Original post found here.
Editor’s Note: For more information about Biker Sunday, click here.
I was milling around inside Skooterz Bar, waiting on the annual Biker Sunday parade to begin, shaking hands and thanking as many people as I could possibly touch with the love of my Lord, when I came across a couple of men who were waiting also. I introduced myself and thanked them as I had done with countless other people that day. They introduced themselves as leaders of the local Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW) chapter.
It was a moment in which it was obvious they felt overlooked (Matthew 25 – the “overlooked and neglected” message) and wanted to be included. We exchanged addresses and I assured each other we would try to work together to escort returning soldiers from the airport.
Two months passed. Feeling an urge to visit with them, I called and made an appointment to come to their “house,” the VFW Bar. The Biker Chaplain met me outside (no one is allowed in the bar if you are not a member or with a member). When we got inside we began to make plans for a Veteran’s Day parade and bringing in a traveling Vietnam Veterans Wall that would be in our area around that same time. (Our church’s biker ministry, Hard CORE Motorcycle Ministries, joined in the ride 150 miles away to bring the wall, then rode in the parade.)
We began meeting at the airport to escort soldiers. On one such trip, Hard CORE M/M was invited to help host a dinner for a group of Marine reservists heading to Iraq in early 2009. Things went so well that we were invited to their “private” Christmas party.
One of the major driving forces of Biker Sunday is Toys For Tots. This year’s donations totaled $29,500. However, due to national guidelines, stuffed toys cannot be given away. On that first day in the VFW bar, I learned that the VFW ladies make bags for every child at a local elementary school (that happens to be very close to our church) where most of the children live at poverty level. Each child receives a stuffed toy along with the bag. The VFW needed 459 toys, but only had about 100. I told them, “I think we can help with that.”
We connected them with our Marine contacts who oversee Toys For Tots. Without hesitation, the gave 400 stuffed toys. Isn’t that like the Lord, using a pastor to connect the Marines and the VFW!
Not only have we been blessed to touch these children and the VFW, but also we learned of a family who is struggling because the husband is in Iraq. We received a list of needs and will be able to help them have a Merry Christmas.
We continue to be amazed at the Lord’s work through Biker Sunday and its effects on people in our community throughout the year.