strawberry lemonade like mine. He somehow got onto talking about his mother. He mentioned that she's 96 years old. He was probably 70 himself. Yes, he's a biker too. Lots of OLD bikers attended. Most of the people were of the old school bikes. Harley Davison and the big touring cruisers and some chopper customs. There were some awesome bikes. That morning at the church service it was announced that there were 104 bikes there. WOW! The street was lined with bikes on both sides and some in other areas for parking. I wish Paul took a picture of this too. But, there was this cute little black kitten on the fence next to where we parked our bikes. I called out to it: “kitty kitty”. It meowed at me and jumped down to come and greet me. I pet it and talked to it and it walked up the sidewalk to see who else would greet it. So precious. I love animals!
We got into the church and was greeted. We were all waiting because the 1st service hadn't finished yet. While I was standing there waiting a gal came up to me and asked me something about greeting people. I smiled and told her “I am a visitor”. She laughed and then greeted me. I must've just looked like I belonged. I felt at home with the crowd that came in. At one point a man walked in and started to go past me. I noticed a neck cowl he was wearing. It was made of leather and I just simply loved it. I asked him where he got it because I want one. Hahaha. He stood there and talked to me for a few minutes. The church this even was held at is his home church, he stated. Then he asked me where I was from. I told him Tacoma, WA. He was all excited. He stated that's where he grew up and lived for many years. I didn't ask when he moved away. But, I could tell it had been many years because he stated that he remembered when the bloods & the crypts were here. I told him that for the most part they had moved out. And that Tacoma was cleanin' up. He was excited to talk to someone from his hometown.
The church service got started. I sat down waiting on Paul to join me. Once the service was underway everything was moving right along. The house band played some songs to start off. Great music and singing. The next thing that happened astounded me. The main pastor of the church, also a member of Bikers for Christ, asked a young man to come up on the platform (stage if you will). They called him Eli at first. Then someone said to call him Elijah that he might respond and come up. Apparently Elijah stepped out of the sanctuary for a few minutes. He made his way up to the stage. All of a sudden he broke out into a rap routine. It was a rap for BFC [Bikers for Christ]. I couldn't understand anything except that part. He did a good job for rapping. Hah! When I very first saw him, Saturday night, it came to my mind that he looked like a gang member of some sort. I saw others that looked that way too. The main message that Pastor FredZ was saying using lots of scripture is that when Jesus was man here on Earth He didn't hang out with the righteous & holy men; He hung out with the sinners and ministered to them. That's what He told us to do also. Go out into the by ways & highways preaching the gospel to seek those who are lost and need to be saved. That's the main purpose of Bikers for Christ. We're HIS warriors against evil out on life's highways on our bikes. Pastor FredZ shared small snippets of video and pictures of him and his crew of Bikers for Christ visiting with the biker gangs and ministering to them. He stated that many of the leaders of the biker gangs are his friends. I had two brief opportunities to thank Pastor FredZ for doing what he does and for coming out for us to meet him. He thanked me.
I was blown away by it all. My head is still swimming from all of what Bikers for Christ is about. I know one thing; this is the ministry that God is calling Paul and me into. We have a presence as bikers in these places that the gangs are at here in the Puget Sound Region. I feel that I would be disobedient if I were to turn my back on what God is calling me to do. I'm a warrior in God's army. I'll die for my Lord & Father God to get HIS word out for the lost souls. Mark 16:15 And He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. This is my call to share the gospel.
At one point Saturday night after we had went back to the motel room I was ravenously hungry. Paul told me to pick out something to eat from this restaurant book in the room. So, I did. He went out to pick it up. He couldn't find the place and stopped to ask some men where it was at. While talking to these men he had the opportunity to witness & share a bit of testimony. Paul said that he felt it was confirmation from the Lord that this is what God is calling him to do. It's hard to turn down the Lord's divine direction. It's quite compelling. Paul & I have already been in the process of completing our applications for membership in the Bikers for Christ Ministry.