Author: Jonathan Sheler

PEDAL REPORT: Leg #2, Calgary – Regina

Leg summary

With the first 2-week leg completed, riders set off on the second leg of their journey from Calgary to Regina.

Leg #2 consisted of long rides, big skies and horizontal landscapes. It was a wet start with the first rainstorm of the tour beginning Sunday night and lasting through most of Monday. Eight different churches provided a rest stop, meal, and place of fellowship between Sunday and Wednesday nights. Thank you for welcoming us!

A low point of the ride was news of a tragic accident involving Clarence Doornbos and Claire Elgersma. They were cycling together in Michigan when they were struck by a vehicle. Clarence passed away and Claire sustained serious injuries but is recovering. Read more below.

With some help from our friends at Regina Bypass Design Builders, we were able to navigate through a construction zone with efficiency, safety and ease. Thanks to those who helped make it a safe trip! See photos in the link below.

A highlight of Leg #2 was teamwork. With rolling hills and sometimes ferocious winds, elite and novice riders joined together to draft and encourage each other as they made their way across the plains.

Community News – Sea to Sea cyclists struck by vehicle

Sea to Sea is also deeply saddened by news received last weekend of the death of Clarence Doornbos. Clarence and Claire Elgersma were struck from behind by an SUV while cycling in Gaines Twp, MI on Saturday morning, July 15. Clarence was a three-time participant in Sea to Sea and an avid cyclist. Claire Elgersma is the founder of Sea to Sea, and was cycling alongside Clarence as he trained for his 2017 ride. Clarence passed away in the hospital shortly after the incident. Claire Elgersma sustained serious injuries but is currently at home recovering.

Sea to Sea rode in silence on Monday, July 17 to honor Clarence and held a memorial service that evening. Please pray for Clarence’s family, his wife Jan, and the community as a whole as they deal with this devastating loss. Please also pray for Claire and her recovery.

Read more here.


Check out the Leg #2 Sea to Sea Flickr for fun photos of what’s happening on the route, and visit our Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram for daily posts and updates.

Leg #2 statistics

•   Number of riders: 68

•   Number of volunteers: 16

•   Leg distance traveled: 887 km / 551 miles

•   Cumulative distance traveled: 2,045 km / 1,271 miles

•   Longest day: 164.7 km / 102.3 miles

•   Shortest day: 123 km / 76.5 miles

•   Tire tally (# of flat tires): 53

•   Crashes: A few slips and falls, but nothing significant!

•   Oldest rider: 81

•   Youngest rider: 12

Prayer requests

•   Please pray for all of those affected by the passing of Clarence Doornbos.

•   Pray for continued healing for Claire Elgersma as she recovers from injuries.

•   Pray for the riders, volunteers, staff, and community as they are underway on       the third leg of the journey.

Rider blogs

•   Bob Dieleman

•   Andrew Ponsen

•   Ida Kaastra Mutoigo

Recent rider stories

•   Sea to Sea in Agassiz

•   Sea to Sea tour hits Canmore

Get Involved

•   Donate to a rider you’d like to support.

•   Sign up for the Virtual Ride to ride in spirit while being part of the solution     to ending poverty.

Video stories of where your Sea to Sea support goes

Partners Worldwide:                           World Renew:
Hyma Stephan                                    Changing the Stories of Children


PEDAL REPORT: Leg #1, Vancouver – Calgary

Leg summary

Riders posing next to the white rock in White Rock, B.C. at the launch.

Kickoff weekend was a roaring success. Passionate individuals and teams from all over the USA and Canada joined together for fellowship, sharing of their passions, and a time of building community. Many family and friends were present to see their loved ones off.

A multitude of churches and schools along the route provided places to stay, meals, and community as the riders made their way across British Columbia and into Alberta. A prayer of thanks to all of those who helped.

Both Canada and the USA celebrated their independence days on July 1st and July 4th, respectively. Canada turned 150 years old this year! Riders wore special Canadian jerseys on July 1st to show their support for the beautiful country.

Overall, Leg #1 was beautiful and mountainous.
The highest climb of the tour (2200m) took place, and the
weather was hot and sunny. It was challenging at times
because of the elevation, hilly terrain,and heat, but we are
thankful that all riders made it safely into Calgary.



Check out the Leg #1 Sea to Sea Flickr for all kinds of photos from the first leg of the ride, or visit our Facebook page, Twitter, and Instagram for up-to-date photos and happenings on the route.


