Week #7 – The Week I Reached The Arctic Circle, on Aug 15th 2013

Journal notes and photos from the week I reached the Arctic Circle…


Exit Glacier flows out of the Harding Ice Field, just outside of Seward, Alaska.

Day 42 – Monday August 12th

I departed Kenton Curtis’ apartment in Anchorage and rode to the other side of the city, out by the zoo, to Bubble’s house. Bubble’s is a friend of Danna Flowers (that I had stayed with in Johnson City, TN). What an idyllic spot and house! Bubbles had her Harley Switchback at the ready, garage door open. We said “hello” and I offloaded the majority of my stuff from the bike into the garage. We decided on the spur of the moment to ride to Seward. It’s a ride that I had wanted to do. South, out of Anchorage, past Potter’s Marsh and about 15 miles down the road was Beluga Point, where you’re can spot Beluga Whales. A lot of people were there, climbing the craggy outcropping of rocks, taking photos. They say that it’s one of the most scenic drives in Alaska, with the mountains skirting the road and views of glaciers running down them. The road is long and straight in some parts with small scenic lakes and fir trees lining the road. It’s an amazing drive. We arrived at Seward and had lunch at Nellie’s. We bought ice cream next door, took some photos, gassed up and started heading back. It was quite cold but I had plenty of layers to keep me warm. We rode out to Exit Glacier and took photos of the glacier streaming over between the mountaintops and downward. Marshes, silty glacial rivers, rocky rover beds everywhere– I’ve been amazed by the ruggedness of them.  The weather was stunning and perfect. We met some of her friends (a whole load of bikers) that had congregated at Girdwood. When we got back to the house Bubbles shared more of her story. She works for Chevron in environmental prevention, owns 3 trucks, owns 3 motorcycles, scuba dives and sky dives. Once she jumped out of a plane above the Blue Hole in Belize, landed in the water, got her scuba gear on and dove the Blue Hole. She’s done 436 sky diving jumps. Jump 167 she broke her femur (it came out of her leg) and tore her aorta. Life threatening. On jump 269 she fell 1,500 feet without her parachute (failed to open) and hit the ground, she did a karate roll (learned as a child) that saved her. She broke her humorous bone on that fall and it scared the living daylights out of her. On Jump 167 she was given a 20% chance to live on the operating table and a 10% chance of getting any normalcy back. She made it, miraculously. Now she hikes, sky dives, scuba dives, enjoys hashing (a combination of running and orienteering invented by the British army in Malaysia), and runs marathons. She wears a cross but believes in higher beings, not God. She grew up a Roman Catholic. The cross she wears around her neck (along with mother’s and brother crosses) was made from her mother’s wedding ring. She lost it once on the beach. She found the cross in her bra. A friend found the chain on a 3-mile stretch of beach in the sand (without a metal detector). The chain was whole and the clasp was not broken. How did it come off? Sounds like a miraculous story to me. She works 28 days on and 28 days off. She works in Angola and loves it there. She flies from Anchorage to Angola every month. What a commute! She’s learning Portuguese, hopes to get a full-time residential position in Angola, and then perhaps one in Brazil. She’ll keep her house. Eventually she wants to go to Houston to work for the corporate office, gain a management position and work her way up the corporate ladder.

Mt. McKinley. I was very fortunate to see the mountain on such a clear day. It's a rarity.

Mt. McKinley. I was very fortunate to see the mountain on such a clear day. It’s a rarity.

Day 43 – Tuesday August 13th

Rode from Anchorage to The Perch hotel (cabins) in Cantwell, halfway along the northward journey to Faribanks. Cantwell lies just outside Denali National Park. I was supposed to stay with a Couch Surfing host, Lindsay Wallin, but she cancelled at the last moment. Her work schedule changed and she wanted to go on a hike with her boyfriend. The room was costly (as you’d expect in the middle of nowhere next to a national park) but it was worth it– a cabin in the woods by a stream, with communal showers, a log cabin restaurant with a deck and a view overlooking the mountains of Denali. Simply stunning. I thought about completing the goal set for me– “take a dip somewhere really cold.” The mountain stream was certainly freezing but it was shallow, very rocky and fast moving. I decided against it. I rode into Denali National Park in the evening. I had the roads to myself and tore them up. I jad been told to go around 9:30pm when all the bus loads of tourists had left the park for the day. The sun set as I rode home, turning the mountains a vibrant red color. Today would have been my Dad’s birthday if he were alive. He would have loved what I am doing. I talk to him sometimes when I ride. I promise to be safe. It’s also my girlfriend’s birthday– Happy Fake Birthday Evie! Her mum didn’t put the correct date on her passport, so Evie has a passport birthday and a real birthday. Kind of like Paddington Bear.

