Zip The Rock 2, the bike ride element, safely came to an end 4:30 this afternoon when Martina and I rode onto the Camp Lutheridge campus in Arden, NC. We are both elated and profoundly grateful that everything went extremely well. Just consider all these factors:
• We traveled over 900 miles, I pedaled 502 of them, and had no serious issues.
• Not a single flat tire or any other breakdowns
• No scrapes or breaks or body malfunctions
• No car or camper issues
• Martina and I both stayed healthy
• 10 over-night stops and each host site was very kind and welcoming
• We only had rain one late afternoon and I was ready to quit anyway
• Nobody attempted to run me over
• Donations are coming in
The list could go on and on of how blessed we have been throughout this journey; I think you get the picture.
The prayers of thousands of people have surrounded us from 10 congregations and the NovusWay staff.
Today was the most challenging day of uphill climbing. The climbs were longer and steeper as we got more and more into the mountains. The weather all day was very grey and foggy and the temps were in the 40s-50s. I was cold and wet. I’m not going to miss that feeling at all. I’m looking forward to Florida sunshine and temps.
When we arrived at Lutheridge they gave us a nice conference room where we could take a warm shower and relax before the 6 PM celebration. When Martina and I arrived at the “party room” there were about 20 NovusWay staff people standing in a big circle applauding and cheering us on. What a wonderful reception that was. To see all the good people together who are partnering with Martina and me to make Zip The Rock successful. Some are responsible for publicity. Some were responsible for the 9 church host sites being ready. Some were responsible for producing the campaign bulletin inserts and envelopes, some wrote the correspondence letters, some identified potential donors and made personal gift requests to them. Some have their work ahead of them because they will be responsible for the oversight of the construction of the zip line, others will be responsible for the safety training of the zip line attendants. Of course, the CEO of NovusWay, Bo Harris was also there. It was wonderful to be able to go around and personally thank them for their amazing support and most importantly their prayers.
The bike ride element is over, but much still needs to be done. It is still too early to know if all the money has been raised that is needed. We are very hopeful that more donations will come in over the next days and weeks.
I will make one last shameless appeal. This is all about our youth and connecting them with the love of God through the beauty and adventure that comes from nature. You should see how different are youth are when they spend a week in the mountains, away from challenges and stresses of our normal lives. They become more relaxed and peaceful and curious and communicative. They talk and laugh and play with each other without using some electronic gadget. They encourage and support and challenge each other. They listen to young adults share their faith stories which allows the youth to feel comfortable to express their own faith stories. I have seen this happening for over 30 years and Martina and I have invested a significant part of ourselves to see it continue. If any of this makes sense to you, if you love kids and want to see them grow in Christ, then send them to a NovusWay camp and please make a donation to Zip The Rock. You can do so through your own congregation or directly through Camp Lutherock at www.lutherock.org .
Thanks to all of you for your love and support and prayers.
Tomorrow we journey home to Juno Beach.
Frank and Martina Wagner
2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.
Paul writes these words as he senses that his death is near. Though Martina and I are certainly tired, in no way do we think or feel that we are at the end of our days! We are grateful for this amazing experience but excited about returning to family, friends and church family and jumping back into our ministry in Juno Beach.
I believe Paul is making some very important concluding comments that we all need to be able think and feel as we go through life. As we review important seasons of our lives we hope that we can look back and say, “I gave it my best, especially when it got hard. I didn’t quit; I’m a finisher. I did what God asked me to do to the best of my ability.”
Paul was very clear throughout his writings that the reason he can say these words in 2 Timothy 4:7 is only because of the amazing gift of God’s grace which comes through Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit, and the tremendous support he received from others along the way.
Martina and I are both aware and deeply grateful for God’s grace and the tremendous support we received from so many.
May you dream big dreams and have high hopes. And when you can look back and celebrate accomplishments make sure you are aware of all the love and support you received along the way.
Prayer. God, thank you for always being there for us. Amen.