Leg #1 statistics

•   Total # of riders: 97

•   Km / Miles traveled: 1,158 / 720

•   Longest day: 151.8km / 94 miles

•   Shortest day: 59.8km / 33.5 miles

•   Tire tally (# of flat tires): 27

•   Crashes: 1 (but no significant injuries!)

•   Oldest rider: 81

•   Youngest rider: 12


Prayer requests

•   Two communities the riders passed through, Princeton and Summerland, have been experiencing widespread wildfires. Please pray for safety and relief for the people in these communities.

•   Leg two began yesterday! The riders now travel from Calgary – Regina. Pray for them on this next leg of the route.


Rider blogs

•   Reuben Bestman

•   Len Kooy

•   Garry Roth


Recent rider stories

•   Eric DenOuden

•   Ally Johnson

•   The Slofstra Family

•   George Vanderkuur


Get Involved

•   Donate to a rider you’d like to support.

•   Sign up for the Virtual Ride to ride in spirit while being part of the solution to ending poverty.


Where your Sea to Sea support goes

•   World Renew: Martha Marak

•   Partners Worldwide: Annie Kruah

The Church Without Walls

Below is an article written by Monica Kronemeyer Deregt for The Christian Courier. Original article here.

On June 26, 135 cyclists will begin a nine-week journey across Canada.

Peter and Marja Slofstra

“To me, this is an ideal time. This is the church without walls. If the government or anyone else were to ask, ‘What are you doing to celebrate Canada’s 150th?’ we can share what we are doing and why,” Peter Slofstra explained. “It allows us to testify to a different way of living that moves from inwardly-focused living to putting others first. It is the Christian Reformed Church (CRC) impacting a whole nation,inspiring people towards good.”

Brothers Peter and Bert Slofstra, both recently retired ministers in the Christian Reformed Church, together with their wives, Marja and Diane, will be joining this summer’s ride. They are cycling to end poverty by raising funds and awareness for World Renew and Partners Worldwide. The tour begins in White Rock, B.C. and will finish in Halifax, N.S. on August 31. The first Sea to Sea tour 12 years ago was planned to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Christian Reformed Church in Canada and raised funds for the purpose of ending poverty. Since then the Sea to Sea tours have raised more than $5.5 million to support over 100 organizations focused on ending poverty both locally and globally.

This will not be the first time participating in the Sea to Sea for either of the couples. Peter and Marja were involved from the beginning of the very first tour in 2005 ‒ Peter as part of the visionary team that dreamed up the idea as well as serving as a chaplain during the ride, and the two of them cycling together on a tandem bike! Peter was also one of the authors of the devotional Pumped that was read by the wider CRC community and supporters of the ride as a way to follow along the journey of the cyclists. Bert and Diane joined the next ride in 2008, which took them through the U.S. from Seattle to Jersey City, with a brief detour through Canada. Bert was one of the cyclists and Diane worked on the kitchen crew, cooking for up to 200 people every day.

Good inspiration
When asked about their reasons for joining the ride originally, and again this year, their answers were similar – passion for adventure and for the cause of World Renew. For Peter and Marja, who retired last June after 40 years in ministry and now divide their time between Kitchener and Orillia, Ontario, they felt called to be part of the team because it represents what they feel the CRC should be about. Although they struggled with the decision to join again this year due to concerns about their age and safety, after much prayer they felt peace and are now excited to take part, once again deciding to ride their tandem
bicycle, “Big Blue.” Peter will also be serving as tour chaplain again.

Bert and Diane, of Gateway CRC in Abbotsford, B.C., will be retiring from ministry on June 18. While their first experience participating in Sea to Sea nine years ago was part of a sabbatical, this tour will be ushering them into a new stage of life.

“The tour begins one week following our retirement from full time ministry, and we see it also as a good way to begin disengagement from a community where we’ve lived and served for 27 years,” Bert told Christian Courier.

Living simply and 1 Cor. 9
Both couples said that they are thrilled to do the 2017 ride together, and that their first tours created many great memories and taught them some important lessons too.

“The tour didn’t only impact others; it impacted the cyclists too,” Peter and Marja explained, saying that after nine weeks on the road, they learned to appreciate the blessings of their home and were inspired to live more simply. They saw evidence that the tour opened people’s eyes to a new lifestyle.

Bert and Diane agreed. In addition to learning a lot about small town America, as their route was mostly through regional roads, they learned that there was a lot of poverty within the U.S.

“The main thing we learned about ourselves was how little ‘stuff’ we really needed to live. We were only allowed two baskets each to store our stuff in the gear truck, and discovered that what we actually ended up using would have fit into one basket,” Bert said.

