February 8, 2023
Cycle Recycle/Love Out Loud
Sometimes God calls us to follow him down an unknown path, into a world where we have not been or one that requires more of us than we think we have to give. It is actually not an uncommon way that he works. I haven’t ridden a bike in 43 years (nor at my age will I) and I can’t do much more than change a tube. When God called me to start this bike ministry, to walk through this door, he didn’t tell me the whole story. I probably would have said no, if he had.
God has breathed life into this ministry every step of the way. Cycle Recycle is a program under Love Out Loud WS. We collect used bike donations, refurbish them and, with the help of our community partners, give them away to kids and families in under-resourced areas of the triad. From 2018 until now, we have provided 1,111 bikes to kids and families in partnership with our community organizations. Our mission is to spread the joy and freedom of safe bike riding to all neighborhoods. We give a helmet and bike safety instructions to each person who receives a bike. Just in the past year, we have partnered with the National Cycling Center, YMCA, Spark Community, FosterCare, several churches, WSFCS, Christ’s Beloved Community and, of course, Gift Mart. In 2023, we are expanding to connect with more partners and to offer a mentoring program to youth to learn to repair bikes.
The number of bikes is staggering, but it is not who we are. God has created a wonderful community of Christians to come to work and serve together all across the city. Every family who donates a bike has a story to tell us and feels blessed to participate. Every person who comes to our warehouse to help get bikes ready loves being in the community of Christ and serving the Lord. And, of course, imagine how many children’s lives we have touched. Each child receives a written note attached to his bike that this bike has been given out of Christ’s love for him.
I love building community, being a part of God’s Army, where I am not the General. I identify as a missionary, always looking to God for my sustenance. Earlier last year, as I drove to the warehouse I talked with God about my worry. I had a plethora of donated bikes, but almost all my crew of mechanics had disappeared. I asked God how we could survive without anyone to repair the bikes. He responded, “Where did you get your mechanics in the past three years?” I said that I didn’t know, they just showed up every year. God reminded me that he had sent them and would continue to do so. Then he said to me, “Chester, you are so focused on what you don’t have and what you think you need, that you are missing my abundance that is right in front of you.” Huh? “I didn’t call you to fix bikes. I called you to spread the good news and to give away bikes to children all over the city.” What did God mean? Confused, I drove on and arrived at the warehouse. There waiting for me were three people whom I didn’t know, all of whom were connected with nonprofits working with at-risk youth, the homeless, etc. God had sent them at that time and place. I learned a valuable lesson that day. Always look for God at work around us. Abundance comes in many forms. On this day, God helped me to let go and look to him for his abundance. Cycle Recycling is flourishing today.
“Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.” (James 1:17)
– Chester David