Home of Wheaton Bible Church's Quarterly Magazine
by Scott Landon, Executive Director
I had just graduated from college and had a job waiting for me in September, but with the summer months stretching out ahead of us, three college friends and I had a real sense that God was leading us to embark on an ambitious adventure—biking across the United States. We were responding to Jesus’ call in Matthew 28:19–20 to “go and make disciples.”
Each year when June rolls around, I reflect on that summer and the life-transforming experience it was for me. I didn’t fully realize it at the time, but God did a major remodeling project on me that summer.
The four of us undertook that trip as a journey of faith, underscored by our desire to demonstrate that the Word of God is as real today as it was when Christ Jesus first spoke it—and to challenge the people we met to believe in Jesus and to experience new life in Him.
By its nature, the idea of our bicycling across the country inspires people’s curiosity. For that reason, we encountered many many situations where the Gospel could be naturally introduced. Those opportunities were invigorating to us as we saw the Holy Spirit at work in those conversations.
As our theme verse for the trip, we chose John 8:31–32: “If you make my word your home you will indeed be my disciples; you will come to know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (New Jerusalem Bible).
We left from Ocean Shores, Washington, on June 1, 1978, taking with us only our bicycles, two tents, and some spare clothing.
Our goal was to travel as closely as we could to the way the disciples did when Jesus sent them out two by two. We took no money or food with us, claiming two passages of Scripture that strengthened our belief that God would sustain us in our need for food and shelter: Matthew 6:25–34 and Matthew 10:5–33.
God responded to our trust in Him. We ate three meals a day and never had to ask for any of them! And we had a place to sleep every night. He also provided for our travel from South Dakota to the Pacific Ocean (where we began) and from the Atlantic Ocean back to our homes.
We planned seven mail stops along the way, stops that would serve as “supply depots” for our bikes and provide opportunities for much-needed rest for us. Most of these rest stops were churches, where we hoped to share ourselves and our experiences and to share the Gospel as opportunities were available.
It was an incredible trip—3,500 miles (an average of 66 miles a day). Including rest days, we were gone seventy-seven days and experienced only four days of rain over the entire time!
As my friend Mark said, “There are an awful lot of coincidences that all add up to something, or we’re the luckiest people in the world.” We knew it was God, not luck, orchestrating that amazing adventure for four young men.
We don’t know how many lives we touched through our trip, but God does. We do know that we learned priceless lessons about total dependence on Him—lessons that grew from living with the daily reality of not knowing how or when our next meal was coming, where we would be sleeping that night, or what we’d encounter on the road that day.
Personally, this trip changed my life as I learned that I could totally—without reservation—trust God with anything and everything as I walk in obedience to Him. His promises can be trusted.
My spiritual growth over that summer allowed me to move forward in trust in so many events of my life, whether it was making significant life decisions or entrusting our 13-month-old firstborn son to God’s care when he was hospitalized with bacterial meningitis and almost died. In the mid-1980s, our trust in His provision enabled my wife, Sue, and me to sell our home—leaving behind a great job with promising career opportunities—develop prayer and financial supporters, and move our young family, including three-year-old Paul and one-year-old Jeremy, overseas as missionaries.
I leaned on those same lessons in obedience and trust as we moved to Illinois in 1996, not knowing anyone here, because God called us to a job; and again eight years later, as I left a partnership in a growing company to accept a call to serve at Wheaton Bible Church.
The bottom line for me is that I am convinced God’s promises are faithful—to young men on a once-in-a-lifetime cross-country bike trip or in the everyday decisions of life. I know that I can trust God with all aspects of my life, big or small.
June 1—Holquiam, Washington:
“We arrived into Holquiam, Washington, at 12:15 pm. I was full of doubts and honestly did not expect to eat. We tried to get our water bottles filled but the park faucet did not work, and the Presbyterian Church was locked, so we went to the Catholic Church. Bob and Kent went to look for the priest, and Mark and I sat on the steps sharing doubts with each other. A few minutes later, Bob comes out with a smile, cold water in the bottles, and $10.” [We also learned that the priest is usually at a weekly lunch meeting and is not in at noon on Thursdays. God placed him there that day for us—in spite of our doubts.]
June 19—Ennis, Montana:
“The church was locked, but we decided to give the pastor a call. Bob got through, but the pastor wasn’t home, so he shared with the daughter, and she said we could stay, she was certain her folks wouldn’t care. She came and led us to their home, and we talked for a short time before Mr. and Mrs. Eldridge came home. . . .They, too, received us warmly and had just purchased a camper and told us we could stay in that for the night . . . . The Eldridges called us for dinner. A feast of barbecued hamburgers. DELICIOUS!”
June 22—Old Faithful, Wyoming:
“We had many opportunities to share with people today. We were sometimes warmly received; other times the people weren’t interested. But it was exciting sharing the Word. . . . Although the day was busy and tiring, I feel good because of the many opportunities to share with people and the answer to prayer about [a cabin we were offered] where we would stay for the evening. God is faithful to His promises.”
July 22—Carrollton, Illinois:
“Arrived about 3:35 pm and turned right at a corner that led us to the United Presbyterian Church. We met the pastor, who lives next door. . . . He invited us in, gave us some ice cold water . . . [and] said we could stay in his home. . . . He asked if we stick to a set schedule. Since we don’t, he asked if we would go down to St. Louis to Six Flags and spend the day with 20 high school students. [His four chaperones had cancelled on him that week.] After he fed us and washed our clothes, he asked us to do the worship service tomorrow.”
August 12—Petersburg, Virginia:
“Mrs. Spurlock just happened to be at the church to arrange some flowers. She had planned to be there earlier but had guests at her home in the morning and the flowers hadn’t arrived when she was there earlier in the afternoon. We met her and she invited us to her home to clean up and have dinner. . . . As things turned out, we have beds to sleep in, she is cleaning our clothes, and we will have good food again tomorrow. Another instance of precision timing of our Lord.”