Sunday, April 29, 2012

AM I READY TO RIDE A BICYCLE 600 MILES IN KENYA?

On May 6, our team heads for Kenya--and our preparations become a lived experience

Well, I’ve done just about everything I can to get myself and eight other team members ready to pedal 600 miles in Kenya.  We board international flights on May 6 (next Sunday), arrive in Nairobi on the evening of May 7, and take an initial tour around the Kenyan capital on Tuesday, May 8.  That begins twelve straight days of covering between 40 and 70 hilly miles per day in a loop that takes us west and north of Nairobi.

I hope you will follow our journey via our blog. Here’s the address: http://bikekenya2012.blogspot.com.  I intend to post photos, videos and updates each day.  I also plan to share tweets from Kenya.  If you use Twitter, follow @BikeKenya2012, or you can view all my comments and photos at www.twitter.com/bikekenya2012.  These are my sincere attempts to bring friends along for the ride, to share the experience, to thank you for your prayers and support and, somehow, to plant seeds for understanding, vision and growth among us all.

There are a thousand details to sweat for planning and leading an excursion like this.  As for training, our team members are making a real attempt at getting ready for riding at mile-high+ altitudes and anticipating major ascents and generally hilly terrain.  But there is a preparation of mind and heart that matters as much to me as logistics and physicality.  Here’s what I’m thinking about that.

I am contemplating the faith reality that in grace God ever goes before us and meets us where we go.  With that, I am free to bracket my detail orientation and penchant for on-timeness and follow-through in order to be open and empty enough to experience and receive what no one can anticipate.  I can set aside presuppositions regarding cultures and critique of varying expressions of Christianity in order to observe, take in and appreciate the diverse dynamics of people, relationships, communities and faith we may be privileged to experience.  I am conditioning myself to slow down, focus on being there (a FISH principle) and, as much as possible within my role as team leader, to practice what in Swahili is known as “hakuna matata” – no worries.  I am extending my practice of contemplative prayer – making/taking more time than usual to think and pray reflectively through the Scriptures and the daily experiences of life.

So, this is more than just a fundraising cycling event (it IS that; have you yet sponsored us with a per-mile donation to build the new ICCM school?).  It is something of a spiritual journey.  I invite you along for the ride.  I welcome your prayers.  I welcome your support.  I welcome your responses.  And I hope not to return unchanged.

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