Not all prayers that we fling up to a God are immediate. But, boy did we see a specific and immediate answer today! Let’s back up to yesterday- when a couple from the bike-specific host church in Palmyra where we were staying- came and generously lavished us with a yummy dinner upon our arrival. We had absolutely no expectation of this warm welcome! Not only that, but they also allowed us to stay inside the church in the wonderful air conditioning and they let us use the kitchen. The pastor of the church even drove us to his house to let us all take showers. We really enjoyed meeting and talking with Cindy and Gerry who provided us with the dinner, and we had a great conversation with the pastor and his wife and daughter: George, Rita, and Jessica- not just about our bike adventure, but also about their family, their adored pets, and about homeschooling. Note: This was after our longer-than-expected biking day, on account of the flat tire that Jerry and the boys had to fix.
We had a great night’s sleep inside the air conditioning of the church, and when we awoke and had our breakfast, we were on our way. However, our ride to Charlottesville did not turn out as we had imagined. Only a quarter of a mile into our ride my front derailleur (the contraption that helps to switch one set of my bike gears) broke. After Jerry determined that he could not repair it with what we had, we simply decided that we would take off the derailleur and keep the bike chain on the smallest front gear and continue to ride to Charlottesville. The drawback to this plan was that although we would be able to progress up hills just fine, traveling on level road and down hills would be very limiting to our potential speed because we would not be able to go to a high gear. But, alas, we hopped back on the bikes... Well, now my chain was slipping in a very predictable, rhythmic pattern (i.e., every 4 pedal revolutions). When we inspected it, we found that there was actually a break in one of the chain links. (We’re not sure if a broken chain caused the derailleur to break, or vice versa. Nevertheless, this was a game changer!) We knew we had to fix this problem or have a bike shop fix it before going any further. So, Jerry rode a short distance to a nearby store thinking there might be a way to fix the problem short-term. Not finding a quick fix, he prayed that God would provide a way to meet our needs. Literally 20-30 seconds later, his phone rang. Remember Cindy and Gerry (the ones who provided dinner for us the night before)? Gerry was calling Jerry, having seen whom he thought must be us- hanging out in the grass with our bikes and gear. (His wife, Cindy, happened to have Jerry’s phone number from our initial contact.) He sensed that he should check on us. And when he did, he found out what had happened, and asked how he could help. People, we can’t make this stuff up!! Fast forward... he ended up picking up our bikes, plus Jerry and Russell, and taking them to the nearest bike shop (in Charlottesville). His wife came and picked up Douglas, Avery, and me, plus all of our gear, and delivered us to the place where we are staying tonight in Charlottesville. The bike shop proceeded to fix my bike in no time- literally stopped what they were doing and got to work on our need! We were reunited with Jerry, Russell, and the bikes only after being at our hostel/bed-and-breakfast for only about 20 minutes. What a day! And what a cool way for God to work- answering Jerry’s prayer specifically and immediately! It was certainly a faith building memory for us all!
Currently, I am sitting in a laundromat about 1/2 mile walk from where we’re staying, waiting for our laundry to dry- while listening to the sounds of both Spanish and English speaking folks doing the same. It’s storming outside, and I’m thankful for the shelter we have from the rain, wind, and lightning. I’m thankful for the cans of Brunswick Stew we so conveniently opened and heated up for our dinner tonight. As I reflect on these comforts, conveniences, and provisions, I can’t help but think about those who do not have such things. We are trying to keep this in mind as we go about our bike adventure- not only to remember to be thankful, but also to remember those whom we are indirectly supporting by raising awareness and funds for ECHO along the way. If you are not yet aware of what ECHO does, please take a minute to check out their website further (they are generously hosting this blog for us). And if you are able to donate at all (whether it’s a big or small amount), it would greatly encourage us on our journey!