What do they think about during long hours on the road? Each person said that his or her focus is immediate – being aware of their surroundings and the need for safety, with lots of time to pray. Reflecting on the powerful metaphor of running the race in 1 Corinthians 9, Bert said:

“Aside from the obvious truths of the need for training and for perseverance, both in the Christian life and in an event such as Sea to Sea – which is a unique expression of the Christian life alongside many others – is that we never run alone. Jesus runs, or cycles, or walks, or rides – you name the metaphor – right alongside of us. You do a lot of praying while you cycle, for strength and endurance, and for protection on busy roads and in cities.”

Looking back, looking forward
Both Peter and Bert have seen a lot of changes in the denomination over their combined years of ministry in the CRC, some of them negative, but also a lot of positive developments.

“The Sea to Sea was a positive thing,” Peter enthused. “To see the church reaching out, being missional, becoming more visible. This was wonderful!”

Other changes they noted include a loss of loyalty to the denomination and ministry shares, a blurring of distinctive theological lines, less resistance to change and an increase in diversity.

The tallest and shortest riders on the 2013 ride

“At the time I [Bert] graduated there was a lot less diversity within churches and almost no diversity among churches. Our diversity within churches – in terms of nationality, ethnicity and race – has increased dramatically, for which we thank God. Our diversity among churches has also increased dramatically; where once you could go to most any CRC in North America on a Sunday and find your own church’s liturgy followed almost “to a ‘T’,” the range of liturgical expression and style of worship is [now] all over the board, so to speak. That, too, speaks to the diversity within the church, and is a gift of God. The diversity of the church, after all, reflects the multi-faceted character of the God we worship.”

Peter echoed this sentiment, saying he regrets that our denomination has not always responded to change in a positive manner or a timely manner.

“People have left because of this. Other churches have learned to embrace things like changing leadership styles, changing worship styles, changing communities,” Peter explained. “I love it when the church becomes more inclusive, diverse, having a culture of grace. Yet we’ve seen a lot of resistance to this.”

As they look ahead to their immediate future and this adventure, both Peter and Marja and Bert and Diane also express their prayers and dreams for the CRC in 2017 and beyond.

“My prayer is that our church would be a church about which people would say ‘here is a church that is loving God and loving neighbour in such a way that I might just give Jesus a chance, or another chance,’” Peter said. “That we would be a church that is gracious, not judgmental, a church that makes room for each other and celebrates our differences.”

Adding that although we cannot help but be influenced by the culture in which we live, Bert’s prayer is that “we do not allow our Christian witness and life to be shaped by the culture in which we live, but work instead – armed with the grace and love we have received in Christ Jesus – to transform our culture for the Lord.”

For more information on Sea to Sea visit

An Educator and a Cyclist

George Vanderkuur

Below is an article written by Kristen Calis for Original article found here.

A Pickering man who’s half as old as Canada is embarking on a bicycle ride across the country this summer as it celebrates its 150th birthday.

George Vanderkuur, 75, is participating in Sea to Sea,  a bicycling mission fighting poverty through fundraising and awareness. He’ll start his journey in Vancouver, B.C., and finish in Halifax, N.S.

“We’re going to touch every province, except Newfoundland,” he said.

The 6,750-kilometre journey will begin on June 26 and end on Aug. 31.

“It will be 56 days of riding,” Vanderkuur said. “We take a break every Sunday.”

Vanderkuur, an educator for more than 50 years, has been involved in three previous cycling missions across North America.

Participants in this year’s special ride across Canada have an option of doing six legs. There’s a section from Vancouver to Calgary, or from Calgary to Regina for example. But 60 of them, including Vanderkuur, will go the full distance, from coast to coast. He’s the oldest doing the entire ride.

“I’m really looking forward to it,” he said.

Vanderkuur has been using Zwift, an indoor cycling program that takes him virtually to different tracks around the world, since November. He’s also been running to prepare for the long trip.

He hopes his journey will inspire other seniors to stay active and get involved in the community.

On their journey, the riders will be accompanied by two trucks, one for their personal belongings, and another featuring a full kitchen.

“The food is actually really good,” he said, adding communities tend to be generous along the way, offering items such as baked goods to the riders.

They’ll be tenting along the way, camping out at churches, parks and high schools.

Bicycling is nothing new to Vanderkuur, as he’s been riding for decades.

When he was the chief scientist at the Ontario Science Centre, he commuted on his bike from Pickering to the Toronto-based facility every day, even in the winter. He took Kingston Road all the way to Eglinton Avenue.

