Combining personal passion with ministry

South Africa! Malawi! Italy! Spain! All cycling destinations for keen two-wheeled teams, as they pedalled far and wide to share the love of Christ—and they prayed fervently for God’s leading, as they passed through new landscapes, some without a known church. The ride began at Transform, OM’s summer missions and outreach conference in Europe, then spread far and wide. This is the cyclists’ story, shared by Michel, Chris and Gert.

“It is amazing to see what God has done with a few crazy people on bikes cycling to Transform, then South Africa, Malawi, the UK and other places,” reflects OM Sportslink* leader Chris Welman from South Africa, “and now back to the original spot connecting with the Transform conference in Europe. This warms my heart, and maybe it could inspire others to start…”

South Africa

Chris had first heard of this ride when a couple of leaders cycled to Rome, Italy, for the Transform conference. By then, he already had some experience with a similar cycling trip; in 2012, partnering with another organisation in South Africa, his team cycled from Johannesburg to Cape Town on a ‘road less travelled’, passing through a lot of small villages. In 2014, they reversed the trip, starting in Cape Town, ending in Johannesburg, this time adding outreaches and training at specific ministry points.

Malawi

By 2015, Chris was ready for a new challenge. He decided to bring a cycling team across the border into Malawi, a country where everyone cycles, and bicycles are used to transport literally any and everything.

Although the main focus was prayer, the team was able to also hand out audio Bibles and facilitate training in sports and orality. “We were nine people on bikes, and amazingly, felt that God had handpicked each one,” recalls Chris. “We saw much fruit coming from this Malawi tour, also from within our own hearts. It has helped me to focus my prayers.” Later Malawi teams have also stopped to pray in Mangochi along the former slave road.

Gert Daling (Netherlands) did his first Ride2Transform in Malawi in 2016, with a team of 17 people, and the following two years, he co-led the same outreach.

Highlights from Malawi

The areas through which the teams cycled are, for the most part, considered least reached, meaning people living there have had little to no opportunity to hear the gospel. Ministry teams were often placed in different locations along the way to train the local people, and the cyclists distributed audio Bibles in the local language.

“I remember coming up a hill in Malawi that we had passed in the two years before,” recalls Gert, “and someone specifically asked for an audio Bible because she had previously received one from us. She and her people had listened to it many times; now it was broken, and they needed a new one. These people remembered us, which gave us an opening to talk and a sense of building on past experiences.”

Another year, a team member went into several mosques, giving audio Bibles to imams, and they also handed out audio Bibles to people of influence in the community. “We went to a school right next to a mosque, and before we knew it, we were standing in front of all these kids sharing our story and sharing about Jesus,” says Gert.

Europe

And in 2018, the Ride2Transform was back in Europe, with Gert leading the cycling team during the Transform conference in Spain. The team cycled through many towns without any known evangelical witness and stopped to pray in strategic places. Gert shares, “We were able to give out some Gospels of John, but not as much as we had hoped for. Yet it’s still important that the cycling happened. We don't know what God is doing through our prayers and through the few Gospels that were handed out. And for the coming years, the foundation has been laid to organise more Ride2Transforms during the Transform conference.”

A highlight for the team in Spain was the very first night’s accommodation. They stayed at a rehabilitation centre run by a Christian group. In the evening they worshiped together and shared their testimonies. Roger Ballester (Spain), who was driving the support vehicle, was specially moved by this fellowship; many times as he prayed he found his eyes filling up with tears.

“Even though we did not speak the same language, we still understood each other,” shared Gert, “many conversations with him and others were made possible through Google translate.”

The first Ride2Transform, in Italy

“The idea of combining a personal passion with ministry was the initial reason for the cycling teams,” explains Michel Di Feliciantonio (Italy). “In the first two Ride2Transform teams (2013-2014), we cycled through Italy; first from Turin to the Transform conference in Rome, and the following year, from Venice to Rome. Each year the route was approximately 850 km, and the longest distance in one day was 220 km.”

Along the way, the team visited churches, enjoyed fellowship over a meal and gave a presentation about OM. The second year, fundraising for Syrian refugees was included.

“For me, it was a great way to connect with local churches, share about ministry, get to know my fellow riders, test my limits and, through that experience, I also got to know the church I now pastor!” summarises Michel, smiling.

