Author Archive

Bike Out Hunger, some final thoughts

April 29, 2010

By John Hall

On this page, a lot has been said about the riders and why they are involved in Bike Out Hunger. The truth is, it takes a lot more people than a group of riders to pull something like this off.

Many thanks to Bobby Broyles and First Baptist Church in Ballinger; Kalie Lowrie and Katy Blackshear at Howard Payne University; Keith and Sharon Felton and First Baptist Church in Hamilton; Steve Dominy and his wonderful family at First Baptist Church in Gatesville; Mallory Homeyer of the Texas Hunger Initiative and the good folks at the World Hunger Farm; Carol Woodward and Shawn Shannon at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor; and The Fellowship of San Antonio. Your hospitality, spirit and generosity were overwhelming during these six days.

Carolyn Strickland and Joyce Gilbreath, you worked tirelessly behind the scenes coordinating places where we could rest for a bit and share about the hunger needs of Texas and around the globe. It has been a pleasure allowing you to use us to continue communicating ways people can help the hungry.

Kaitlin Chapman, Joshua Minatrea, Dennis Parrish, Brian Hurst and Rex Campbell, because of you, we were able to stay on the road and share our hearts through media efforts about needing to help the hungry. Thanks to you, Christ’s call to minister to the least of these has been magnified. Additionally, you were there for each rider with an encouraging word, a helping hand and a cool drink. You were essential.

Lastly, to each of you who prayed for us and supported us before, during and after the trip, thank you. Your support will provide food for hungry people in Texas and around the world. Your prayers were felt and made a drastic difference in our ability to ride. I have no doubt that because of your prayers, we stayed healthy and strong, riding beyond our abilities.

As I type this last post, I want to ask you to pray as our Lord taught us to pray. This time as you pray, think about the words as if they were being said by a person who does not know where their next meal will come from.

Matthew 6:9-13 (NIV)
“This, then is how you should pray:
’Our Father in heaven, hallowed be Your name,
Your kingdom come,
Your will be done
On earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
As we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
But deliver us from the evil one.’”

An opportunity

April 27, 2010

By John Hall

As I think about Bike Out Hunger, it seems this is more than a ride from Ballinger to San Antonio.

It’s an opportunity.

For many people, hunger around the globe and even in our state is something too large for them to wrap their minds around. Everyone thinks the entire planet should have enough food to eat. Hearts grieve for children near and far who go without basic sustenance. But people seem to be at a loss of what to do.

Bike Out Hunger has given people an outlet to do something. We’ve seen it time and time again. As riders have asked people to give to the offering in honor of the ride, individuals have jumped at the chance without hesitation. During the ride, a lady in a convenience store gave one rider a few dollars to feed hungry people. A cyclist riding down the street stopped by me and gave me $20 to help the hungry.

People care about hungry people and want to help. Bike Out Hunger has helped some of those people express that compassion in a practical way.

Praise God for their actions and prayers.

Bike Out Hunger Day 4 in Video

April 22, 2010

A beautiful state

April 22, 2010

By John Hall

The last few days have only reinforced in my mind how beautiful this state is. The rolling hills. The wide expanses of green fields. And of course, the wildflowers. They dot our state in deep blues, oranges and yellows to create a mosaic as unique and wonderful as the state itself.

Yet as beautiful as this state is, it has one significant stain. Texas leads the nation in childhood insecurity. Roughly one in every five Texas children do not know where their next meal will come from. For many other children, the free lunch they receive at school is the only healthy meal they eat on a regular basis and are on their own to scavenge for food on weekends and during summers.

The problem is so large, I can’t even truly wrap my mind around the statistics.

But I can mourn over stories.

San Antonio children digging through church dumpsters in an effort to find food.

An East Texas child who stole another student’s lunch and ran down the hall. When teachers found him, he had all the lunch in his mouth. It was the first meal he’d had in several days.

Children in the Rio Grande Valley who come to a church early every Saturday because they know they can find a meal there. Without it, they won’t have one that day.

