By Gary Burd
On November 2, 2015 at 0600 sharp, six motorcycles roared with excitement from the Hampton Inn on the west side of Jacksonville, Florida. Pastor Dave and Jennifer Ragan, along with members from both of their churches — Harvest Church and Destiny People Worship Center — were present to provide coffee, burritos and encouragement. Ellen Richardson, Kristen Coleman and Betty Ann Gee rode in the lead vehicle and were responsible for preparing each stop before our arrival. Presiding Bishop Doug Beacham, Carolyn Burd, and Herman and Carol Strickland were in the chase truck pulling a 24’ enclosed trailer to collect diapers.
As we departed, rain threatened in the dark skies above so we enjoyed the good weather before the torrential rain began to fall. Soon we were through the storm and sunshine prevailed until the last 156 miles. The final leg of our journey led us across the Alpine Mountain Range, with an altitude of almost 5,000 feet, where we experienced freezing rain.
Our riders — Pastor Wes Alvarez, Pastor Kevin McBride, Rodney McCray, Pastor Mark Richardson and Jude Rodriquez — pushed through “the wall” (pushing yourself beyond the natural limits) to complete the ride in 44 hours and 51 minutes! Words cannot express the endurance it took to complete this journey. Bishop Doug Beacham rode on the motorcycle behind me for one leg of the journey, drove the pickup and even helped change a couple of tires on the trailer. We would like to thank him for taking time out of his busy schedule as Presiding Bishop and General Superintendent to join us on this ride. His willingness to put his body through a hard day’s work is to be commended. While it is not customary for a man to carry a man on a motorcycle, it was an honor to have Bishop Beacham behind me. His presence was such an encouragement to our team.
We were thankful for the following people who greeted us at the designated stops along the way. Many cheered for us, provided coffee, financial donations and diapers.
- Pastor Steve and Yvonne Dow
- My Father’s Vineyard
- Bishop Mike Gray and Alpha Conference pastors Al Bethea, Joe Collins, Todd Erskine, Rick Fountain, Clayton McCormick, and Landon Willis
- Bishop Gordon Atwell
- Rev. Joe and Jennifer Connors
- Pastors Jerry and Donna Williams
- Rev. Travis Evins
- Bishop Scott Hampton and the Great Plains Conference — Pastor Hector and Maria Chavez, Danny and Glenda Stewart, and Rev. Stephen Walker
Representatives from Tucson Church International pastored by Rev. Demetrius Miles, and Life’s Destiny Church pastored by Rev. Bill Hepfner On the last leg of the journey from Yuma, Arizona to San Diego, California, Jerry Plent and representatives from M25 Ministries in southern California met us, provided a meal and rode with us across the mountain. When we arrived at our final destination around 3:00am on Wednesday, we were welcomed by Bishop Tom Murray and two pastors from the Golden West Conference — Rev. Bill Kennedy and Rev. Billy Wood. We were very thankful for their generosity in donating 7,500 diapers and paying for our hotel rooms! Way of Life Church, pastored by Bruce Balcombe, provided the celebration meal at noon on Wednesday, November 4. We would like to extend a special thank you to those who came out to support us along the way — for donating diapers, filling our tanks with fuel, cleaning our windshields, riding with us and making donations. It was a special treat to see the Run for the Wall family at several stops from Louisiana to Arizona! On November 24, 2015, we will ride in the Harvest Train parade in Falcon, North Carolina and present almost $6,000 in cash and over 30,000 diapers (with an estimated value of over $10,000) to Jonathan Hill, director of Royal Home Ministries. All riders are welcome to join us; please bring plenty of candy to give to the children during the parade!
Photo credits: Mission M25