“I became quite famous,” he laughed. “But it kept me quite healthy.”

Although he has newer models, Vanderkuur will be riding his bike that was built back in 1978.

“It’s got modern parts on it, but the frame is the same,” he said.

And although he wasn’t wearing it in the photos, Vanderkuur will sport his helmet for the ride.

“I have hit my head twice,” he said. “I’ve had one fall where it dented my helmet.”

Currently director of the Erindale Academy and principal of Toronto Central Academy, the schools have been helping him raise funds for the ride.

Formerly, Vanderkuur was also president of the Royal Canadian Institute for the Advancement of Science, an education consultant to the Toronto District School Board, and principal of Holy Trinity School.

He has donated to many charitable causes, such as disaster relief around the world. Through his church, Crossroads Community Church, he recently sponsored Syrian refugees to help them settle in Toronto.

He’ll continue fundraising through this ride.

“Twenty per cent of the funds raised will be spent locally,” he said.

Sea to Sea supports two organizations in its efforts to fight poverty around the world.

Partners Worldwide, a global Christian network, uses business as the way to end poverty. It partners with local businesses and business people around the world to mentor, train, and provide access to capital to help individuals create a business.

“It also does advocacy work,” said Vanderkuur.

Through microloans, community development, and savings groups, the second organization, World Renew, equips people struggling with poverty to change their stories.

“It’s a great cause, but it’s also something you really like doing,” Vanderkuur said of the upcoming ride.

He has personally raised around $13,000 so far. To learn more about the ride or to donate, visit

"I feel the responsibility to assist others."

Below is an article written for the Canadian Home Builders’ Association blog. Link to original article here.

Nine weeks, nearly 7,000 kilometres and 135 riders— CHBA president Eric DenOuden is not going on just any ordinary bike ride. Beginning June 26 in Vancouver, British Columbia DenOuden will kick off his cross-Canada trek to raise awareness and funds to fight poverty with Sea to Sea, a cycling project aimed at finding solutions to end local and global poverty.

CHBA President cycles to fight poverty
CHBA President Eric DenOuden


“I’m excited to be participating in the 2017 Sea to Sea,” says DenOunden, founder and president of Belleville’s Hilden Homes, a member of the Quinte Home Builders’ Association.

“I feel strongly that living in one of the best countries in the world with all kinds of freedom and opportunity we are responsible to assist others, which is one of the reasons I have decided to ride,” the CHBA president explains.

To participate, DenOuden must raise a minimum of $12,000. Those funds will help effect change in the lives of those living in poverty via Partners Worldwide and World Renew. The ride begins in Vancouver, with stops in Calgary, Regina, Winnipeg, Sault Ste. Marie, Peterborough, Ottawa and ends in Halifax August 31.

An avid cyclist, DenOuden says the ride will help “provide disaster relief as well as education, advocacy and empowerment to [help] develop self-sufficient communities around the world.”

But this home builder is no stranger to giving back to Canadians and strengthening communities.

CHBA President big on community collaboration

In honour of the provincial association’s 50th anniversary in 2013, DenOuden, then-president of the Ontario Home Builders’ Association (OHBA), suggested the OHBA and its local associations celebrate by performing 50 good deeds in their communities.

Thanks to the generosity of the 31 OHBA associations as well as builder, developer and renovator members across Ontario, the 50 good deeds goal was far exceeded.

To name just a few who participated in the initiative: the Guelph and District Home Builders’ Association raised nearly $28,000 for the Children’s Foundation of Guelph and Wellington through Trees for Tots; the St. Thomas-Elgin Home Builders’ Association partnered with the St. Thomas-Elgin Fire Department to install smoke alarms at no cost to homeowners; and, through a traditional Canadian past-time, the Simcoe County Home Builders’ Association Ice Fishing Tournament raised more than $30,000 for charities in the region.

Find out how other CHBA members are contributing to #CdnBuilt communities by following the hashtag on social media. For other blog stories, visit the Giving Back section of our blog.

Learn more about Eric DenOuden’s trek across Canada, or help fight poverty by clicking here.

A Hamilton Grad and Sea to Sea

Below is an article written by Erin Dietzer for the Holland Sentinel. You can find a link to the original article here.

There are many ways high school graduates fill their summer days before starting college: working, volunteering, getting in shape, spending more time with family and friends or just relaxing.

Hamilton High School graduate Curtis Breuker is going to spend his summer riding in the Sea to Sea ride, a 4,200 mile bike ride for charity across Canada, stretching from Vancouver by the Pacific Ocean and ending in Halifax by the Atlantic Ocean.