Denali National Park just before sunset. I was told to go at 9:30pm when all the tourists had gone. I flew through along the park roads. A wonderful feeling.

Denali National Park just before sunset. I was told to go at 9:30pm when all the tourists had gone. I flew through along the park roads. A wonderful feeling.

Day 44 – Wednesday August 14th

Rode from Anchorage to Fairbanks to stay with Lissie and Milton Mayer de Brun– another couple who were Couch Surfing hosts. They are Christians who have lived in South America and around the USA, including lovely Mount Dora in Florida. The day was a perfect ride. Finally, no rain. I left the Denali Mountains behind me, passing people parked alongside the road who were picking blueberries. It’s blueberry season and everyone is out with buckets. Beyond the mountains the land flattened out into tundra of pine forests and marshlands. Quite different. Just outside of Fairbanks there was smoke from forest fires started by the military. There are a lot of military bases in Alaska and sometimes they have bombing practice which starts forest fires. They will just let the forest burn unless it is threatening homes, or if it is approaching First Nations people’s land– by law they have to put it out immediately if it is on First Nation land. Milton grew up in Uruguay and Argentina. He is Argentinian, the son of a missionary to Bolivia. Lissie is from Ohio. They met at university in California. Both are Physical Therapists and go where they are sent. They’ve been sent to Alaska until October. Then they hope to settle down somewhere and start a family. They don’t know where they are going to settle yet, probably in Florida.

I made it to the Arctic Circle. Goal attained. I really wasn't sure that I would make it. Even on the day that I did make it I still wasn't sure. Very happy that I did.

I made it to the Arctic Circle. Goal attained. I really wasn’t sure that I would make it. Even on the day that I did make it I still wasn’t sure. Very happy that I did.

Day 45 – Thursday August 15th

An auspicious day. Would I make it to the Arctic Circle? I hoped I would make it. But I didn’t know what the Haul Road would be like or the weather. It was raining for the first half of the journey and the prospect of the Haul Road scared me. But the weather cleared up before I got to the dirt road. It had wetted down the dust, so it was probably perfect. I stopped outside Livengood at the Carlson family gift shop– they have 23 kids (most are adopted). We chatted for a while. Then the Haul Road. It was hairy at times. Nerve-wracking. But I made it with gritted teeth to the Yukon River Camp with great elation. There I secured a cabin and gas before heading out. My bike made it on reserve fuel into Yukon River Camp! It was the first day I had filled up the extra fuel tank. It weighed heavy on the back and I was very concerned about the rack snapping off. It bounced behind me on bumpy roads. “God, please protect it.” I met Ian (an English guy) at the camp, riding a Triumph 800XC, the green one, the one I love. We rode together up to the Arctic Circle. We made it. A great feeling of elation. We took lots of photos. There was park rangers there with certificates. They were just about to leave but waited for us and I got my certificate for reaching the Arctic Circle! After a while I finally had the place to myself, put the GoPro on my helmet on the ground and made videos and soaked in the moment, thanking God for it. God granted me the accomplishment of getting there, the place to myself, and all the equipment in working order. It wasn’t a disappointment. I was elated. I couldn’t believe it. I was giving thanks. And at the same time a cloud of nerves shrouded everything because I had to ride all the way back down the Haul Road. I was still concerned about the rack snapping off the back of the bike– fuel tank, tent, mattress, bug repellant and everything else that was back there. I returned to the Yukon River Camp and slept in the Crew Quarters– the Ice Road Trucker crew rooms. Quite nice. Very neat and clean, pine furniture, white and beige linens, and communal showers. The rack on the back of the bike survived the journey.

