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Update on Bicycle Fixing program at the Phoenix Rescue Mission

February 8, 2011

Update from the Wrenchmen Bicycle Ministry 

 After listening to a quick spot on the radio in late April 2010 about a Christian-based organization in Sacramento, CA, Cycles 4 Hope, that performs basic bike maintenance for their local homeless, I prayed.  I then researched, e-mailed the organization, discussed with my wife, Sabine, and continued to pray.

I grew up poor with my mother and two older sisters.  As a child, I personally witnessed my mom’s faith in Christ as we always had our daily needs met in one way or another.  We laughed together and we cried together.  I once heard someone say that a person’s greatest hurt can become their greatest ministry – all to glorify Christ!

I was called to serve the poor – that is where God put my heart.

In August 2010, James Visser, Chuck Hendrickson Jr, and myself combined resources (bike tools, parts, experience) and drove to a local homeless shelter, Phoenix Rescue Mission, to help fix the bikes of the homeless.

I was not in my “comfort zone” and did not know what to expect.

Shawn Holliday, founder of Cycles 4 Hope, warned me about fixing the grip-shifters on bikes – he said that they were tricky.  I prayed to God that this first time out to serve He would guide us the easy fixes to let me ease into this new ministry.  We set up our tools and checked in some bikes.  The first bike that we checked in:  grip shifters!  “Ok, I’ve got a sense of humor, too – let’s get to work.”

I fumbled with that thing for about five or ten minutes until I realized that the owner of the bike was sitting there silently watching me struggle.  I was frustrated and annoyed until I realized that, yes, we came with all sorts of bike tools, and all sorts of bike parts, and my fellow Wrenchmen, but we did not come for the bikes – we came to build relationships with these men – we came to be used by the Holy Spirit – to do God’s work, not ours.  I started chatting with this gentleman, Russell, and the Spirit did eventually lead the conversation to Christ.  It was amazing!

We now outreach at the Mission on the third Saturday of each month from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.  We hold bike collection days the Sunday just before the outreach and we try to fix up as many donations as we can in time to give them away that Saturday.  From August through December of 2010, we gave away 7 completed bikes and repaired 67 bikes at the Phoenix Rescue Mission.

Some of these guys are pretty rough around the edges but when you hand them back their bike after being repaired and you ask them to take it for a test spin to see if everything is alright, their faces light up and you can see hope in their eyes.

Our hopes for 2011 are to get more people to come serve with us at least once this year.  Even if they don’t know how to change a bike tube, we will teach it all to them at the Mission.  It’s a “Basic Bike Maintenance – On-the-Job Training – Demonstration of God’s Love!”

Stephen Patterson,
Passage’s chief Wrenchman

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