As I was riding my bike this morning, I found myself rejoicing in a hobby I enjoy immensely (despite the humidity!). I thought of how I had to give it up for a season due to injury and how I was so glad to be back on the bike again. There are so many freedoms and physical abilities that I too often take for granted.
Then I thought of the men (and women) I have the privilege of serving through FOCUS Ministries. Though some would only call them convicted felons, I call them my friends. Yes, some of my friends have made poor choices. And some of those choices have been separated from men and women from their families for 2 days, 200 days, or even 20 plus years!
Some people say, "They deserve it!" or "It was their choice." To those people I would say, you may be right. However, I would also challenge said persons to sit down and have a real conversation with my friends. Hear them share about the struggles of active addiction, the pains they wrestled with in their families of origin, or life situations that lead to such poor choices. I believe your heart would open and compassion and understanding would rush in.
The Real Victim
One thing is true in all of this no matter what. The real victim when it comes to incarceration is the family unit. Mothers separated from children, ashamed of failures. Fathers absent from a role God designed uniquely for them. Children looking for answers, hope and direction so they too don't end up behind the walls one day. Every single person feels the effects.
Riding Builds Understanding
On September 1 & 2 I will be riding back-to-back centuries. That is 2 days of 100-mile rides on one weekend. To me, this is a challenge of mental toughness and physical endurance. However, it doesn't even compare to the toughness and endurance needed for families to survive and thrive during a family member's incarceration and re-entry.
With that said, I ask you to help me use this 2-day bike ride to raise money for the children of incarcerated families. As I endure 2 tough days, I ask you pray for prison-affected families and the many tough days they have to endure. Maybe you could give $0.25, $0.50, or $1 a mile. The good news -- 100% of the money raised will go to benefit East Tennessee families through events like Returning Hearts Celebration and Angel Tree!
Thank you in advance for your gift. Click below to become a donor and a promoter!