Sunday, August 31, 2008

The end and the beginning

After an awesome parade led by three different police escort teams, we arrived at Liberty State Park around 2:30 p.m. on Saturday, August 30.  While traveling through the city streets of Jersey City, police cruisers leap-frogged from one intersection to the next, with sirens blaring, alongside our two-block long entourage.   Two young boys on bicycles slipped into the line and stuck with us until the end!  They were grinning from ear to ear, and many of us cyclists greeted them warmly.    It seemed so appropriate to me that the some from the highways and byways had  been brought aboard for the 'glory ride.'  They didn't have the helmets, the gloves, the jerseys, the spandex, or the fancy bikes, but they were thrilled to be caught up in this wave of excitement.  After 30 minutes of trying to stay 'tight' - tighter than we ever had to be on the tour - we finally saw the Statue of Liberty in the distance. We still had about 20 minutes more of cycling down a very long bike trail/board walk before we got close to the water and the cheering crowds.  Among the throngs of friends, family and onlookers, we saw our friends George and Pam Arwady.  What a surprise!  George is the publisher of the Newark Star Ledger and had a photographer on duty for the tire-dipping ceremony, which involved a few words from the chaplain, saying the Lord's Prayer, and then slowly walking toward the water, where a sailboat with a big sign "New City Kids welcome Sea to Sea cyclists - Congratulations!"  Trevor Rubingh is the pastor of this church which offers a lot of support for the youth in the community, including teaching youth how to sail!    After about 20 minutes of wild cheering, jumping in the water, etc (by the younger cyclists) all the bicycles were put up on big trucks, we boarded buses and all went to the Eastern Christian Middle School where most would be sleeping that night.  After quick showers,  we were bused again to Cedar Hill CRC for the closing dinner and banquet.  Then we claimed our van (which was driven by Cindy Kuperus from to Cedar Hill from New City Kids Church - it was there because Kyle Sandison drove it from Michigan to NJ earlier in August) and followed our hosts back to Eastern Chr. to pick up our bikes as well as Claire and Hank's and then to the place where we'd sleep that night. 

Thanks to Gordon and Shirley Kuipers of Cedar Hill CRC for their hospitality on Saturday evening and Sunday morning and for escorting us from their home in North Haledon almost to the front door of Pompton Plains RCA by 8:30 a.m. Sunday. We wanted to attend the 8:30 a.m. outdoor service because we knew that Rich's brother Andy would be preaching there that Sunday.  He had served at Pompton Plains RCA for over 20 years until his retirement a few years ago.  His wife Mae, our sister-in-law, was playing the keyboard and Andy  preached from the passages II Kings 4:42-44 and Matthew 14:13-21 "I Need a Miracle" and made three points: 1. God is a God of abundance, 2. There are times however when we do feel trapped, and 3. We sometimes need to 'BE' the miracle.   It was during that last point when Andy asked us to stand - the two people in yellow shirts, one of whom "looks a lot like me."   He talked about what we had done as part of the Sea to Sea bike tour.  He pulled out a few pages of printed material from the Sea to Sea website and told about the purpose of the tour in very cohesive terms - specifically reading from the description of what Partners Worldwide's indigenous development model.  He suggested that people may want to be a part of making a miracle happen by supporting the Sea to Sea goals.   After the service we handed out bracelets and people gave us money.  We collected $420 in cash and checks.  Thanks, Andy and Pompton Plains.  

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