The Alaska Pipeline. I followed the pipeline for a good 180 miles. It cuts a swath through the Arctic tundra from Prudhoe Bay southward.

The Alaska Pipeline. I followed the pipeline for a good 180 miles. It cuts a swath through the Arctic tundra from Prudhoe Bay southward.

Day 46 – Friday August 16th 

This was the return to Fairbanks from Yukon River Camp. I had previously decided that I was going to ride further north to Coldfoot and beyond to Wiseman and the Endicott Mountains. But after the nerve-wracking journey up the Haul Road the previous day I decided to head back to Fairbanks instead. This would put me 2 days ahead of schedule. I got up at 8 and looked outside. Oh no! Terrible! It’s raining! Just what I did not want to have to deal with on the Haul Road. The mud was already present. It had been raining for quite some time. I waited and waited for the rain to stop. It didn’t. I waited until 2pm but I could wait no longer. Motorcyclists were arriving from Fairbanks. I listened to their stories. They said that the road wasn’t that bad but the fog was awful. If they could do it then I could do it. So I packed up the bike. I was scared honestly. Pretty terrified. I had a fully loaded bike not designed for this kind of terrain. I didn’t know how the bike would react in the mud. Just as I set out a guy rode up on a Yamaha V-Strom. We said hello. He was going to eat some lunch. I set out and left him behind. I video’d the first portion of the muddy Haul Road. The mud was slippery but I could deal with it. Sure enough the fog was very thick at some points. Perhaps 20 yards visibility. The most scary moments were when the trucks were coming at you, or from behind. You had to pull over and there can be a big drop off. You don’t want to get to close to the edge and slip. My visor was foggy. My visor became muddy. I wiped it with my hand hoping the fog water would wipe it clean. It rendered me sightless through parts of the visor. I stopped. I took out the thermos that had water in it, to clean my visor. It turns out it was orange juice– darn! I had forgotten I had put orange juice in there. Fortunately my dry hand sufficed to clean enough mud off that I could see again. I was scared all the way. I stopped at the Carlson Family gift shop to buy 9 postcards and send them. Another goal complete– cards to the Cannata family and to Regina Blunker’s friend, along with Ben, Evie, MSPC, mum, etc. I rode into Fairbanks. Up ahead there was a guy on a motorcycle. I decided to follow him– he might know where to get the bike washed. The Bonnie was covered in mud– you could not see the lights any more. My legs and boots were covered also. I pulled up to a light next to him to say hello. In our brief talk I figured out that he had no idea where he was going either. Someone had told me about Sven’s Hostel and I had noted it in my phone. I told him at another light and we decided that we’d head there. Sven waved us in to a spot for each bike– a welcoming Swiss guy. We pulled off our helmets and the other motorcyclist was the guy that I had spoken to at the Yukon Rver Camp. We went to LaserWash to clean the bikes. It took 4 laser washes each to get them clean. Then we went to dinner together. We talked all night. It was extremely helpful for both of us to have someone to talk to about what we’d both just been through on the Haul Road. We both needed someone who could understand. Noah is an IT guy. He works for AOL. His dream is to drive the Dempster Highway up to Inuvit.

River views. Leaving Alaska behind now. Goodbye Alaska!

River views. Leaving Alaska behind now. Goodbye Alaska!

