Yesterday morning, I received an email notifying me that this guy would be biking through Fargo, having dipped his tires into one ocean, with his sights set on eventually dipping them into the other ocean that hugs our land — from sea to shining sea.
He’s not doing it for exercise, but for a purpose. Skip Rodgers has become deeply aware that Christians are being persecuted in the Middle East, and rather than just lament the atrocities, he’s doing something about it; something requiring sacrifice, and bringing wider awareness to what we don’t always hear in the mainstream media.
Skip’s calling it “Ride for Hope & Mercy,” and he’s set aside virtually his whole summer for the cause. If all goes as planned, he’ll be wrapping up the ride August 9.
People are dying needlessly, in unfathomable ways, and Skip can’t pretend any longer that it doesn’t affect him; that the souls being tortured are not his brothers and sisters in Christ. He’s realized they are relying on his voice as theirs go silenced.
I’d hoped to possibly meet Skip during his breeze through town. But a rough ride between Bismarck and Fargo put him a little off schedule, and my own busy, and rather inflexible, day prevented it — though I would have loved hearing his story firsthand.
At the very least, I wanted to share what I could to give Skip a nod. As I type this, he’s resting peacefully, hopefully, in a bed in our city, trying to get enough shuteye to give him a good start in the morning. He’ll be moving on from here, having passed through just long enough to rest and rejuvenate. Though his presence was fleeting, it matters that he made our city one of his stops, and I thought perhaps you might be willing to offer a prayer or two for his safe journey, and successful run at bringing awareness to those hurting half a world away.
I have to admit, when I read his blog update, I was thrilled to learn he’d met, on July 4, Monsignor Richter, pastor of the Cathedral of the Holy Spirit in Bismarck — my mother’s church. Monsignor laid my father and grandmother to rest, and holds a special place in my heart. Skip decided in their very brief meeting that Monsignor will not stay a humble parish priest forever; that God has broader plans for him. I’ve concluded the same in my encounters with him. But for now, we are blessed to have him in North Dakota, this faithful man of the prairie.
So, how incredible that Skip, this stranger passing through town, has connected with someone special to me. I suspect that the blessing of his Bismarck stop will cover him for the next 500 miles at least.
What do you think? Can you spare a moment to learn a little about what Skip wants to share? Find out more about his journey here, and read daily updates here. And above all, and if nothing else, please pray for Skip. I know he’ll appreciate it.
Skip, we hope you enjoyed your Fargo stay. Go with God!
Q4U: How does Christian persecution in the Middle East affect you?