As a mother to four teenage /young adult children, Scott, and soon to be daughter-in-law, Deirdre, Brooke, Adam and Blair , I currently find myself in a midlife season with fewer responsibilities on the home front than in years past. As a result, I am asking myself what this next season of life might look like. Since the inception of my involvement with Women Who Stand, I have been increasingly impressed to consider the resources I might offer that can benefit others, especially those who have few, if any advocates in their lives. This particular biking challenge allows me to utilize good health as a resource to promote wellness on behalf of others. Since traveling to Cambodia with Women Who Stand this winter, and observing first hand the work of World Relief, I am convinced that SITTING on a bike and riding for 5 days covering 365 miles is a most effective way to STAND, to actively align myself with the heart of God who says , to”speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, speak for the rights of those who are destitute.” Proverbs 31:8. I am so thankful for my family’s support in this effort, especially that of my husband Paul.
SUPPORT DEBBIE FOREMAN
Ride/365 allows me to bring together two things I love – bicycling and World Relief – though I’m not sure riding will stay at the top of my list after 365 miles. World Relief’s work in Malawi and Cambodia embodies its mission statement of empowering the church to serve the most vulnerable. In Cambodia, members of village churches are trained by World Relief to meet the spiritual, physical and emotional needs of those in their cell churches and communities. I am excited that the funds raised by Ride/365 will enable these local heroes to bring the nutritional benefit of moringa plants to their neighbors, especially those living with HIV/AIDS. It will also permit churches and community groups in Malawi to provide school fees and supplies to those orphaned by the HIV/AIDs epidemic.
I was blessed to visit Cambodia with several of the Ride/365 women in February and Malawi with my husband, three children and four other families in 2006. I am so grateful to my husband, Mark, for his encouragement and generosity in supporting my participation in this ride and so many other endeavors. As a World Relief board member since 2006, I have been privileged to meet many dedicated World Relief staff and volunteers in the US, where World Relief works with refugees and immigrants, and overseas where World Relief engages in sustainable community relief and development work. I am excited by the opportunity provided by Ride/365 to introduce many others to this wonderful organization that empowers the vulnerable to improve their lives, serve their communities, and experience the love of Christ.
SUPPORT KATHY VASELKIV
“OK, I’m in. What could be better than spending 5 days on a bicycle surrounded by amazing women from right here in Maryland who are committed to supporting and improving the lives of amazing but often voiceless women in Malawi and Cambodia?”
Economics isn’t a huge part of my job as an ICU physician and medical researcher, but I feel pretty certain that riding 365 miles to support 365 days of work in Malawi and Cambodia is good deal! I am equally certain that my family, friends, and even my dog Sam think I am a little nuts to try. I am honored to have their unwavering support, nonetheless. I am equally honored to have a very small place in supporting the lives of women whom I will never meet but who undoubtedly are far braver and stronger than I.
So, friends, let’s do this!
SUPPORT LEE DAUGHERTY
I am very excited to join this group of women on Ride 365. For the past 7 years, I have loved to ride my bike throughout Baltimore County to either enjoy a long, beautiful ride with good friends or to train for a triathlon. My bike rides have actually been all about me and what I need on a particular day.
When Kathy Vaselkiv approached me about participating in ride 365, I was very intrigued but my initial reaction was ” I can’t do it!” However, God has recently been tugging at my heart to do something more. I have thought about mission trips overseas or serving on a weekly basis with young children in Baltimore City. However, I have had to realize that my mission field right now is at home in Towson with my three young children and husband.
After praying about this ride, I began to think that I could surely ride my bike for 5 days and 365 miles to help raise money for the health and safety of many women and children in Cambodia and Malawi. It is amazing what these women have to overcome in order to provide for their families. I am looking forward to this ride while trying to help the efforts of World Relief.
SUPPORT ALLISON GERBEREUX
I always love a physical challenge, and some of the challenges I have conquered include climbing Mount Kilimanjaro and climbing to Mount Everest Base Camp. This RIDE/365 will allow me to challenge myself while benefiting others. My hope is that by participating in RIDE/365, I can raise funds to help women and children in Cambodia and Malawi conquer the daily challenges they face in life.
I have seen poverty in other countries, and have learned that we are all so very lucky. It is the least I can do to help those less fortunate. I am grateful for the opportunity to “pedal” along side World Relief as they work to bring sustainable change in Malawi and Cambodia.