Day 47 – Saturday August 17th

Everyone got up quite late at Sven’s hostel. Showered and all the rest. Packed everything up. Dropped everything into the lobby by 11am and then off to have breakfast. Noah and I had breakfast at the Cookie Jar. I had massive pancakes for the first time. Noah eats a lot. At about 1pm I really needed to get on the road. I had sent a couch request to Lauren and Alex in Tok, Alaska in the morning, and surprisingly they offered me a room for that night. I had to get to Tok by 6pm when I promised, and on the way I wanted to go to the Chena Hot Springs. It was a little strange and sad saying goodbye to Noah– you get used to being around people and then all of a sudden you have to leave. I headed to Chena Hot Springs but then when I saw the second sign it said 56 miles (the first sign I read as 27 miles). Well, I turned around because I decided that I wouldn’t be able to get to Tok by 6pm. The weather was sunny. By the time I got out of Fairbanks the rain started and didn’t end until the afternoon of the following day. The temperature started to drop. It was going to be highs in the 60’s with typical temperatures in the mid 50’s. It was going to be a cold and wet couple of days. The road was long and nondescript– straight with fireweed and pine trees. I met Lauren and Alex at their house. It was the next one past the “Jesus is Savior” billboard. Both young. They met on couch surfing. She is from Ohio, and he is from Alaska. He is a gold mining engineer. He tests samples that the field crew bring back from their prospecting outings. Lauren and Alex’s dream is to drive their truck down to South America. They are making a list of places to go, including the Uyuni Salt Flats.

Back into Canada! Into the Yukon Territory. Wide open spaces and a road that goes on for miles, mountains and glaciers, and stunning Lake Kluane– the largest lake in the Yukon.

Back into Canada! Into the Yukon Territory. Wide open spaces and a road that goes on for miles, mountains and glaciers, and stunning Lake Kluane– the largest lake in the Yukon.

Day 48 – Sunday Aug 18th

There was a lot of rain from Tok to Destruction Bay. Then beautiful sunshine around Kluane Lake to Haines Junction. Fireweed, mountains, glaciers. Hoped to see the northern lights. Nope. Although I did have dinner at the Northern Lights Restaurant. I crossed the Canadian border without issue. The road for the 20km between the US and Canada is all gravel. Again, I found myself concerned about the rack snapping off the back of the bike. The last two gas stations on the US side were without gas. I will ride with a filled gas container for a while– it’s too risky out here to go anywhere without extra fuel. There’s no guarantee when you roll up to a gas station, with only fumes left in your tank, that there will be any gas available. The rack on the back of the bike does keep coming loose. I keep tightening the bolts to hold it together. At Haines Junction I met a father and daughter who had flown up from Vancouver with the hope of seeing a grizzly bear. The road to Destruction Bay was really bad– the permafrost had buckled, cracked and rutted the road. It was a bumpy ride in the rain. Pretty miserable going. But then, towards the end of the day, the skies opened up into blue and I smiled. The day warmed up from cold to bearable and the scenery changed again– Kluane Lake came into view, with a “wow.” Turquoise waters, the largest lake in the Yukon, surrounded my glacier-covered mountains. I thought again of going for “a dip somewhere really cold,” but chickened out– the bitter wind was howling through the mountain valley. It wasn’t jumping in the ice cold water that concerned me, it was getting out, all wet, and standing in that wind. The scenery would have been perfect, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. I felt distant from God. I don’t like the feeling. The thought crossed my mind that distance from God is not something that God has initiated. The distance is because we focus on other things. We focus on ourselves. God waits patiently. He knows we’ll return.



Categories: Dreams, Goals, Travel

Send-off and Week #1

It’s been a surreal week full of ups and downs but it’s been nothing short of miraculous in many ways. Myself and everyone involved have been blessed and touched. It began on Sunday, June 30th, at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church. Another powerful and inspiring sermon from Rev. Hallie Hottle, a moving and funny look through the morning’s papers with Rev. Dudley Rose, a laying on of hands by the whole church (we all came together as a family to unite in one cause and it was a brilliant moment for everyone), music provided by the talented MSPC band, food trucks, a ton of hugs, smiles all round, photos, celebrating, people writing their dreams on colorful strips of ribbon to be placed on the church (send your all-time dream to MSPC and help build a massive art project of dreams), a purple start line and MIle Marker 0 created by the Youth Group. I broke through the start line at a little after noon, escorted by two police cars through Miami Shores and red lights.

Videos taken at the send-off

Mile Marker 0

Hallie’s send-off speech

The Start, as seen from the helmet cam on the motorbike

The newspaper article in the Miami Herald Neighbors section about the ride can be read by clicking on this link: Miami Herald newspaper article

Since then it’s been a God-filled journey.