“My family and friends were like, ‘Are you crazy?’ I said, ’No, not really,’” Breuker said, laughing. “They know I can, they believe in me, but it doesn’t seem like something that is possible, so they were kinda taken aback at first.”

The Sea to Sea ride began in 2002, in a memo by a missionary nurse. In the memo, the nurse had an idea for a fundraiser that spanned the Appalachian trail. After three years of planning, the first Sea to Sea tour happened to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Christian Reformed Church in Canada, and funded organizations focused on ending poverty.

Since then, Sea to Sea tours have raised more than $5.5 million to support over 100 organizations focused on ending poverty both locally and globally. It’s run by two nonprofits: Partners Worldwide, a Christian network that partners with businesses to provide mentoring, training, access to capital and advocacy for those in poverty, and World Renew, which provides microloans, community development support and savings groups to communities struggling with poverty.

Breuker learned of the ride when he started getting into riding three years ago. He started riding with Russ Johnson, who he met from attending Graafschap Church. During rides, Johnson told Breuker about his bike experiences and Sea to Sea was one of them.

“I knew there would be one the year I graduated from high school, and I knew I wanted to do it,” Breuker said. “It’s a once in a lifetime experience and a great opportunity.”

The first step was to raise funds. People who plan on doing the full Sea to Sea ride have to raise $12,000 each, so Johnson and Breuker had to raise a minimum of $24,000. All of those funds go to charity: meals accommodation and fees for the riders during the ride are taken care of by the organizers.

Johnson and Breuker set their personal goal a little higher: $25,000.

Breuker said he started with his high school yearbook. Many businesses in Hamilton buy advertisements in the yearbook, so Breuker and Johnson sent letters to these businesses to see if they were interested in donations.

“We sent a letter to just about every Hamilton-area business, and we made that one from my point-of-view as a high school student and why I wanted to do it,” Breuker said. “We kinda expanded from there, did a lot of talking about it at places and hit a lot of Holland-area businesses too, ones we know and know of. A lot of funds were raised within Graafschap Church too.”

It worked. As of Wednesday, June 7, Johnson and Breuker have raised $32,424.81. Breuker said the excitement and slight apprehension from family and friends turned into complete excitement when the money started pouring in.

Team Graafschap will leave from Vancouver on June 26 and end in Halifax on Aug. 31. Breuker has to leave a little early on Aug. 3 for college orientation and the start of classes, but he’s still riding most of the ride.

“I’ve been in pretty good shape for the last two years, but I’ve definitely been riding more than usual to train,” Breuker said with a laugh.

Donations can still be sent to Breuker and Johnson here.

“By giving money and resources to Sea to Sea, I can guarantee it can reach farther than your money could go without it,” Breuker said. “Sea to Sea can get the money to places that one person can’t. There’s a lot of poverty out there that Sea to Sea can help with and is helping with in many ways.”

Another Challenge Along the Way

Below is an article written by Chris Nelson for the Calgary Herald. Click here to view the original article.

When a drunk driver smashed into 16-year-old Allyson Johnson, it wasn’t only her left knee that was shattered — gone as well were Olympic dreams alongside the likelihood of a future sports scholarship to a leading college.

For two years she suffered through the agonies of depression while her body slowly healed and the stark reality of facing a very different future from the one she’d imagined was eventually accepted.

That was 27 years ago. Since then, Johnson, a born and bred Calgarian, has built for herself a career in the natural foods and health industry while travelling the globe to work with kids and the underprivileged. Also, slowly but surely, she’s regained the athleticism that once came so naturally before that awful accident.

Next month, she will put herself to an ultimate test — attempting to cycle 7,000 kilometres across the country in the daunting Sea to Sea Cycling Challenge to End Poverty.

Before putting foot to pedal, Johnson has to raise $12,000. At the moment, the Calgarian is more than $4,000 short of that target but believes she will be at the starting line in White Rock, B.C., on June 26.

“I’m committed to it. Oh, and all the money raised goes to the organization. I pay separately to be able to ride,” said Johnson.

While cycling across Canada she plans to rearrange her work schedule to be able to continue holding lectures regarding natural foods and health.

“This is 108 days. I can’t afford not to continue working, so while other cyclists will be able to come in and rest up at the end of the day, I’ll be out working afterwards, for at least two days a week,” she said.

Allyson Johnson of Calgary will be cycling across Canada this summer to raise
funds to help end poverty. PC: Al Charest/Postmedia

Challenges have become integral to her life since the day of the accident as she was cycling in Penticton.

