Unknowns, a broken camera and a 300-mile bike ride

There were a lot of unknowns going into the ride. I didn't know anyone except for Justin ...

Today's blog is a guest post by Tim Watson, a participant in the 2014 MidWest Bike Ride (MWBR2014). You can see more of his pictures from the ride here.

The MWBR2014 is put on by Ends of the Earth Cycling, a ministry of New Mission Systems International. It was nothing short of an adventure! There were a lot of unknowns going into the ride. I didn't know anyone except for Justin Hanneken, the assistant ride director, but when I heard about the trip, I felt a strong pull to go. I didn't have much experience with cycling, but I had committed to a support staff role. The only expectations I had was using my gifts in a certain way, and that I was here to support what God was doing with this group. I'm not usually one to jump into unknowns, but God had a plan and I was going to step out in faith.

I did know the area, having lived in Southwest Ohio my whole life, and God has given me a passion for missions, photography, art, and graphic design. The opportunity to be a part of the MWBR2014, which raises awareness for, supports, and advocates mission work in Thailand was something I couldn't pass up! To serve God by blessing others using my God-given gifts has been a life-purpose statement of mine for a while, and this lined up perfectly with that.

On the ride, I learned that my identity is not found in what gifts I have, where I have been, and what I do. It's in Christ and Christ alone and it's not about my agenda, or my will, but about God and what He wants. This was made very clear during the trip, when my camera dropped, hit the pavement and was destroyed. My hopes, dreams, and purpose of being the tour photographer were crushed, along with my camera. I began thinking I could be of no use for the rest of the trip so depression, anger, discouragement and disappointment came over me. I tried to deal with it the best I could, choosing to trust in God's goodness and love fueled by the promise of Jeremiah 29:11-13. Afraid of letting the team and Justin down, I reluctantly told Justin, who already knew. Even though my intentions had failed and I was disappointed, God could still use me, in ways that I wasn't even expecting. I was even afforded the opportunity to borrow a bike and ride part of Day 5 of this MWBR2014. I saw teamwork and unity on this trip that I've never experienced before and the Christ-like service and selfless sacrifice has been amazing! I plan to train to participate in the next Key West Bike Ride 2015. I am so thankful for God's faithfulness and that His ways and plans are much higher than my own.

Ends of the Earth Cycling needs some more people to serve as support staff for our 2015 Key West Bike Rides. Please check out http://www.endscycling.com/supportstaff or contact Justin Hanneken at jhanneken@nmsi.org for more information.

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