Day #1 – made it to Jacksonville. MSPC member Lisa Sullivan put me in contact with her friend John Sinclair who made me very welcome in his house. We talked all night. A great person who has dreams of owning his own food truck and taking it across the United States. It rained on and off on Day #1, from around Boca all the way to Jacksonville.

Day #2 – hung out in Jacksonville for a while. Again, Lisa Sullivan sent me on a a couple of side missions. I was more than happy to oblige. With no exact route or itinerary planned I began to realize that there is no wrong turn on this journey. And even though some calamities have occurred, they still have not been “wrong turns”, they’ve been “very right turns”. Side mission #1 was to visit Riverside Presbyterian Church and meet with Pastor Steve Goyer. I did. We spoke for a while. I told him of my journey. He asked me questions. We prayed together. I think he was either kind of skeptical or taken-aback by my appearance at his church. Who knows. Then side mission #2: meet Lisa’s friend Christina for coffee in one of the best coffee shops in town. Christina and her daughter Stella arrived and we talked for a while. I’m sure it was needed. Christina recently split from her husband and it’s all fresh and raw, and I am sure needed to feel people around her in support. I hope we made a difference (“we” = God, myself and everyone involved in this journey. I may use “we” quite a bit in future writings). I’m sure we did make a difference. And then I headed towards Savannah, Georgia where I bedded down in a Motel 6 for the night. It rained all day on Day #2.

Day #3 – It rained nearly all day. Sight-seeing cut down to zero. But, never mind– sight seeing is secondary on this journey. The people I meet are primary. I made it to Augusta, Georgia where I stayed with Roger and Melissa. Before I arrived at their house I stopped at the Augusta Triumph store, which turned out to be closed for the week. A lady in a white truck pulled up and said, “they moved”. She told me her name was Ellen and was the owner’s wife. Her husband was a block down the road working at the new store. His name is Tom Clancy (not the author, although Tom does have some fun signing autographs once in a while). I had stopped to get some rain gear because my trousers turned out not to be waterproof. I bought some waterproof pants and I was dry after that. Roger and Melissa are the salt of the earth. They were very generous. Loved to cook and eat. Roger is a Staff Sargeant in the Army, he plays bass guitar. Melissa is very wise and obviously really loves God. She was in a wheelchair for five years and then was at church one day and heard the call to the altar. She heard a voice say, “Get up now, or you will never get up.” She got up and walked to the altar. Now that’s a miracle. I felt very much like I was supposed to be in their home. That God had taken me there.

Day #4 – It rained all day. No sight seeing. (Do you sense a recurring theme yet?) The goal from leaving Augusta was to get to Danna Flowers (couch surfing) in Johnson City, TN. That’s a 247 mile journey. I only made it 157 miles and then I got a puncture. Once, in the middle of nowhere the bike sputtered and stopped in the heavy rain. I got it started again about 10 minutes later. I carried on. Continuous rain and sometimes it was heavy. I made it to South Carolina, and then I made it to North Carolina. I only made it 2 miles past the North Carolina Welcome Center and then the bike sputtered out again in the heavy rain. Perhaps 10 minutes later she started again. I pulled out onto the expressway. I did so quickly to get up to speed with the traffic. The back wheel skated on the tarmac from side to side under me. I thought I’d hit a patch of oil. I straightened her out and kept on going for perhaps a half mile and the back end started to snake more violently. What was that? I pulled off the expressway again and looked at the back tire. To my amazement it was completely flat. I called Progressive Insurance for a two truck. Multiple calls, lots of texts from family, MSPC family, Danna Flowers, and Facebook messages from people in Miami kept me going. I stood by the expressway in the pouring rain, at the top of the North Carolina mountains for 5 hours, until 10:30pm. After dark was very disconcerting. The tow truck drove me to Danna’s friend’s house– Craig Cox in Weaverville. I got there almost at midnight. He poured me scotch and made me an egg sandwich. Lo and behold he greeted me wearing a Triumph hat, he had two Triumphs in the garage, and he knew how to work on them. After the agony of standing in the rain for 5 hours, his house was a God-send. Wonderful! What are the chances of being towed to a stranger’s house and he’s a Triumph aficionado?