Is it the journey, the destination, or the ride? It’s the ride that provides the challenge, but it’s the cause that makes it worth it.
My name is Beth; I have four children between the ages of 17 to 24. I am thankful for my friends’ and family’s support, in particular, my husband, Tom, who has always been my biggest supporter.
SUPPORT BETH BEHRLE
Riding a bike is part of who I am. I met my husband on a bike ride. I took my children to day care in a bike trailer. We often include bicycling as part of family vacations, and our son races mountain bikes.
At our church I have heard about Women Who Stand/Baltimore and have been looking for opportunities to become involved. RIDE/365 seems like the perfect opportunity. It is great to use my love of cycling to help the programs that we are riding to support. I am excited that the money raised by RIDE/365 will help provide school supplies and uniforms to children in Malawi so that children in vulnerable situations can also have a good education. And, as a very novice gardener, I understand crop failures. I, however, have the luxury to garden as a hobby, not as a means to feed my family. By riding, I know I am helping to provide good nutrition for women and children who struggle with poor health.
Riding 365 miles in 5 days will make me tired and sore. While it is in no way equivalent to the suffering associated with grinding poverty, it does represent a deeper commitment to solving and caring about the problem. I am excited to be taking that additional step. I am excited to participate in a more tangible way, to share this commitment, to get to know the other riders, to get others involved, and to help spread the message about the issues and what World Relief is doing to bring positive change in the lives of others.
I want to thank my family and friends for supporting me in this opportunity, especially my husband, Eric, who encouraged me to participate and who slows down so we can ride together.
SUPPORT ESTHER FREY
Maybe you are like me and you know little of women’s suffering and plight in places Malawi and Cambodia. Maybe you have a passion, (one of mine is biking), and marrying your passion with actual needs in the world honestly feels too good to be true. When I discovered that the entire RIDE/365 had been underwritten, and that every penny raised would actually ending up serving women across the globe, I was hooked.
I look forward to discovering more about what life is like for women in Malawi and Cambodia and how World Relief’s efforts are breaking down barriers of poverty and defeat. The actual ‘challenge’ of the ride is miniscule in comparison to the challenges women face around the globe. I know that in attempting this challenge that I will have the privilege of riding my bike, with old friends and new, across a beautiful state while sleeping and eating comfortably. I ride not for solidarity with the suffering but simply because we live in a country, state and city with abundance. I want to learn more, help you understand more and together make a difference.
A little about me; I have a faith in God that both challenges and brings joy to my days. My husband is a better cyclist than I and in addition to teaching me to enjoy all kinds of craft beers, has been my loudest cheerleader. My four teenage boys are the subject of much of my prayers and the cause of most of my laughter.
SUPPORT SARAH BATLEY
“We get one story, you and I, and one story alone. God has established the elements, the setting, the climax and the resolution. It would be a crime not to venture out, wouldn’t it?” – Donald Miller, Through Painted Deserts
What a joy it is to be surrounded by passionate women, whose idea of a fundraiser is biking 365 miles through Maryland’s hills and watersheds. These are the same passionate women I had the incredible opportunity to travel with back in February to meet women from Cambodia who are involved World Relief programs in Phnom Penh and surrounding villages. Their faces and stories are forever etched in my mind. For me, this bike ride is a symbolic journey of remembering the power of global sisterhood, seeing women rise and come together across the world to forge friendships, build strength, and to grow through adversity. Thank you to all of the sponsors and volunteers who make this ride possible!
SUPPORT MELISSA OTTERBEIN
I’m thrilled to be part of RIDE/365. My work as a personal trainer is all about helping people reach their health and wellness goals. With this ride, though, I will be able to help women, children and families in Cambodia and Malawi reach a higher level of health and wellness. I never thought I could be a “personal trainer” for people on the other side of the world. RIDE/365 will be a challenge for me, but my biggest challenge has been raising six children, Nicholas, Alecsander, Dimitri, Madeleine, Yianni & Isabella, along with my husband, Ben. Caring for a family is overwhelming, but I am blessed to have access to health care, education and food that we have in our country. I do look forward to helping to provide health, food and education to the people in Cambodia and Malawi through World Relief’s programs.
SUPPORT ANDREA PECUNES