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Of Wind and Life

Many of my friends have asked “What did you learn spiritually from your coast-to-coast ride on your bicycle?”.  Great question. The answer wasn’t as evident in the moment on the ride, but I would get glimpses of it as I went along. A few weeks after returning, it was as evident as the heat of Texas in the summertime. From my point of view, there are three elements out of your control when riding your bike – pavement type, hills/mountains, and wind. These elements are very similar to life.  Each day, I wanted brand new, fresh, smooth blacktop, downhills and wind at my back. Very few days did that happen.  Now – don’t get me wrong – we had plenty of smooth blacktop or concrete, there were plenty of downhills and wind was at our back from time to time. The problem – from my point of view at the time – was that the perfect blacktop was going uphill against the wind! Or we were going downhill on road surfaces that could break your back or bike. Smooth road, downhill and stiff headwind. Some portions of some days might be smooth roads, downhill, with the wind.  Perfect conditions! Oh – that only lasted 30 minutes of an eight hour day! How  similar that is to life, specifically the “Christian life”. For those of us that claim Christ, to be part of the family of God, we can at least grasp that God might teach us things through the struggles of life.  John 16:33 (ESV) says “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” Acts 14:22 (ESV) mentions that Paul and Barnabas were ….”strengthening the souls of the disciples, encouraging them to continue in the faith, and saying that through many tribulations we must enter the kingdom of God.” These are just a couple of references to indicate that life is not a bed of roses and therefore we will have rough pavement, hills/mountains, and wind.  Some of our days will have smooth pavement, downhills and the wind at our back. Other days we will have downhills on rough pavement where we have hang on for dear  life and crosswinds that will threaten to throw us in the ditch or out into traffic. Some days will be rough pavement uphill with a headwind and we will say  as in Revelation 22:20 “Come, Lord Jesus!”. He wants us to grow stronger, draw more closely to Him.  Consider Hebrews 12:3-11:

 Consider him who endured from sinners such hostility against himself, so that you may not grow weary or fainthearted. In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. And have you forgotten the exhortation that addresses you as sons?

“My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord,     nor be weary when reproved by him. For the Lord disciplines the one he loves,     and chastises every son whom he receives.”

It is for discipline that you have to endure. God is treating you as sons. For what son is there whom his father does not discipline? If you are left without discipline, in which all have participated, then you are illegitimate children and not sons. Besides this, we have had earthly fathers who disciplined us and we respected them. Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live? 10 For they disciplined us for a short time as it seemed best to them, but he disciplines us for our good, that we may share his holiness. 11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

So, what lessons did I learn from riding a bicycle across the US? I was able to connect the physical endurance of the ride to the endurance needed in life to become disciplined. Pain lasts only a moment. Peaceful fruit sounds good to me – what about you?


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Week 6 and 7 of the Coast2Coast Ride in Review

Wow – can you believe it has been this long? Just a few short weeks ago, we were celebrating being over halfway to the finish line in Dallas. Tonight, we’re in Atlanta and heading out tomorrow morning to Gainesville, GA. Only 6 more days of riding until we are in the Atlantic Ocean. Sea to shining Sea. I am sorry that there have not been more posts as we’ve traveled along. Each day takes a terrific effort of mental and physical energy to complete and at the end of the day, being able to put together thoughts into meaningful sentences can seem like an overwhelming task. So ,what often happens is that there are quick posts on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and the blog is left hanging.

Don’t get me wrong – we are not setting a torrid pace each day, but we have been averaging over 83 miles per day for 41 days and from sun up to sun down, there is very little going on other than eating, riding and resting.

Week 6, one of the highlights and lowlights of the week was crossing the Mississippi River. We had to cross via I-20 and much thought, discussion and prayer had gone into how to cross. Traveling an additional 200 miles to another crossing wasn’t an option. Throwing our bikes in the van and riding across safely was an option, but in our desire to ride every inch of the country, that wasn’t highly favored. As we approached the bridge via the shoulder of I-20, we saw that one lane was closed and we got excited – we could ride over safely behind orange barrels! That was true until about 2/3 of the way across – the good news was that the traffic was pretty much at a standstill, since it was shut down to one lane.  We quickly jumped into the main traffic and were laughing about how we had worried. Then we saw it – two sections of the bridge that were connected only by metal “teeth” – with gaps big enough to cause problems for our wheels/tires if we didn’t hit them perfectly. Out of 4 riders, we had 5 flats. Unfortunately, both of my flats came from hitting those gaps at a decent speed and both of my rims were damaged beyond repair. Thankfully, we had packed my aluminum Specialized Allez and that has been my ride ever since. The Volagi Liscio I was riding comes with disc brakes and without a spare wheel set, there was no replacing them. The bumps are felt more intensely now and the gear components makes the hill climbing more difficult – but you adapt on the road – that is what you must do.