Day #5 – July 4th. Happy Independence Day! It rained most of the day. Everything was closed. But guess what? I was in a warm and beautiful house, with a stranger changing my tire, who roped in another friend to help (who just happen to work at the Triumph dealership in town) who had all the right tools. Craig Cox and Blair Harris to the rescue! Oddly, Blair’s mother’s name was the same as my mother’s name, and her other son is named Andrew. Craig, Blair and Trish were all lovely people who saved me a lot of trouble and money. They also saved me on July 4th! What are the chances of getting your bike fixed on a national holiday when everything is closed? I’d call it miraculous. We fixed the puncture and got the bike back on the road… in the rain… which made Craig laugh because it hadn’t rained in a while, until I got close to the bike. I rode to Danna Flowers house– my original destination planned for the night before. I rode through the Tennessee mountains in more rain. My ears popped on the way. When I came down the other side of the mountains the sky began to clear, the mist and rain disappearing. I arrived at 6pm. Danna and her boyfriend, Norman, cooked chicken, broccoli, the best pesto sauce in the world, and corn on the cob. We sat on the car porch talking about her friend, Tommy Danger, who ran from Seattle to Daytona for cystic fibrosis. Tommy is a dynamo. We talked about raising money for charity and I told them what I was doing on the ride. Danna told me about a clinic for breast cancer screening that she opened in Manila in her free time (vacation from work). In the background– the sound of fireworks rising in the sky.

Day #6 – A long ride of 407 miles, 10 hours, to Columbus, Ohio. My next stop– Gregory Young’s house. Greg is another person I had found a place to stay with via the Couch Surfing network. It rained for half the day. I discovered that my rain jacket was beginning to disintegrate. I’ve owned it a week. There’s been a lot of rain and usage. Another lovely house to stay in. Unbelievable. What a series of blessings. Greg is a fellow motorcycle enthusiast and the same age as myself. We sat on the back patio talking of motorcycle stories, camping, music and children. Children… Greg lost his daughter to suicide last year. It’s not been long. He hibernated in the house for 9 months. He only just begun to come out. I am sure that I visited him for a reason. I know God cares about Greg and sent me as a visitor. It’s more than myself that was sent– there’s a whole bunch of followers to this journey that now have Greg in their thoughts and prayers. Greg’s a good guy. He needs a break. He needs people rallying around him in an extremely difficult hour of need. He’s coping admirably. I feel honored and happy that he’s come out of his understandable hibernation and invited me into his home. Invited all of us into his life, in a way.

Day #7 – Saturday. A 200-mile ride to northern Detroit City to stay with my old friends Treger and Rob. It rained for half the day. The amount of rain has definitely begun to decrease. Back in the 2000’s I we all worked together in the advertising world in Miami. Detroit has been good to these two good people. They both own their respective companies, live in a beautiful house, with two beautiful children. Treger founded and owns Humble Design– a non-profit organization that furnishes homes for people coming out of shelters and homelessness. It’s a remarkable venture that began with one house and one family. Humble Design has grown and has furnished and provided homes now for over 260 families. These are families that were previously living out of shopping carts or plastic bags. These are people that are often well educated but ran up against some hard times, i.e. you and me possibly. Treger and her company gives them a new start in life and helps way beyond just providing a furnished home– they help with jobs and social services and much more. The furniture is all donated to the cause by the public. The cost is about $1200 to furnish a single home for a family. Humble Design needs your donations to be able to keep doing this. They are a 5-star rated charity and 98% of donations are used to help the families. When children enter their new homes they don’t play with the toys first. The first thing they always do is go to the bed. The bed is the best thing to them. They haven’t had one before. It always ends in tears… of joy.

It’s been a miracle-filled week. Stressful at times. Miami and Facebook followers have kept me going at times. At other times it’s been God who’s pulled out all the stops and shown me that He’s here, along for the ride, making sure that’s it’s not totally easy… because He has things to show me… reassurances, companionship and promises.





Categories: About, Charity, Dreams, Goals, Motorcycles, Thrills, Travel

Supporting UrbanPromise

In March of this year four things happened all in the same month.

