What do we leave out? Whose story – which story? So many powerful, God filled, God led, God inspired and empowered stories and so little space and time!
Every morning we heard of a war and the total men and women who were KIA’s (Killed In War), POW’s (Prisoners Of War) and MIA’s (Missing In Action). On the final day, our leaders read off a total of all wars:
- 1,023,460 KIA’s
- 2665 POW’s
- 167,824 MIA’s.
Then he said, “These are not just numbers. Each one is some Mom’s son, wife’s husband or someone’s Mom.” You could hear a pin drop in the building as we reflected on the cost that was paid for our freedom. This is why we ride!
A Run For The Wall group took a photo in front of the Lincoln Memorial. These people came from all across the nation. There were so many people that we filled the front steps of the memorial! These are the men and women that our team served without agenda. We are not here to recruit them to our church; we are simply saying thank for our freedom. We handed out over 12,000 bottles of water and sports drinks, picked their broken biked off the side of the road, went to the hospital with them and, when they desired, we prayed with them. We prayed with Gold Star moms; with hem struggling with the effects of a war long forgotten by many; we prayed for healing of sickness; we prayed for alertness and wisdom from our leaders. There has been more opportunity for ministry this year than ever before.
One lady stated that our “light” caused others to have courage to step up their faith. One man who attends many outreaches with his biker ministry said that he had done more in two days in the camp at DC and the Pentagon Parking lot than he had done all year. We all felt the power of God was working through us.
Below is a photo of the 2009 volunteer team in front of the Pentagon parking lot. Look at the estimated 750,000 motorcycles behind us! It was awesome to watch our team of 84 people minister and volunteer. Many times you could see the team praying with someone behind a trailer, a tent, or around a bike! We had 70 bikes on the ground at different times and a total of 44 involved in Rolling Thunder in WashingtonDC. This was the largest team to date; our first effort had only four riders!
We have included pictures of Bo Pearson, Biker Missionary for IPHC, praying with two of our men who rode the Missing Man formation, Rev. Kevin McBride and Sr. Airman Scott Reeves. Both men shared how moved they were by the opportunity to ride in the memory of the fallen and/ or lost.
Rev. Mike Dodson, Jr., of Tree of Life Ministries in Lynchburg, VA brought up 1000 sandwiches to serve Run For The Wall. ParkwayChristianCenter again did a great job at FairfaxLake and Twin Oaks IPHC also did a great job at BurkeLake. Many men and women came by to “hang out,” eat a burger, and then receive prayer and a lot of love and special attention. At the FairfaxLake camp a man gave his life to Christ and has checked into a 7-day detox facility! Once he has finished detox he plans to check into our ministry for recovery in the Redemption Ministry Conference.
Our efforts were so appreciated that RFTW has committed to not only have us next year but will contribute to our effort. Gary became very emotional as the Route Coordinator Greg Smith hugged him and thanked him. Just around the corner Don Morris, Director of Merchandise explained to several people that Mission: M25 is funded by churches to thank the veterans. They were very emotional and very appreciative of Mission: M25’s contribution to the run.
Men sat around the campsites and shared how they felt received and appreciated finally. One Viet Nam vet from Montana said he received three “Thank you Viet Nam Vet” statements. – the first since he has been home from the war. This is still hard to believe since the war happened over 40 years ago.
Thanks to all who kept us in prayer, followed our reports and sent us words of encouragement. We look back over our shoulder and are very thankful for the opportunity that we have had to touch people who have sacrificed so much for this country. We believe the church would be proud of the men and women who have served for you. We feel better about the ministry as we departed this year than we ever have.
On a sad note: Poppy, Rev. James Washman, has led the Hydration Trailer effort since its conception. He informed us this is his last year to serve on the Run. We are deeply thankful for his years of service on this team. James will continue to be involved in Mission: M25 but will not make this long grueling trip due to health issues. We will be praying and looking for someone to step up and lead the Hydration Trailer ministry.
As we close, we remember what Dr. Ron Carpenter said about Mission: M25: it will only get bigger. We are excited about the future of this ministry for it seems that God is expanding it on all fronts.
Until next year,