This week, one of the more memorable days was Birmingham, AL. What made it memorable was that we climbed almost as much that day as we did in the mountains of Washington  or Colorado going from Tuscaloosa, AL to Pell City, AL and passing through the south side of Birmingham. The sharp hills of Birmingham are pretty intense – they never seemed to stop going up and down and the gradient was regularly more steep than the Rockies. We also rode on the Chief Ladiga Trail from Jacksonville, AL to the Georgia border and then the Silver Comet Trail from the Georgia border into Atlanta. What a beautiful set of trails to ride – you’re safe, off the road and the scenery is amazing. As we get ready to finish, it is amazing to think that we have gone this far by bicycle.  While we are close to the Atlantic Ocean, it will be 6 days of relatively long rides – two will be over 100 miles each and two will be over 90 miles. Endurance riding is physical and mental, as I mentioned before and it will take focus to finish strong.

I miss seeing my wife, Laura, every day and I look forward to seeing her again soon. Being apart from her all this time as been one of the toughest elements. She’s my greatest fan and without her encouragement, I would struggle each day. All of my friends back home in Dallas – I miss you as well and look forward to getting back into a “regular” routine of life with you. Thank you for reading and remember – we are doing this so oral learners can hear the truth of the Gospel.  It’s not about the ride – it’s about the listener.

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GoTeam Cycling Update – Week 3

For you cycling data fans, here is a breakdown of what has happened as of the end of Week 3:

Miles:  440.5                                               Miles to date: 1,463.2

Climbing:  21,371 ft                                   Total Climbing: 58,936 ft

Hours on the bike:  46 hours 41 min    Total Hours on the bike: 133.5

We’re now in Pueblo, CO having finished the Rockies yesterday, even though the Rockies try to finish us with a huge storm.  Coming down the mountain from Ute Pass into Colorado Springs on Hwy 24 we were completely soaked and freezing cold – 39 MPH when you’re wet will do that to you :-).

An interesting factoid about the climbing this week is that we climbed 3,000 more feet in the first week than we did this week. But, the difference is that we were typically at 2-3,000 ft of elevation the first week and this week we were over 5,000 ft above sea level at all times and maxed out at 12,126 at Cottonwood Pass when we were traveling from Gunnison, CO to Buena Vista, CO. That was certainly a highlight, particularly since the last 3,000 ft of climbing was on a gravel road that we though would be paved!




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Why the Coast2Coast Ride?

“It’s not about the bike”, nor is it about who is on the bike. It IS about oral learners and what T4 Global is attempting to do, working with non-readers in Africa, Asia and the Middle East.

We have blogged, Facebooked, Tweeted, Instagramed and Youtubed our ride. At the end of the day, though, even those posts are designed to call attention to the huge underserved population of the unreached world that can’t, don’t or won’t read. We are not trying to solve the problem of illiteracy – we are just working with indigenous partners to ensure that the unreached don’t have a prerequisite of reading to understand the Gospel or information about health in their own mother tongue.

We are raising funds to address this huge task and awareness of the issue. Our goal is to raise $100,000 over the course of the 60-day ride to fund ministry to oral learners. That is a big number in a short period of time – and that is one of the reasons we are doing something as big as a coast2coast ride. Sometimes it takes audacious actions to accomplish audacious goals. Come join us on the journey – not just the ride, but the long-term goal of seeing all oral culture people reached with the Gospel!

There are two ways you can help us reach this goal – you can donate here and/or you can share this need with others. Sharing can be done old school (using the telephone, handwritten notes 0r, heaven forbid, speaking to your friends and family) or “new school” via Facebook, Twitter, etc! Watch our Facebook feed ( or Twitter feed (@t4global) for which programs we’re raising funds for on a given week of our ride.

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Teammates and Teamwork

There is a day that must be written about – it was Thursday of last week. The route was from Burley, ID to Tremonton, Utah and we knew it would be a long day – well over 100 miles with some climbing. The surprise of the day, though was that instead of the NW tailwind we were expecting via The Weather Channel, we had 20+ MPH SW headwind most of the day. Most cyclists will tell you they would rather be climbing than have a headwind – at least you get to the top at some point with a mountain.

I’m not yet a fast rider anyway (yet) and by 2pm, we had been on the road for 6.5 hours and had only made 52 miles. We were concerned about getting to Tremonton before dark and at the pace I was going, the odds were very much against me. One of the contingency plans we had made was for me to cash it in and ride in the van, should we be up against a deadline that would not be made otherwise. At 2pm, it was my opinion that we were risking getting into town between 10pm and midnight and it seemed logical, as hard as it was to accept, that we had hit a contingency trigger. I stopped, got off the bike and began taking my lights off the bike. Christian would have none of it. Even though I was the one slowing everyone down, in his opinion, this was not a contingency triggering event. We were still a long ways from darkness and things could swing back in our favor (by the way, I was praying the entire time for an end to the headwind, but it was clear that eliminating the headwind was not in God’s plan for me). We did hit a few downhills (although at one point we had a -4% gradient and with the headwind I still couldn’t muster more  than 11 mph :-)) and the wind lessened from time to time.

