What’s in a Vacation?

MCC East Coast bike ride
Front row – Ruth Walter (Souderton), Sandy and John Drescher-Lehman (Souderton) Vernon Martin (Salford) Daryl Derstine (Blooming Glenn). Back Row – Len Walter (Souderton) Gene Kropf (Salford) and Steve Histand (Blooming Glenn)

by Sandy Drescher-Lehman, Souderton

Why would these 8 people from three different churches in our conference choose to spend 5 of their lazy days of summer vacation together, being NOT-lazy?

  1. They enjoy making the wheels on a bike go round and round.
  2. They wanted to help raise money to support Mennonite Central Committee’s project of planting trees in Haiti.
  3. Biking is their favorite way to stay in shape.
  4. They enjoy meeting other people from across North America who are making the same vacation choice!.
  5. They’re WILLING to sleep in tents for a week.
  6. They like to eat good food at the beginning and end and in-betweens of a good, hard day of biking.
  7. They know what an incredible gift it is to experience the beauty of God’s world, intersecting with healthy bodies and wholesome fellowship, all wrapped up in a good cause.

When I say that “All of the above” are the true answers, you’re likely asking, “Who WOULDN’T want to use their vacation to do that and how can I join this great endeavor?” Well, know that you, too, are welcome to join this ride the next time around!  Read on to learn some of the possible benefits.

Every year for the past 20, Mennonite Central Committee has sponsored a bicycle trip as one of its fund-raisers, alternating routes on the east and west coast.  Michigan and Ohio have also run similar trips of their own. This year, during the first week of August, the East Coast MCC ride was in the beautiful hills, under the voluptuously clouded skies, surrounding three of the Finger Lakes in northern New York. The group of 50-some bikers, including members of Souderton, Salford, and Blooming Glen congregations, plus another dozen staff who took care of the trip details of eating, sleeping and getting from place to place, raised over $60,000.00 – an exciting new record!  Thank you to each of you who sponsored one of us and to everyone who shares our passion for spreading God’s love throughout the world through the ministries of MCC.

I loved that bikers from 16 to 81 years of age, at all skill levels, could enjoy the same roads, worship in all of our different ways of noticing God’s presence, sing and pray together, and find out about each other’s families and the ministries we were returning to at the end of the week. Uniting around the things we had in common was energizing.  Sharing the tasks of camping was fun. Hearing new ways, from each other, of being God’s messengers in the world was inspiring.  And pedaling 300+ miles of roads that were hardly ever flat, was downright exciting, often exhausting and occasionally exhilarating!