Ride your bike and shine: stories from old alleyways

by Dina Hernández Carazo

Cycling Adventures

We spent the last Easter holiday on a family cycling adventure travelling through stunning rural landscapes, visiting old villages and passing the time chatting in narrow alleyways. These old and forgotten villages provided the perfect scenario to share His message. Led by our Father with impressions of flowery roads and climbing plants this trip left us with the sweet and lovely taste of the Great Commission - Go!

Cycling AdventuresIt’s not easy taking the whole family away on holiday. There’s lots of planning to do to make it a special time for all members and there are hours required to pack and plan for every eventuality, but what if you had found a plan suitable for all generations, different nationalities, and languages? We did just that this Easter as we took 33 people including families and singles on a four-day cycling trip through rural areas. We believe families are important and that each member can do their part in creating something great for the Kingdom of God.

Each morning we took the time to worship and pray together and afterwards we humbly came to the Lord to ask what He had planned for us that day. We received impressions, visions, words of encouragement and Bible verses, many things from Him that helped us to understand His good will for the villages we were about to enter. One after another, the impressions showed up along our journey.

You will love the stories we are about to tell you!

The Colorful Garden

Cycling AdventuresOne morning we received an impression of a stream of water decorated with red and yellow flowers from side to side. We wondered where such a beautiful place would be located since it was not a typical description of a village. That day we came across a narrow path so led by our Father we followed it, and we eventually came to a crossroads. “Do we go left or right?” Our leader strongly felt that we should turn right, so we turned, and it led us to a beautiful village-farm decorated with stunning yellow and red flowers!

The village was not like others as the people living there were not common farmers but a community of workers from different families and from different parts of the country employed by a company. It was definitely not what we expected, but it was exactly what God showed us through the vision that morning! The villagers were unusually open to hear His message. The children in the village followed us to hear stories about Jesus and they played with us while inflating some balloons. They listened to us carefully and to our surprise invited us for a cup of Colombian coffee.

Cycling AdventuresThere was a young man staring at us while we preached to someone. He stood next to his motorcycle the whole time trying to hear what we were saying. Some of the people we were sharing with weren’t open to receiving, but he was. We turned to him and He was delighted by the gospel. He received Jesus and prayed with us. Afterwards one of his friends came over and the young man asked us to tell him the whole story about Jesus. Unfortunately, we had to leave so we challenged him just as Jesus said: Go! This is your opportunity; share with Him what you have heard!

We rode back with such joy knowing that the seed of the gospel was planted to beautify that lovely garden!

Don’t talk, just draw

Is there anyone living here? We thought. The village we stopped in was old and seemed to be forgotten. Slowly, a few of old people appeared.

Cycling AdventuresOne of them was a grandmother. She looked at us like wanting to say something so we approached her and started to tell her about Jesus until we realised that she was deaf. We were not sure what to do next. We felt in our hearts that God pointed to her, but how could we share? None of us had sign language skills.

One of us started to draw. First, a cross, then a heart and then a smiley face. Jesus loves me. We were figuring out the significance of the drawing and kind of shouting at her. Surprisingly, a man from the village came across and wanted to translate the message for her. He made some movements for her, shouted in their dialect and translated the whole message. Seemingly, she understood everything. God used him to overcome our challenge and he even heard the Gospel while translating.

She prayed with us and accepted Jesus! We gave her a warm hug and after that, she started to murmur: Jesus loves me!

The Climbing Plant

Cycling Adventures“I had the impression of a big wall covered by a climbing plant” said one of our 11 year olds in the prayer time. As soon as we entered to next village he was looking for his vision, suddenly one young man came to us asking us to follow him to his home. He was very welcoming and kind towards us. He led us to his home, just right next to a big wall covered by a long climbing plant. We found the exact plant God showed us in the vision!

We sat and started a wonderful conversation. He was so in love with the story of Jesus that He wanted to know more and more about Him. In such a short period of time, we felt how much love God feels for him that He sent us all the way over to this small village and He even led us to find him!

The Old Lady in the Alleyway

“and… who is that one?” A simple starting point of this story and one of the most confronting questions that imply a powerful answer.

Cycling AdventuresAs we walked through the narrow alleyways we were trying to find at least one person, somewhere, somehow but there were only empty houses. Finally, at the end of one of the alleyways, there was an old lady sitting on her front doorstep. While approaching her, we realised that she could barely move. She was using crutches and her face showed nothing but pain.

“Hello Grandma, Do you need help?” – We asked her trying to figure out whether she understood Cantonese or not. She replied in her own local dialect, that she was not feeling good. She pointed at her fingers, knees, ankles, and hip (which was incredibly swollen) telling us that she had been suffering from arthritis in her whole body and that she spent all her money on doctors but they said that there was no solution for her illness, not for an 87-year-old woman. She also confessed she felt abandoned as her only two children left the village to work in the city and couldn’t take care of her anymore. The sadness in her face was evident to see.

Cycling Adventures“We know someone who can heal you, Grandma,” we said.

“Whom?” she asked.

”His name is Jesus” we replied.

“And … who is that one?” she wondered.

The fact that she didn’t have a clue who Jesus was, wasn’t a surprise for us since there is a large number of villages in this area that have never heard Jesus’ name, not even seen a cross.

We poured our heart out and explained to her that Jesus was the son of the God who created the heavens and that He was powerful enough to heal her. She couldn’t understand how this man called Jesus could heal her with no medicines. She thought Jesus was one of us, so we explained to her that we were not Jesus but He lives in our hearts and was right there with us and that He loved her! Words cannot describe the expressions of happiness and gratitude in her face. After we told her the good news of the gospel she said (while kissing our hands): “Thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, thank you, Jesus, that you thought of me and you sent these foreigners to tell me these things!”

Cycling AdventuresWe were shocked to see how fast she could understand everything, even things that are hard to get without believing in Jesus first. One of us wanted to make sure that she got the fact that we were not God, so he emphasised: “Grandma, it’s not us, but Jesus is the one doing these things, OK?”

So she replied: “I understood that it’s not you, but Jesus who lives in you!”

What a deep answer. We were amazed and we all agreed that we have never seen anyone receive and understand the gospel in that way before. She kept asking questions and even answered them in a very smart way. We believed that it was only the Holy Spirit that could have revealed it to her!

We prayed for her, for her family and for her needs and at the end, she even prayed by herself. She kept telling us that she could feel the love that was in us and that our kindness was too great that she wished she had something to give us, so she offered us some water. What a privilege for us.

After the prayer, she told us that she felt joy and peace knowing that after she died she would be in heaven with Jesus and she wouldn’t suffer anymore.

“If Jesus heals me, I will tell everyone in the village about Him.” She said. We hugged, cried and kissed her goodbye. She stood up by herself and said that the pain in her hip was disappearing after the prayer! We will never forget the smile on her face. She kept waving at us till we could not see each other anymore.

Cycling AdventuresOver and over again we proved that the deep love that God has for those who don’t know Him yet, and how He moves our hearts to go and preach to them. So, after reading these stories what comes to your mind? We believe that God is calling us to join what He already started and you would never know how many hearts in hidden places have been prepared for Him for you to go till you accept the invitation. One story after another proves that the Spirit of the Lord covers the earth stirring it up to His name among places that you would never dream of. The people’s hearts are open because the harvest is ready. Would you be the next worker going to the field?