By: Adam Lineberry
There I was, sitting on the pew. I was fresh into 2020, another year hearing the precious Word of God, and another year not sharing it with anyone but my family, and my already-saved Christian friends. You see, I had found a pearl of great price! But, like a wealthy art collector, I was hoarding this pearl for myself, and a noble few, rather than putting it on full display for everyone, prince or pauper, to be able to cherish with me. That pearl, the Person of Jesus Christ, had caused me, a dead man, to rise up out of a life of intravenous opiate and cocaine addiction, into a resurrected new life of grace, peace, and freedom in His Name.
On that pew that day, I heard a call. The siren sounded from Matthew 28:19-20 which says,
"Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
The alarm was still, and small, yet deafening. It was a call that overwhelmed my spirit, my senses... and my sensibilities. God was calling me to start a rehabilitation facility in Pigeon Forge, TN for drug and alcohol addicted men, women, and families as a display case for the pearl that I had found.
I presented this idea to my wife who told me I could do anything the LORD was calling me to do... except spend any of our money. No gas for the car, no money for food, no bus ticket to get there. I looked up and saw my old fixie bike that was hanging from our garage roof and said, "Well, it looks like I'll be riding my bike to Tennessee." She brushed of the comment with eyes rolled, just as one would expect a reasonable wife to do.
Now, it's here that I probably need to tell you that I hadn't ridden a bicycle more than a mile since I was fifteen, and I was now thirty-seven, hence the sarcastic expression from my help-mate. However, in that moment, the idea became a tangible driving force for me. I consulted with my pastor about the idea to bicycle the 600 miles to the mountains of Tennessee and trust God to start providing the needs for the ministry. However, since I knew no one there, he said he didn't feel that this was God's plan to get it started. So, I went back to prayer.
During counseling with my pastor at Luke 4:18 Fellowship in Mobile, AL, he mentioned that a cycling group called "Ends of the Earth Cycling" had finished a trip down the Emerald Coast at our church a couple of years before, and that Brian Burgan's (one of their full-time missionaries) mother attended church with us. So, he put me in touch with Brian, who helped me greatly in providing some much needed cycling wisdom, and connections with their Executive Director, Justin Hanneken, and a cyclist, Ian Goff, who had recently finished a 2,200 mile bike trip as a memorial for those who died in the Sutherland Springs Church shooting in Texas. Brian let me know that Ends Cycling was planning a Christ-centered ride in late March from Ft. Myers, FL to Key West, FL. I looked at the distance to Ft. Myers, did some quick calculations, and realized that, since it was already mid-February, if I left soon, I could make it. I went back to my pastor with the idea for the Redeeming Eden Cycle Tour:
A Christian Ride for Addiction Recovery and Counseling Awareness.
He gave it a thumbs up, and asked the church to purchase an 18-speed bike, some ultra-cheap bike-packing gear, and some Tidy Cats kitty litter
buckets for panniers (side bags) from Walmart to help fulfill God's call for my life. And with that setup, and fifteen dollars in my pocket, I left Mobile, AL on the 21st of February, 2020. I logged every day of my journey on YouTube on a channel called "Redeeming Eden."
Each day, I pedaled and prayed for someone's family that I met along the way, who had lost a loved one from drug or alcohol related death. However, while on my expedition from Mobile, AL to Key West, FL, the nation started to lock its doors because of the impending COVID-19 / Coronavirus. State parks, which is where I had mostly stayed, were the first noticeable closures. Then, fast food dining rooms, where I was charging my electronics and resting in the hot part of the day, were next to close down shop. Finally, I was in Tampa, FL when I got the news that the Ends Cycling, Key West Bike Ride 2020 had been postponed. I made it to Ft. Myers on March 20th, the day before the Key West Bike Ride was to start, where I was able to finally meet Brian Burgan. He graciously opened his home to me and let me stay for the weekend.
[Pictured Above] Sanibel Island, FL ride with Justin H., Brian B. and other Ends Cycling Friends.
At that point, my intentions were to continue to Key West on the previously planned #KWBR2020 bike route on Monday, March 23rd. Justin and Brian planned a thirty mile ride around Sanibel Island for that Sunday, the 22nd, where I was finally able to meet the sincere man of God, Justin Hanneken. That morning, on the way to ride around Sanibel Island, Brian got the news that the island of Key West had been closed to visitors. By the end of our scenic tour of Sanibel that day, Justin offered to pay for a plane ticket back to Mobile for me and my bike. With mixed emotions after pedaling 1,100 miles toward a destination I was no longer legally allowed to go to, I accepted the offer. So, that Monday, instead of cycling toward Naples, I flew home to Mobile, AL aboard empty airplanes to a wife and children who were very happy to have me back in my home-state.
Later this spring, when the nation sounds the all clear from the plague of the Coronavirus, my plan is to take a train to Maine, and cycle down the Eastern Seaboard to hopefully meet up once again with Ends of the Earth Cycling in Ft. Myers for a hopeful fall 2020 rescheduling of the Key West Bike Ride. It's amazing how things have changed for this author, who went from not having ridden a bike since I was fifteen, to not seeing a future without a bicycle, and bike-packing, in it. I will truly #PrayPedalRepeat for the rest of my foreseeable life.
In order to see what the Redeeming Eden ministry was able to accomplish in it's thirty-one days, and to fully understand how I was able to set out from Mobile, AL with a Walmart bike-packing setup and
fifteen dollars and make it to Ft. Myers, FL, I encourage you to go to the YouTube channel, subscribe, and watch the video logs from beginning to end of a journey that showcases that pearl of great price, God's undeniable providence, over and over again. Along with subscribing to "Redeeming Eden" on YouTube, find me on Facebook @ Redeeming Eden, a page of Adam Lineberry. I'd love to be in touch with as many cycle-minded, Jesus-loving people as possible. And lastly, if you'd like to partner with me in helping to seek and share the pearl with those burdened by the weight of drug addiction, you can donate through Venmo @EdensRedemption (or use QR code below). Thank you for your prayers, and as usual, I love you, and I'll see you later!
In Christ Alone,