Christian led the charge in rallying the troups behind me. He made phone calls to the office asking everyone to pray – that it was an incredibly tough day. He made sure I wasn’t stopping for long breaks, so we could make the best of the time we had. He made sure the support van was close at hand at all times, in case of needing any quick nutrition and at one point I had a slow leak in my front tire – so instead of repairing it, we aired it up a few times the last 12 or so miles into town, which required the van nearby constantly. Dave and Ben were encouraging us (and in particular, me) and lifting us up. I got a call from John Maisel, Founder of East West Ministries about 4:30pm in the afternoon after hearing I was having a tough day – he prayed for me on the phone and said encouraging words. I texted guys from from my Home Group at The Village Church saying I was having a tough day and they quickly responded saying they were praying for me. It was as if everyone was on our team that day – but most of all – Christian, Dave and Ben were surrounding me, encouraging me on.  We arrived at our hotel about 9:15PM that night in the dark – exhausted, but grateful for safety and finishing strong because of the Team and Teamwork. Thank you all for your prayers and encouragement.  We could not do this without you.

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Please Don’t Give Me a Tip – Dave Kenaga, GoTeam Driver

Crystal blue skies dashed with high wispy clouds signal another glorious day as Ben and I traverse the back roads and by ways of America following two relentless bicyclists. Launching the trek in the Pacific Northwest near Ocean Shores and snaking our way to the East Coast the riders at T4Global are determined to bring awareness to everyone about the desperate need of nearly 2/3 of the world’s population who can’t, don’t or won’t read.

Waitresses and waiters, gas station and shop clerks, people in rest areas and on the street see the “GO Team” logos on the trailer and our clothing and ask “What does “T4 Go Team” stand for and what are you doing?”

Those questions open doors for us to joyfully share that , “Oral learners learn by listening to people that are significant in their lives; those who speak their own language; those they trust; those who are like themselves.  T4Global is not trying to teach them how to read or write.  Our goal is transformation of communities by bringing life saving clean water, sanitation and hygiene training along with the Good News in their own language in a way they can understand in their own culture.”

Once people grasp that most oral learners live in cultures filled with ancestral lies that continually entrap them in the muck of ignorance and poverty, people want to help by joining our GO Team!  “Wow,” one waitress said gleefully “I love what you guys are doing!  Please, don’t give me a tip.  I want to donate it to help oral learners.”

As sag-wagon drivers, Ben and I are like the milkweed seeds drifting across the hills and valleys, the mountains and the rivers, following the cyclist and landing in people’s hearts for the express sake of those who have not heard the Gospel in their mother tongue. Our days are filled with motels and suitcases, blacktop and cement flat tires and roadside lunches, songbirds and prairie dogs, snowcapped mountains and glacier streams, broad rivers and churning trains, juniper trees and sage brush.

The opportunities to tell people about the plight of oral learners are like soft breezes and sips of cool water on an Idaho afternoon. We eagerly tell them how these oral learners are unlikely to hear about the goodness of God and His gracious Salvation if they do not hear it in their own mother tongue.  In this we rejoice because this is a high calling and a “big deal” because the eternal destination of one or a billion oral learners may hang in the balance.  And without hearing it, they are unlikely to understand the eternal consequences of choosing their old traditional ways or the new life in the way of the Master. This is why we go.  To testify to the Truth.

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From Ocean to Ocean – Ben Hale, GoTeam Driver

We asked Ben Hale and Dave Kenaga to write a post from their perspective of driver/support personnel for T4 Global’s GoTeam.  Today, you get served Ben’s perspective – tomorrow, you will hear from Dave. We hope you enjoy!

From Ocean to Ocean
Four completely different hair styles and four very different people making their way together from ocean to ocean. Thin hair, thick hair,  burr cut, and a pseudo Einstein cut but all with one mind — help bring the good news to oral learners across the world. One purpose and traveling through gorgeous landscapes and brilliant blue skies that show God’s handiwork. One day started in Dalhart, Texas on our way up to the Northwest coast. Soon after getting on the road, we had our first glimpse of snow capped mountains like a fuzzy white mustache on a face of blue sky.  We drove north for a long time with little peeks at the snow every now and then. We climbed higher and higher ’til there were no trees but thick banks of snow in shady places. Antelope rested in the open range, each member facing in a different direction oblivious to the myriad 18 wheeled trucks passing on the road. Not unlike the majority of the world who can’t or won’t read are oblivious to anything more than ten miles away.

