On Saturday I had one of the nine pastors on our farm ask me if I would preach at his church in Masunda. I agreed and, feeling a bit adventurous, told him we would ride bicycles (as he always does) instead of taking a vehicle. His eyes grew a bit (this should have been my first hint), but he smiled and said ok.
We started off at 8 in the morning on Sunday with some nice bicycles the farm just bought for the nationals. Before leaving he told me that it would be a "bit more difficult" because it had just rained and the short-cut was washed out so we had to take the long way - making the trip roughly 2 hours to get to the church. We started off (at a pretty speedy pace) and within 30 seconds I thought my legs were going to fall off. What was I thinking? I hadn't been on a bicycle for years...since my injury in college I haven't run or kept any real good physical shape...and we were about to be riding on bush tracks full of hills, rocks and create-as-we-go paths. I had to laugh at myself - always overambitious! The trail immediately turns into a fairly large incline and by the time we made it to the top we were both dripping sweat (it was probably 80 degrees this day).
For the next 2 hours there were times i was sure my legs couldn't pump one more rotation on that darn bike! I would say "Are there any more big hills?" Peter would assure me "no sir, no more hills," only to find that just around the next bend was another monster (a few of which we had to push the bikes up because of damp sand that seemed to eat our tires...) We arrived at church just in time to begin the service and they immediately wanted a speech from the Makua(white man). They probably thought i was drunk as i walked toward the small mud and straw church (my legs felt like noodles)! We held the service - which was great - and were able to really get into a good discussion on being born again. We prayed for lepers, blind, and some others with ailments and had a great meal of nshima and eggs.
I felt bad seeing their short water supply so I gave them my water jug that was still half-filled with water. Peter and I said our goodbyes and started back, although this time my legs hurt from the moment we started pedalling (hahaha...stupid boy). About an hour into the journey back (we were making much better time b/c most of it was downhill) - I saw a chameleon and jumped off of the bike to grab it before it scurried off. These creatures are beautiful! They change colors by the moment and have some really wild eyeballs that are on the ends of cones that extend from the sides of their heads. I played for a minute (a good alibi for catching my breat) and then we were off. I was so hot that I took my shirt off for the journey back (biggest mistake of the trip). We had one more hill to climb (about 4 football fields long) until we were all down hill for the next 2 miles that runs us right into the farm. I had convinced myself that after the hill all of my problems were done...we made it to the top and had a small strech of straight rode when BAM! Peter's tire blew. We had to walk our bikes down the hill and into the farm...by the time we got back i looked like a giant lobster. Nationals were pointing at me and asking why i was so red. We all had a good laugh. I walked into the house and collapsed on the couch as I yelled to Jessi, "never again!" I wanted to go for the experience and I felt stupid knowing that Peter makes that trip 2 times a week to fulfill his role as a pastor. I was humbled, but encouraged knowing that we have faithful men on this farm who sacrifice a lot in order to lead even a small amount of people to Jesus Christ (there were just 20 people at the church).
So the next time you are in Africa and someone tells you to join them on a bike ride, take my advice and offer to drive! Thought you would enjoy this story...just another Sunday in Zambia...