“At the time I was an Olympic qualifying athlete in field hockey and had several scholarships going. And then it happened and changed every trajectory because I wasn’t able to participate in sports at all. I was told not to be active and for those two years I was depressed. But then I became involved in natural health and gradually built up the athletic side again,” she said.

Ten years later she completed her first marathon. And Johnson pushed herself ever harder — into trail running, ultra-marathons and triathlons. Every event would have a charity component.

“Now I try to use my athletic gifts to support others. I became involved with organizations hoping to affect poverty, children and health, from Africa, South America and South East Asia. It became who I was,” she said.

Cochrane’s marathon man, Martin Parnell, who completed 250 such races in a single year, is backing Johnson’s quest. He’s donated to her fundraising and handed over copies of his books for auction.

“I met Martin in 2010 when he was doing his 250 marathons. Ever since then we’ve been great friends. He’s become an inspiration, always keeping that beautiful joy of life,” said Johnson.

As an eight-year-old, Johnson was introduced to another source of inspiration during a family trip to Thunder Bay in Ontario.

“I stood in front of the Terry Fox memorial and something in me, as a little kid, said, ‘Wow, anything is possible.’ ”

JoAnn's Ride

PREPARATION - Red Deer Pastor Gary Bomhof will be joining the Sea to Sea 2017 fundraising initiative, which starts out from B.C.’s lower mainland in June and wraps up in Halifax in August. - Mark Weber/Red Deer Express

A Red Deer pastor is gearing up to embark on a cross-country bike trip in support of a terrific cause.

Gary Bomhof, pastor at the First Christian Reformed Church, is joining the fundraiser Sea to Sea 2017, which is hosted by Partners Worldwide and World Renew. The group sets out from White Rock, B.C. on June 26th and completes the trek Aug. 31st in Halifax.

“If you’re passionate about ending poverty but the ride is not for you, consider joining the vital efforts of our volunteer squad,” notes an information pamphlet about the ambitious trek.

For Bomhof, the 6,759 km journey is certainly an important one for that very reason, and part of the funds he raises will go to the Mustard Seed ministry here in Red Deer.

Another reason he signed up was to honour the memory of his late wife JoAnn, who passed away in 2015.

Gary said that JoAnn’s kind and generous heart inspired him to join Sea to Sea; he’s calling his coast-to-coast trip ‘JoAnn’s Ride’.

Since 2005, Sea to Sea has raised $5.4 million to support the work of poverty relief organizations. This year, the goal is $3 million.

“Basically it’s a fundraiser to help alleviate poverty,” he said, adding that World Renew is involved with a number of aid agencies and organizations domestically and internationally. “Every rider has to raise a minimum of $12,000 – that’s the goal.”

Gary, 67, said that he had also decided to retire this year, and, “No sooner had I made that decision then I found out about Sea to Sea.”

He felt it was an ideal event to plan for this milestone year, so he started training.

“Now that I’m on my own, I don’t feel like going on a cruise by myself or a trip by myself – but this is a way in which I can see the country with a whole lot of other people, and it’s for a good cause,” he explained.

“My wife was also someone who was really concerned about the other person – that was just her character. And I thought it would be a neat way of honouring her memory, too. She was such a giving person – so it just really suits her character and her values.”

So far, Gary said 104 cyclists from across Canada and the United States have joined Sea to Sea 2017.

The riders will cycle six days a week, dropping below the Great Lakes on the fourth leg of the trip, from Grand Rapids, Minnesota to Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario.

“I’m looking forward to the camaraderie,” he said, adding that it will also be a wonderful way to begin his retirement.

Each day, the vision will simply be to get on the bike and enjoy the journey without that sense of ‘the tyranny of the urgent’. Indeed – it will mark the beginning of a new chapter in his life – where he can spend time relaxing, volunteering in the community and being with his children and grandchildren that much more.

Meanwhile, Gary and JoAnn had been married nearly 39 years at the time of her passing.

They had also been partners in ministry for that entire time, pastoring in Ontario, then in Lethbridge, then back to Ontario. It was in 2006 they settled in Red Deer. And even though he’s retiring, he’s certainly not stepping back from ministry opportunities altogether.

“I tell people I’m retiring – I’m not quitting. I hope to serve churches here and there, and I’m going to look into volunteering.”

For now, Gary is focused on prepping for Sea to Sea. That includes spin classes at the Collicutt Centre and getting out on his bike here in the City as weather has permitted.

“I think once I’m in Calgary, then I believe I’ll be able to say to myself okay, I can do this – once I’ve gotten over the Roger’s Pass,” he said, chucking.