Two drivers take turns driving a fifteen passenger car which is towing a medium sized trailer leapfrogging with the two bicycles. There are all kinds of roads. Looking through the windshield of the car, the road seems flat until I notice the bicycle riders are peddling slowly in a low gear. Other times they seem be almost flying their feet perfectly still. There are all kinds of places to stay. People see us and want to know, “Where are you going? Where are you from? Why are you doing this? What on earth is T4 GoTeam? They listen. They are truly interested. They respond, “That’s cool.” “Wow!” “There are a lot of cyclists that come through here. I’ve never heard of anything like what you are doing.” “Can I follow you online?” So it goes, day to day, mile for mile, up hill and down, and person to person making our way from ocean to ocean.

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Week 1 From Christian’s Perspective

After a week on the road I have decided that I thoroughly enjoy traveling by bike. We have ridden 600 miles this week and it has felt more like 100. The whole process is exploration and revelation. I am seeing things I have never seen before. And you never pass the same thing twice. On a bike you don’t just see the scenery at a slower pace but you feel it. You see the mountains and you breath their air into your lunges and hear the wind through the trees and feel it on your skin. Everything is closer on a bike. You can stop and stare into a scene and imagine what the land looked like 300 years ago. You don’t just see it. You feel it.

photo-5Aside from my love of cycling, I have also experienced the people behind why we are doing this. One of our drivers for this section of the trip is our clean water expert at T4Global named Dave Kenaga. Getting to know his heart for the people we work with has really made understand what we really do at T4global. Dave is so focused on being selfless and serving people, both here and around the world, it just makes the whole trip worthwhile when I hear him share his heart with someone who asks why we are doing this coast-to-coast ride. I am so honored to get to do something like this. The money we raise is changing lives. The interactions we are having are waking people up to the needs of people who can’t read.

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An Epic Week – A Perspective from Ed

For cyclists out there, regarding Week 1:

Starting Point: Pacific Beach, WA
Ending Point: Ontario, OR
Riding Days: 7
Total Miles: 611.2  (116 miles on day 7)
Total Feet of Climbing: 26,511
Landspeed Record (for Ed): 44.7 MPH
Flats: 6

We are staying on schedule, our bodies seem to be able to recover overnight.  A day of rest is being greatly appreciated right now. I’ve seen and read of people doing a coast-to-coast ride without any rest, but they are certainly better athletes than I am.

Flat_ChangingAll along, we have expected to spread the news of the plight of oral learners along the route.  That is certainly happening – in Yakima, there are new advocates; in Pendleton, OR we were interviewed by Kathy Aney of their local paper, The East Oregonian. Her first comment was “there are a lot of rides that come through here, but none with such a unique purpose”. Mission accomplished! Praise God for the opportunity to share in such a public arena. We are stopped in parking lots of our hotels and convenience stores, asking what we are doing, how far we are going – these are all the opportunities we had hoped for.

What we are finding though, is that this epic journey creates a huge opportunity for our friends at home to share what we’re doing – more so than ever before. We are so thankful for our new friends and old friends that are joining together in this effort – the story of oral learners is being spread – the fact that they exist and may never be able to read.  All it takes is people spreading the news that this huge underserved population of the world is out there and there is hope and help on the way.





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Day 4 and reflections on Day 3 Gathering in Yakima

Great friends do great things for one another. We were honored to have our first “formal” GoTeam gathering at the home of Greg and Barb Kinloch in Yakima. This is what we’re hoping to do 20+ times across the country – it was a perfect evening. About 10 of their great friends gathered to have some dessert (I think anyone would come for Barb’s oatmeal cookies!) and lemonade and to hear about the plight of oral learners. Many heard for the first time last night that many unreached people groups cannot read and therefore need to be communicated with by using stories, songs, and dramas crafted in their mother-tongue language. Thank you, Greg and Barb – you fed us well, gave us comfortable beds and showers and a great breakfast along with a great night of new friends.

Day 4 was almost a giddy day – two big days of climbing behind us relieved a lot of stress for all of us.  Our drivers, Dave and Ben, are always concerned for our safety and we were on some narrow and winding roads in the mountains. Christian and I were feeling the pressure of getting to specific locations on time and not knowing how long it would take us to get there.  A couple of long days and then today was comparatively short – we traveled about 84 miles with only about 1,600 ft of elevation gain.  We finished by 5pm after riding through the Washington desert (did you know that Yakima and south are arid, dry desert lands with irrigation from the mountain runoff?) with temperatures around 94 degrees and needed some nice showers, rest and a good meal. Dave, Ben, Christian and I were finally able to truly enjoy an evening without much pressure and got some good bonding time in over dinner. God has blessed us with a great team and I, for one, am grateful.  More later – thanks for joining the journey.


Dessert at the Kinlochs, discussing the needs of Oral Learners.

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