Thursday, April 24, 2008

In Formal Introduction

This trip is actually happening!

It's strange to type those words and to stare at them, my cursor bouncing in anticipation at the end of the line. What's next? What comes next?
What a wonderful question that is. What is next. It's been nearly 8 months since Eric invited me over to his dirty little kitchen for some gourmet college cooking and a lazy lunch discussion. Mentioned in passing, his idea to bike across America for a cause was the first I'd heard about it. And today I bought my plane tickets out to San Francisco and back from Boston. There have to be words for this feeling but most of them escape me.

We are biking across America, sleeping in Covenant churches along the way, starting a discussion in the churches around the question "what is justice?" We hope to learn from the wisdom of local congregations as well as to offer our experiences and thoughts. This is a dialogue and an invitation to be apart of what God is doing in the Church.

So what's next? What comes next? We have just over 4 weeks until we fly out to San Fran for the beginning of this adventure. And I am filled with excitement. I am filled with fear. I am humbled by the fact that this is actually happening. Praise God for that.


The story of a bike trip: Part 1

"It would be great to do something like ride a bike across the country and raise money and awareness for a cause."

When Eric said it, he had no idea that it would actually happen. I started getting excited and immediately recruited Emily Johnson, a mutual friend of ours and the only person I know with bike touring experience! Most people, when they move to college, they take a plane or pack up the family minivan... Emily rode her bike. Riding from Minneapolis to Chicago, she arrived just in time to start her first year at North Park. We had the beginnings of a team.

Things were moving quickly, and before we knew it, Rich Johnson was working on our behalf, providing wisdom, encouragement, and finding us money to make this trip a reality. We had countless meetings with leaders from all over campus and the Covenant Church. And the trip was taking shape and we were getting closer and closer to this actually happening.

We decided to open the trip up to a few more people, and after a series of interviews, we decided to add three more to our growing posse: Dylan Maysick, Marcus Simmons, and Andrea Buchanan. Now we were a real team.

Since then, we've met weekly, sometimes twice a week, getting to know one another, praying together, and dreaming together. The vision for the trip came together organically and through prayer and counsel.

OK, great, so that's how the trip came together. But why go on a bike trip? Good question. In response, here's an excerpt from the giant proposal we put together during the planning stages:

• To engage the discussion of justice in the Church
• To learn about justice and social justice efforts from those that we meet
• To provide information and raise awareness for issues of justice / compassion in Zambia and worldwide
• To mobilize local churches to make a difference in these areas

Our Causes:
Spark Ventures – Their primary goal is helping the vulnerable children of Ndola, Zambia through food and shelter, education and healthcare. Their strategy consists of partnerships, sponsorships and volunteer travel. T his is one of North Park’s Global Partnerships.

Acirfa – Their goal is to make a difference by providing high-quality bikes to underprivileged Zambians. Acirfa has partnered with Zambikes, who operate a bike factory in Zambia that employs Zambians to make bikes for Zambians. Through their efforts, they provide jobs and a mode of transportation for Zambians.

So here we are, six college students (two of us graduating in May) ranging in age from 19-22, brought together over a common goal: to be a part of God's kingdom work in the church today. We ride with an invitation, with the belief that God is active and at work to relieve the suffering in the world and to bring hope to the hopeless. God is moving and alive in the work to see creation restored and his people fed. For those of you who we'll soon meet , we look forward to the opportunity to learn from you, to eat with you, and to celebrate the presence of the Kingdom of God in our midst!

Peace to you, from Matt and "the team"

Matt Enquist, Grayslake, IL

Marcus Simmons, Longview, TX

Andrea Buchanan, Sioux Falls, SD

Emily Johnson, Minneapolis, MN

Eric Landin, Sugar Grove, PA

Dylan Maysick, Grand Rapids, MI

See you soon!