As to the funding, Gary said that the World Renew organization encourages Sea to Sea participants to partner with local organizations. He approached staff at the Mustard Seed and they were immediately onboard.

Anyone is welcome to support Gary on this venture. Just click on, hit ‘donate’ and under ‘choose your recipient’ type in his name. For this event, he’s using his given name of Gerrit Bomhof.

He noted also that when he was first considering joining the ride, he didn’t know what kind of reaction he might get from friends and family.

“I prayed about it. And people were saying, ‘That’s a great idea. That’s a fantastic idea!’ It was one piece of encouragement after another. I took that as a sign that it was a green light – so we are going to go for it!”

Gearing up!

Below is a piece written by Ida Kaastra Mutoigo, a Co-Director of one of our sponsors, World Renew, on her participation in this year’s ride. Enjoy!

Gearing up!

Do you know what it’s like to be part of a cyclist’s culture? I had no idea until I recently registered for the Sea to Sea ride. In about three months, from June to August, there will be about a hundred riders who will participate in cycling a portion or the entire route from Vancouver to Halifax. Imagine the spirit it takes to cycle day after day for about 100 to 150 kms each day!

Why have I decided to join this campaign and do the ride from Calgary to Winnipeg?  The main reason is to raise awareness and support for what God has laid on my heart – “do justice and love mercy.”  World Renew and Partners Worldwide are the two agencies involved in organizing Sea to Sea, a cross country bicycle ride to raise funds to support families in developing countries who are wrestling with poverty through training programs in agriculture, health, literacy, and economic livelihoods.  Additionally, at least 20% of the funds raised will go towards supporting local community organizations in Canada and the United States, so that congregations can address issues of poverty, refugee resettlement, and other needs.

My work for about thirty years with World Renew has made me acutely aware of the daily sweat and tears of many families around the world who want to change their story of hunger to one of plenty, their story of despair to one of hope, and their story of broken relationships to one of reconciliation. Many of them strive to get a bicycle in order to transport their produce to the market, to take children to school, to fetch water, to attend church services, and visit friends too. In solidarity with them and with the riders from Sea to Sea, I am excited to be part of this movement that will change stories to reflect God’s intention for his Creation.

Now let me share what I have learned so far about the culture of cyclists.  First, I discovered that buying a bicycle for a long ride was completely different from buying a bicycle for doing short errands.  A very helpful sales clerk at one of the bike shops in Hamilton started by asking me questions about the terrain I would be riding and suggested I select a hybrid bike with about 29 gears.  What a contrast to the 10-speed bike I thought was ultra-modern as a kid!  Then he coached me about getting proper shoes, a snuggly-fitted helmet, a saddle (not a seat!) that is ergonomically fitted to the size of my bones and a bike frame that allows me to reach the ground with my feet as well as hold the handle bars comfortably.

As I went through this process of buying the bike with all the accessories, I was reminded of the passage in Ephesians 6:10-20 which talks about putting on the armor of God to fight spiritual warfare. Fighting poverty requires using both spiritual and physical armor. Just like a proper fit with a bike is essential to successfully completing a marathon ride, proper tools are essential to overcome poverty. For example, a cyclist needs to be in good physical shape which includes having a strong girth or waist to avoid a very sore back from hours of being hunched over. Ephesians 6:14 similarly talks about girding the waist with truth and putting on the breastplate of righteousness. When dealing with issues of poverty, it is imperative that people confront lies they believe about themselves and replace them with God’s truth. If they are fatalistic by thinking their destiny is poverty and they can do nothing about it, we encourage them to embrace God’s promises for strength and a life that is flourishing

Pardon the pun, but I am quite geared up for doing the Sea to Sea and hope you will help support the cause as well through your prayers and donations! For more information about the Sea to Sea campaign, check out the website here… and if you would like to donate specifically to the ride I will be doing, here is the site for that as well!

Thanks and blessings,

Ida Kaastra Mutoigo

Co-Director, World Renew

Needs list for Sea to Sea 2017

Want to be a part of Sea to Sea but unable to participate as a volunteer or bicyclist?

Sea to Sea has some specific needs that will reduce the cost of conducting the tour, reduce the workload on volunteers and help us minister to more people and communities. All cash donations will receive a tax deductible receipt based on your residence. Equipment donations will receive an in-kind gift letter where the donor will need to assign a value. The dollar amounts are based on what it would cost for Sea to Sea to rent or purchase the equipment.

