My ministry—Glen Gillis

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I thought I couldn’t do it.

My wife, Eris, is a keen supporter of Bike For Bibles, a fundraising initiative of the Bible Society. Three years ago, Eris joined a ride that started in Cairns and finished in Melbourne—some 3000 kms. Her friends and associates sponsored her, contributing almost $A10,000 for the Bible Society’s work.

It did not take long for me to discover that the 65 of us who participated in the ride were a team and when we encouraged each other and worked together, we could all achieve our goal.

Eris had many thrilling experiences on that ride and I knew she loved it. However, she also shared some of the difficulties and pain she went through to achieve her goal.

The Bible Society kept in touch with Eris and asked if she would go on an even bigger adventure: a ride from Broome in the north of Western Australia to Albany, Esperance, across the Nullarbor and ending in Sydney, a distance of 7230 kms. All the aches and pains forgotten, she remembered the good times and the wonderful support that had provided Bibles for needy people. Eris likes a challenge so she jumped at the idea.

Wives have a way of influencing their husbands and, as I like bike riding, she talked me into doing The Big Australia Ride with her. But the most I had ever ridden was about 100 kms at a time; I knew I couldn’t ride my bike up to 200 kms a day for two months. So I said I would only ride what I felt comfortable doing.

Four months before the ride began, Eris broke the femur in her right leg. I thought that was a good excuse not to go on such a difficult ride. How wrong I was. Two weeks before the ride began her surgeon said he would prefer she didn’t go but if she really wanted to she could.

With only 50 per cent power in her right leg, I thought, “Maybe I can keep up with her as she will only be able to ride for a couple of hours a day and I will do the same.” I was wrong again. 

We set out from Broome into a strong head wind. It was difficult riding, so I put my bike up on one of the support vehicles after about 80 kms as I knew I would not be able to ride the next day if I kept going. For the next few days my mindset convinced me to put my bike up after about 100 kms.

Despite her leg issues, Eris kept riding and she encouraged me: “Glenn you’re doing well, just keep going, you can do it.” Some of the other riders also encouraged me, saying: “Tuck in behind me and ride with your front wheel close behind my back wheel and that will help pull you along.”

It did not take long for me to discover that the 65 of us who participated in the ride were a team and when we encouraged each other and worked together, we could all achieve our goal. My mindset had changed and now I could keep pushing those pedals around all day long. It was not a physical problem I had, but a lack of vision and belief.

Now I know I can achieve whatever I set my mind to do. This also applies to being a witness to others and telling them of Jesus’ love. 

Yes, I did ride almost 7000 kms and along with the other riders helped raise almost $A190,000 for the Bible Society and its literacy programs. Since Bike For Bibles began 28 years ago, riders, through sponsorship, have raised more than $A13 million to give God’s Word to those in need.

After two months on the road, what a homecoming it was to be reunited with family and friends. How much greater will the homecoming be when we look up into the clouds and see Jesus coming to take us home to heaven.