There are a lot of great causes in the world where people join together and help those in need. I bet every one of you has a cause or two that you believe in. One of mine came to me about 9 months ago at the age of 59. You are never too old to have a cause, an epiphany or dream. In a way, I’m just a young kid with a dream.
I have grown in my faith through the church, adoration, and Fr. John Ignatius’ Patriarch Men’s Bible Studies. I have been challenged and encouraged by what I have learned and experienced from the men in the group. These relationships have meant a lot to me and have helped me become a better father, husband, and Christian.
Living here in Denver, I have become more aware this year of the freedom we have to attend church without the threats of violent persecution, injury, or even death. It saddens me that Christians in the Middle-east, where Christianity began, don’t have the same freedom at this time. With this in mind, my wife Lee Ann and I feel compelled to help those people who have been forced to leave their homes and countries for safety. We would like to try and make their lives better by supporting Fr. Andre Mahana and his efforts in the Middle-east.
Fr. Andre Mahana and Saint Rafka Mission of Hope and Mercy in Denver, supports several missions in Lebanon where over a million Christians and refugees have fled. Over 100,000 Christians and religious minorities have sought refuge in Kurdistan, Erbil, and Dohuk, Iraq. After hearing him speak about the sufferings and intense persecution these Christians are going through, I felt a strong desire to help them somehow.
This past summer, I became inspired by Fr. John Hilton, pastor of St. Mary’s Church in Aspen, who rode his bicycle across America to raise money for a retreat center at his church. I realized that this is something I could do and it gave me an inspiration.
With this being a Jubilee Year of Mercy in the Church, Lee Ann and I would like to be used by God this year to raise awareness of what our persecuted Christian brothers and sisters are going through, and raise money to help Fr. Mahana’s mission in Lebanon. I have been thinking about the possibility of riding my bike across the country for the past 9 months. As Fr. Hilton did, I plan to load up my bike with a tent, sleeping bag and a few belongings, dip my back tire in the Pacific Ocean at Anacortes, WA, on June 14, ride the northern tier of the United States, and hopefully and prayerfully dip my front tire in the Atlantic Ocean at Bar Harbor, ME, around August 9th. Along the way, I hope to share my faith, and raise awareness and money for those that are being persecuted for their faith.
When I’m 85 (God willing), I don’t want to gaze out of my front window and have thoughts of regret for having a good idea, but quietly dismissing the whole adventure because of fear, sacrifice, or as “crazy talk.” So I’m going for it.
With your prayers and help for the Middle-east, we can make a difference.
Thank you again.