Equipment Loans Needed

Items that we use and return after the tour.
  • Two semi tractor sleeper cabs for 12 weeks in 2017 (estimated savings $15,000)
  • One 53 foot enclosed trailer – it will be our gear trailer (estimated savings $15,000) (FULFILLED)
  • One commercial kitchen trailer (estimated savings $50,000)
  • Two 15 passenger vans (estimated savings $15,000) (1 FULFILLED)
  • One travel trailer to act as the command center
  • One ¾ ton truck (estimated savings $4,000)
  • Pressure washer (estimated savings $5,000 – kitchen cleaning fee)
  • 1 mini van for route marking. Mileage does not matter, in fact we like them older, but it has to be reliable and it may get some marking paint on the interior. (estimated savings $4,000)

Permanent Equipment Needed

Items that we will continue to use for future tours.
  • One 20’ long 7’ high cargo trailer (estimated savings $7,000)
  • 300  laundry baskets 1.5 bushel size in good condition (estimated savings $1,000)
  • 4 10×20 pop up pavilions commercial grade (estimated savings $800 each)
  • 4 Park brand bike repair stands (estimated savings $200 each)
  • 4 each 4 bike, hitch mounted bike racks (estimated savings $200 each)
  • Rolling tool cabinet for bike mechanic tools (estimated savings $500)
  • E-Track for trailers (estimated savings $500)
  • Shoring beams for E-track (estimated savings $100 each)
  • 6 food service grade 6 foot high shelving racks (estimated savings $200 each)
  • Honda EU7000 generator (estimated savings $4,000)
  • Supplies to build a rolling water station (estimated savings $1,000)
  • 4 portable shower stations (estimated savings $300 each)
  • Small PA system (estimated savings $300)
  • High intensity LED projector (estimated savings $400)
  • 10 24 outlet Tripp Lite Power Strips (estimated savings $100 each)
  • 100 Bungee cords (estimated savings $2 each)
  • 6 fifty foot drinking water hoses (estimated savings $25 each)
  • 10 GoPro cameras (estimated savings $400 each)
  • Three Blackstone 36” griddles (estimated savings $300 each)
  • Three CampChef three burner stoves (estimated savings $300 each)
  • Four 96 gallon Toter brand rolling trash cans (estimated savings $70 each)
  • 1 48” flat screen TV (estimated savings $300)
  • 1 DVD player (estimated savings $50)
  • Four automatic electronic defibrillators (AEDs) (estimated savings $500 each)
  • Four 4 drawer vertical file cabinets (estimated savings $200 each)

Food & Supplies

  • Cliff Bars – any flavor
  • Cans of Gatorade powder – any flavor
  • 600 bicycle inner tubes (estimated savings $4 each)
  • 50 bicycle tires (estimated savings $50 each)
  • 60 large spray cans marking chalk in fluorescent orange ($6 each)
  • Fuel gift cards (estimated savings variable)
  • Light bulbs for high intensity LED projector (estimated savings $40 each)

Services and Skills donations

  • Join the Spiritual Health Team to assist in development of the 2017 Devotional (email for more information)
  • Help wire the gear trailer for power & light so that it can take a direct plug in from either a campground, standard outlet or generator to provide lighting and charge tools, phones and computers when stationary. Also set up a mount for a computer screen to display daily updates and information to riders inside the trailer.
  • Help wire 20 foot trailer for power & light in the same manner as the gear trailer.
  • Carpentry/Plumbing to build a water station for 12 people.

Special Volunteers Needed

Before the Tour:
  • Churches along the route to provide contacts to overnight locations (campgrounds and schools) and connections for local charities. The overnight location should have bathrooms and showers or an alternate nearby for showers like a fitness center or pool.
  • Riders to recommend routes around major cities along the route.
  • People to visit/call local churches across North America to share the mission of Sea to Sea and put up posters and pamphlets.
  • People who have the equipment and skill to develop and implement a photo and video strategy during the tour
During the Tour:
  • 2 minivan owners willing to add 10,000 miles to their vehicles for SAG, Shuttles and errands prefer that owners also volunteer.
  • 3 motorhome owners who are willing to be rest stops with their motor homes (1 FULFILLED)
  • Truck owners with ¾ ton vehicles to pull an 8,000 lb trailer
  • Semi Truck Drivers prefer those who can do the entire 9 weeks and two drivers to take the trucks to the start and back from the finish. (1 FULFILLED)
  • Volunteers interns, photographers and videographers with equipment to capture and distribute content
  • Volunteers interns to post via Twitter and Facebook non stop content prior, during and immediately after the tours