Empathy is good. Action is better. How can you help feed a hungry child? How can your church reach out to children? Giving to the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger will help you feed hungry children around the world. If you call 888-244-9400, Texas Baptists staff people can you and your congregation start or expand a feeding ministry.

Together, we can make this state more beautiful.

Bike Out Hunger Day 3 in Video

April 22, 2010

Bike Out Hunger Day 2 in Video

April 21, 2010

This morning, I didn’t make it

April 21, 2010

By John Hall on day two of Bike Out Hunger

This morning, we had to ride 40 miles by 11:30 a.m. for a wonderful lunch gathering at First Baptist Church in Hamilton. That may not seem early, but it’s one of the shorter time periods we have to ride such a distance.

Many of the riders hustled along the course, running in a pace line and sharing the role as the lead. They rolled up to First Baptist Church right near the 11:30 cut off.

Me? I was roughly 12 miles outside town. My legs felt great. I was working hard. I simply couldn’t keep the pace that was needed to do what needed to happen. This morning, the van had to pick me up so I could make lunch. I needed help if I was going to make it there.

While the situation clearly isn’t the same, it made me think of the plight of the many Texans who are considered “working poor.” They have jobs. Sometimes they have more than one job. They work as many hours as they can. They’re doing the best they know how. Yet, some days they still can’t put food on the table.

Today, I had a group of people I could turn to help me out. They’re Christians, people who earnestly care about me, want to see me succeed and are trying to help me do just that. When I fell short, they were there to help me get the help I needed.

For many people looking for food, that’s exactly what churches are. They are their first source of help. They are a place where people can go to receive encouragement and aid. There, they can hear the good news and taste it as they bite into the food the congregations distribute.

Is your church a place where people can turn to for help when they need it?

Bike Out Hunger Day 1 in Video

April 21, 2010

Youth and enthusiasm are never a waste

April 21, 2010

By John Hall

An old adage says youth is wasted on the young.

After biking roughly two hours today with a group of Howard Payne students, I couldn’t disagree more. They are young and energetic. They care about others and want to help in any way they can. When an opportunity is presented to do so, they jump at it like they did today.

BSM Director Katy Blackshear shared with the students an opportunity to raise awareness of the hunger needs in Texas, and they eagerly took her up on the chance to remind others of the plight of hurting Texans. At noon, eight students joined us to ride during Bike Out Hunger. They talked about wanting to serve others, following Christ’s example of reaching out to the least of these and offering hope for now and eternity. They literally were a rolling reminder to the Brownwood community that people around them do not know where they will find their next meal.

I think the world needs more of that – more people who are willing to follow Christ no matter what that looks like, whether it be on a bike, in a Bible study, starting a church, serving as a missionary or inviting a neighbor to church. To me, that’s not a waste at all but something we should cherish and aspire to.

But why?

April 18, 2010

By John Hall

Tomorrow, a group of bicycle riders – pastors and laypeople – will begin a 6-day trip from Ballinger to San Antonio through Hamilton, Waco, Belton and Georgetown in an effort to raise money for hungry people as well as awareness that hunger is an issue in our home state.

Several people have asked, why are you doing a bike ride? The simplest answer might be, why not?

I can’t answer for everyone on this ride, only myself.

Last fall, I was faced with what one person called a “crisis of conscience” as Peruvian orphans were standing before me, around me and in my arms. Before support from the Texas Baptist Offering for World Hunger, these smiling children had no access to clean water and were severely undernourished. Without the help of Texas Baptists, they were lacking basics that most of take for granted.

Sadly, there are many children in need worldwide just like these orphans. And there are children in need of food here in the state that I love to call home.

Faced by the need, I had a choice – do something or forget I ever saw it.

Participating in Bike Out Hunger is my way of doing something. I can’t solve world hunger. But I can ride a bike a bit – each day of this trip likely will be the longest trip I’ve ever completed. And maybe riding that bike can help raise some money for children in need. Maybe someone else can discover there are children worldwide like I did and want to help them.