Presbyterians Today

OCT-NOV 2017

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WHAT'S NEXT? 14 OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2017 | Pr e s by te r i a n s To d ay F or many years, neither Glen Sanders nor Robert Stubenbort knew they had similar passions. But once they found out they shared a love for bicycles, something special happened. Sanders and Stubenbort, members of Calvin Presbyterian Church in the western Pennsylvania town of Zelienople, are the backbone of a new Bikes Mission that culminated with close to 130 refurbished bicycles and tricycles being personally delivered to a Lakota Indian reservation in South Dakota in late June. All 126 bicycles were cataloged digitally by photo and description, allowing each bike to be targeted for a specific youth or adult prior to delivery. This avoided a hectic scene when the two U-Haul trucks packed with bikes descended on the Pine Ridge Reservation after making the two-day, 1,350-mile drive. "God presented the need to us, and that need is not just the Native Americans who could use the bikes, but also involving youth and adults in the community," Stubenbort said. "Our church has always been focused on praying and discerning what God is calling us to do. We have a heart for mission." Sanders learned firsthand 10 years ago how important a bicycle can be to someone living on a reserva- tion. He and his son made the trip to see a college friend who had married a Lakota Indian and found himself with an extended stay because of car trouble. Seeing that they were living in severe poverty, Sanders asked his friend what their greatest needs were. "She mentioned bikes," Sanders said. "This would give them trans- portation for work, transportation to go to the store, and it also gives a lot of kids an opportunity just to own a bike." Sanders quickly recalled all the bikes he sees on trash day around his neighborhood and wondered if there was a way his community could donate their broken-down and outgrown bikes to this cause. Despite the good intentions, the idea never gained traction and soon fell by the wayside. "There was this mission-centered drive, but at first when I shared it with different groups, it didn't seem like it connected," Sanders said. "It always stayed with me, but I guess it just wasn't God's time yet." Then three years ago, Stubenbort and his wife became involved in a five-day bike ride from Pittsburgh to Washington, D.C., to raise aware- ness for adaptive bikes for special- needs children. They learned that these types of bikes are extremely expensive and approached Calvin Church about donating funds for the initiative. Sanders heard Stubenbort's plea and saw the passion he had for bikes and for using bikes to help people. So Sanders approached Stubenbort about his idea to gather bikes for the Lakota Indians. While they were both agreeable, the idea lagged for some time before Stubenbort knew something had to be done. "There was a week where this potential project came to mind every day, and often throughout the day," Stubenbort recalled. "I just felt like God was telling me, 'Just do it, SERVANTS Ministry on wheels Bicycle repair ministry brings groups together BY MIKE GIVLER Glen Sanders repairs one of the many bikes that were donated to the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota through the ministry of Calvin Presbyterian Church in Zelienople, Pennsylvania. ROBERT STUBENBORT

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