After more than 1,200 miles, the ‘I Will Go Ride’ team has arrived in St. Louis, Missouri, in time for the 61st General Conference (GC) Session. What began as an idea during the Covid-19 pandemic to get out, do some exercise, and meet new people resulted in a meaningful evangelistic initiative. Inspired by Kent’s great-great-grandfather, Thomas Kent, and pioneer literature evangelist Philip Reekie, the ‘I Will Go Ride’ team set out from Washington, D.C., to share the gospel with individuals they met along the way. The team of eight riders, led by Dr. Anthony Kent, associate ministerial secretary of the GC, and Dr. Torben Bergland, associate director of the Health Ministries department, carried copies of The Great Controversy and Your Bible and You in their uniforms to gift away.
Impacted by the many interactions and overall experience, Kent shared, “I have been positively shocked and surprised at the openness, acceptance, and warmth of those we’ve encountered. As I would share the story of Philip Reeke and how he rode a bike, you could see the lights going on in the minds of those we spoke to. So many people said, ‘I promise you I’m going to read this book,’ almost as if to say, ‘I value how much you’ve gone through to get this book to me; the least I can do is look at them’”.
Bergland noted a meaningful interaction he had with a man he rode up to on the side of the road the first day of the expedition. Upon handing the man a flier about the “I Will Go Ride” and explaining the ride, Bergland noted the man’s subtle interest in reading the Bible and immediately gifted him a copy of Your Bible and You. Bergland commented, “I don’t think I’ll ever see him again, but it seemed like if he was on the brink of starting to read the Bible and if the Holy Spirit is calling him to do so, maybe this encounter could be the thing that would bring him over the threshold and who knows what that may lead to.”
During the ride, Kent also met a widowed man named Delbert. While Kent shared with Delbert the story of how his great-great-grandfather came to know Jesus after the death of his wife, Kent noticed tears forming in Delbert’s eyes. To his surprise, Kent learned that Delbert’s wife had passed two years ago after 58 years of marriage. Kent said, “we gave him the books, and he was so appreciative. When we first rode past him, I thought, ‘this guy’s probably too busy,’ but then I thought, ‘no, just go back and check.’ So I went back, which led to one of the most significant visits of the whole trip. It was a beautiful experience.”
Upon the conclusion of the GC Session, the team will continue the journey by cycling to Lexington, where they will arrive in time for the Called Convention. Although the “I Will Go Ride” is almost over, the lessons and experiences gained along the way spiritually nurtured the riders and have encouraged them to ponder what else can be done to share the gospel with the world. “There are people who are open, receptive, needy, truly needy, and hungry for something,” Bergland said.
While reflecting, Kent concluded, “the dream with ‘I Will Go Ride’ is to inspire Adventists to share Christ with others actively; it doesn’t matter how you do it. I will go swim, I will go run, whatever.” Sharing Jesus with others can be as simple as riding your bike. What will you do?
To learn more about the ‘I Will Go Ride,’ how it began, the cyclists, and how to support financially, go to https://www.iwillgoride.org/. You can support the ‘I Will Go Ride’ by praying for the team’s safe travels and the Holy Spirit’s blessing along the way. You can also follow the daily journey of the riders and send messages of support at https://www.instagram.com/iwillgoride.