In Phil 4:11 and 12, the Apostle Paul stated: “I am not saying this out of need, for I have learned to be content regardless of my circumstances. I know how to live humbly, and I know how to abound. I am accustomed to any and every situation — to being filled and being hungry, to having plenty and having need.”
That’s the same motto that the founder of Wheel Power Christian Cyclist, Judy Bowman and her team live. Wheel Power is used as an acronym that stands for Witnessing, Helping, Evangelizing, Encouraging and Loving as we Press Onward to Eternal Rewards. The team of cyclist made a stop in Kilmichael and then in Winona to rest at First Baptist Church.
It’s not hard to miss the group, their neon flag shirts makes them stand out. They’re a group of Christians biking across America to tell about the goodness of Jesus Christ.
Wednesday, they continued to Greenville and then on to Crossett, Ark., where they will pick up more cyclists and continue to Los Angeles. The ride is an open ride, some traveling the entire 66-day trip and others traveling for a week or two before returning back home and to their lives. But, until then, they’re ultimate goal is to share the love of Jesus Christ with everyone.
The founder Judy Bowman began Wheel Power after being laid off from her job as an assistant dean at Liberty University. She said she was led to begin cycling across America proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
“Everyone goes out in cars to witness, no one bikes and witnesses. So, I said, ‘Okay God, whatever you want me to do.’”
That was over 20 years ago, and Wheel Power is still going strong. Bowman said this tour is their reunion tour. She’s cycling to Los Angeles to her 50th class reunion and called her friends and asked them to join her in this ride.
As the Apostle Paul writes, in whatever state Bowman finds herself in, she’s content as well.
“Look what I found,” Bowman said holding out a quarter, dime, nickel and two pennies.
To many people, it’s just change. It’s found in their couches, the bottom of a purse and probably thrown away, but for her, it’s provisions.
Donations have helped to provide a new trailer after they lost theirs as well as Elfie, a $12,000 solar powered trike that was donated to Bowman. She was excited about finding the quarters.
“It isn’t much. But, God will provide, He always does,” she said. “It won’t be enough to fill up the van because we have to drive, but it will be enough to fill us up.”
That faith isn’t seen much now and days. A child-like faith that God can do the impossible and all you have to do is believe. That’s the faith that Bowman has and that’s the faith her team has, not only in God but in her.
Bowman reaches out to churches for their lodging, and they agree -- providing them with a place to eat, sleep, shower and do their laundry. They have to constantly remain hydrated and right now, the sun is not their friend. But, they endure. They don’t get weary in doing good, they can’t.
In Winona, Edwin, Ron, Lola, Christy, Richard and Judy all stopped for a break. They are cycling along Highway 82. They began near Augusta, Ga. coming through Georgia and Alabama before entering Mississippi, stopping to rest in Columbus and then continued cycling up 82.
Along the way, another cyclist, Ron left the group to return back home to work. In Arkansas, they’ll pick up more cyclists before continuing on. Each cyclist has his or her own story of how they entered into the group.
Edwin, who’s from Alabama, met the cyclist group when they traveled through Southern Alabama.
“He met up with us one day, and we haven’t been able to get rid of him,” Bowman said.
“I met them at a Greyhound bus station,” Edwin said. He said his family were dairy farmers and when they got out of the business in 2003, he decided to bike.
“How long have I been a Christian?” Edwin said. “I’ve been in the church all my life, agreeing with what’s being said. But, I was 41 when Jesus told me He needed me to agree with Him and not to what was going on in church.”
And these are just a few of the riders that cycle across America with Bowman. They’re from all walks of life. They have no connections to each other or any ties. But, the journey that they’re all on, to hear “Well done, my good and faithful servant,” at the end of this life is what connects them. And their spirits are so infectious, people first stop to figure out who they are and what they are doing, and they end up staying, some telling stories of their own.
The cyclists are a living scripture of Jesus’ last commandment, “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.”