PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — From May 1 to July 1 2007, six young adult participants from Anabaptist communities in the United States and Canada will ride their bicycles from Phnom Penh, Cambodia — through Vietnam, Thailand, and Laos — to Chengdu, China. Touring participants of BikeMovement Asia (BMA) will connect with Anabaptist and other various Christian congregations, as well as individuals and communities affiliated and working with Anabaptist agencies. In the hopes of beginning to realize global community through intercultural engagement, they seek to understand the day to day realities of their hosts and observe the joys and challenges faced by the local churches of Southeast Asia. In this way, they will be able to grasp more fully the dynamic issues these communities deal with, along with the factors that shape their theology and mission. BMA ultimately seeks to realize the potential for global Anabaptist community-building through open and engaging conversation.
The cyclists, Neil Richer, Adele Liechty, Nick Loewen, Tim Showalter (USA), Jesse and Nicole Cober Bauman (Canada), will begin their journey by meeting with Phnom Penh Mennonite Church members from May 1-5, before riding to Ho Chi Minh City. They plan to then travel north to Vientiane, the capital of Laos, cross into Thailand to spend time in Ubon Province, cut back through north Vietnam with a stop in Hanoi, and then spend their last weeks cycling through Yunnan Province, visiting Anabaptist communities in Kunming and Nanchong (Sichuan Province), China.
The issues BMA hopes to explore and the relationships they strive to develop along the way are relavant to North American congregations. Questions such as ‘Who are North American Mennonites in the context of the global church community?’ and ‘Who/what is the Anabaptist community of Southeast Asia?’ are integral to any conversation about the role of a congregation or community within the global Anabaptist partnership. Questions such as these will allow the riders to gain a better understanding of Southeast Asian Anabaptism and culture.
BMA participants are committed to recording and creatively reporting on their experiences as they tour Southeast Asia. In this way, anyone can join in the conversation through BMA’s interactive website, Bikemovement.org. BMA also seeks to address issues of structural inequality, which make global opportunities available to some and not others, by financially supporting young adults from the global south — where the majority of the Anabaptist church is located. BMA is committed to raising funds in order for more of these young people to attend international Anabaptist gatherings, in the hopes of allowing for a more accurate representation of the global community. Donations to this global sharing fund, as well as to the operating costs of BMA, can be made on the BMA website.
Nicole Bauman and Sheldon Good, 3 May 2007
For more information or request permission for a photo, please contact Sheldon Good at firstname.lastname@example.org or 215-723-8712.