All three outreaches are still being done annually; Ride2Transform Malawi and Ride2Transform Europe are organised by OM. Please contact your OM home office if you’d like to join.

*OM SportsLink International serves to equip, empower and mobilise local OM teams and partners to be effective in ministering in and through sports, in order that athletes and coaches, local churches and communities can make the most of sports within their culture through sharing the gospel in relational and relevant ways.

Share this Resource

Leave a Reply

You might also like:

Missions Mobiliser South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe mobilising role exists to mobilise Jesus followers to live and work among the least reached in an authentic manner. We do this by inspiring, connecting & equipping these Jesus-followers to and for God's mission.
Full Details
Administrator – Training base South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAcross OM, we have a strong need for people gifted in administration to aid ministry taking place on the mission field.Those with administrative skills are needed in almost every facet of ministry to ensure efficiency, and that tasks, paperwork and coordination involved in organising people and events is accomplished with completeness and attention to detail.If this describes you, consider here how you can use those gifts to see more vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached
Full Details
AIDS Hope – Meetse a Bophelo Centre South Africa    Go & Visit    1 April 2023 - 28 June 2023To bring hope to people affected and infected with HIV & AIDS.
Full Details
Head of Catering – Training Base South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe OM South Africa REACH Training Base serves from 20 – 120 people meals every day. The head of Catering will make sure the catering department is run effectively, ensuring that the staff and participants are fed healthy meals, and creating an environment of learning and service for all people involved in the catering department.
Full Details
Tshega Mission South Africa    Go & Visit    1 April 2023 - 29 June 2023Reaching people of the local community.
Full Details
Diaspora Hope –  the Least Reached South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleIn the Mother City called Cape Town you will find our team in many different places sharing the love of Christ with people. Some are on the streets in various market areas and others are at our Empowerment Centre called: Chanua. Chanua is a Swahili word meaning “Thrive”. We don’t want people to simple survive but to thrive both in a practical way and spiritually.
We befriend foreigners and neighbors from other faiths.

Full Details
Team Members South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleSince our beginnings, we have been driven by a deep conviction that everyone should have the opportunity to hear the gospel at least once. Sadly, there are still thousands of peoples and communities that have never heard about Jesus, ever. Do you share our passion for these people to hear of His fame and renown? Come. Join one of our teams and be amazed at how God is working in lives and communities around the world, and be amazed at how He works in your life, as well. We are looking for you, and many more like you, to join us on this journey to see vibrant communities of Jesus followers established among the least reached all over the world.
Full Details
REACH South Africa – Team 2 South Africa    Go & Visit    12 August 2023 - 30 June 2024Do you have a desire to grow in your faith? Do you want to be trained in practical ministry skills and want to be challenged to put your faith into action? Come and join our REACH program! Together with other people from all over the world, you will be trained, discipled, guided to find your place of strategic involvement in seeing Vibrant Communities of Jesus Followers among the Least Reached.
Full Details
AIDSHope Team Member South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you young or young at heart and love to live and work within a community? 

AIDSHope is in need of team members with a variety of practical skills and a passion for ministering. These ministries include outreach to those using drugs, Kid’s club, after-school programme (primary school), youth discipleship.

Full Details
AIDSHope Administrator South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAre you passionate about using your administrative skills for a ministry in Mamelodi, South Africa? 

AIDSHope is in need of someone with administrative skills who is also willing to be involved in various areas of our ministry.

Full Details
Head of Maintenance – Training Base South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleThe OM South Africa Training Base operates on a 5-hectare plot near Pretoria, Gauteng.  We need a full-time Maintenance Manager who is able to keep up with the general maintenance of buildings and land, by leading a team of local paid general workers and volunteers. This person will need a background/understanding of building maintenance and of leading a small team.
Full Details
Short-term Missions Coordinator and Personnel Administrator South Africa    Go & Live    As soon as possibleAcross OM, we have a strong need for people gifted in administration to aid ministry taking place on the mission field.Those with administrative skills are needed in almost every facet of ministry to ensure efficiency, and that tasks, paperwork and coordination involved in organising people and events is accomplished with completeness and attention to detail.If this describes you, consider here how you can use those gifts to see more vibrant communities of Jesus followers among the least reached
Full Details