1) Rev. Hallie Hottle at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church led a Lenten Sunday School class on “The Promise Effect”– a book of studies written by President and Founder of UrbanPromise International, Dr. Bruce Main. I attended those classes.

2) Bruce Main visited Miami for the Grand Opening of a brand new UrbanPromise Miami center in Little Havana.

3) Rev. Hallie invited Bruce Main to speak at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church while he was in Miami for the Grand Opening. A man very much in high-demand as a public speaker, he accepted the invitation and gave an informative and impassioned presentation on how the greatest danger to under-resourced children throughout our nation is nihilism– no hope, no love, no purpose. Within our midst, within our own cities, there are children who are in desperate need of love, hope and a sense purpose. Children that currently aren’t fulfilling their potential– that aren’t given a chance to– need places like UrbanPromise to develop.

4) Having been through the Sunday School classes, and before Dr. Main spoke at Miami Shores Presbyterian Church, I decided to look into the organization a little more. I learned that all 6 North American cities were located on my already-planned route!

And so….

I asked Rev. Hallie, who had studied classes under Dr. Bruce Main at Princeton, and who had visited and volunteered at the first UrbanPromise center in Camden, New Jersey, if she would introduce me to Dr. Main.

Rev. Hallie made the introduction. Hallie and I ran an idea by him: how about including a visit to the six North American centers on my Arctic Ride For Dreams? Perhaps we could do something together? He liked the idea!

And so…

As I ride the 15,000 miles from Miami to the Arctic Circle and back again, I will be stopping at all 6 North American centers to visit with the centers and the children there. I’ll volunteer if they need a helping hand, speak to the children, and collect the children’s dreams. We’ll send the dreams back to Rev. Hallie to be written on ribbons and tied around Miami Shores Presbyterian Church.

It’s my hope that the children will think about who they want to be, think about their dreams, and in writing them down and being a part of this, their dreams will have a little more focus– one step closer. We’ll be praying for their dreams, that they are realized, that God leads them through life to fulfill their potential and who they were created to be. That’s UrbanPromise’s promise– to help them realize and fulfill their potential.

We live in one of the richest nations on earth. I live in a city where people drive around in Ferraris and Bentleys. I live in a city of luxury condominiums and $20 million penthouses. In the midst of all this there is a section of society that is under-resourced and cannot afford after school daycare or summer camps. No place to go. No hope, no love, no purpose. Unbelievable when you look at what else surrounds them. But there is UrbanPromise here, as there are in 5 other similar cities in North America (and Malawi and Honduras).

As the USA tries to compete in an evermore competitive world shouldn’t we be making sure that our own are fulfilling their potential and dreams? We need them! And they need us. Without UrbanPromise these children run the risk of getting into trouble, going to jail, constant familial problems, no direction, no hope of ever realizing what they are capable of. They could be executives, great family leaders, mentors to other children, singers we love listening to, doctors, or leaders in our community– who knows! If there were no UrbanPromise centers, and people like you and I did not support them and volunteer…. Well, we’d all lose out, not just the children.

Everyone should be given the chance to fulfill their God-given potential. God created them to be just as special as you and I, with their own uniqueness and gifts. Should we ignore what they could bring to the table? Are we going to leave them to nihilism? Or, are we going to be overjoyed at the people they become– that they always had the potential to be? The answer should be a simple one to answer.

Please, if you are able– donate, volunteer, be a mentor, and watch a child (one of our very own) blossom.

More About UrbanPromise– Celebrating 25 Years!

The UrbanPromise Mission: To equip children and young adults with the skills necessary for academic achievement, life management, spiritual growth, and Christian leadership.

Twenty-five years ago the vision and mission of UrbanPromise was conceived in a dusty church basement in East Camden, NJ. A small group of college missionaries created a summer camp for neighborhood children– providing a safe, loving, fun and creative place for local youth to escape dangerous city streets. Highly successful, UrbanPromise centers are now in 6 locations in North America (Camden, Wilmington, Trenton, Miami, Vancouver, and Toronto), Malawi and Honduras.




Categories: Charity, Dreams, Goals