Cyclist to Raise Funds for Zambia Ministry

Post a Comment » Written on April 7th, 2008     
Filed under: News
ROCKFORD, IL (April 7, 2008) – When 63-year-old Gary Lindberg learned about a pair of recent college graduates who had started a missionary enterprise building bicycles in Zambia in order to provide jobs, he knew how he wanted to help.

He is raising donations by riding his own bike from Rockford to the Evangelical Covenant Church Annual Meeting in Green Lake, Wisconsin. He will spend two days in June covering the 150 miles.

Lindberg, a member of First Covenant Church in Rockford, read an article about the ministry on the denomination’s website in December. “The story intrigued me,” Lindberg says. “I’m just really fascinated with the concept.”

Vaughn Spethmann, a member of Clairemont Covenant Church, and Dustin McBride graduated in spring 2007 with international business degrees from Azusa Pacific University and started Acirfa (Africa spelled backward) to build high-quality, low-cost bicycles. The business employs Zambian workers while providing a means of transportation so people can travel to work and be lifted out of poverty.

“That really is a great thing,” says Lindberg, who graduated from North Park University in 1967 with a bachelor’s degree in economics and business.

Lindberg hopes that others will join him on the journey, or at least be willing to make financial contributions.

“Having people like Gary believe in the vision and then go ahead and be a part of it by riding, raising funds and awareness is so encouraging,” says Spethmann. “It is also affirming that God is moving in people’s lives here in Zambia and in the USA. We could not be changing people’s lives here in Zambia from the ‘pulpit’ of a bicycle without the support from Gary and others like him.”

This is not the first time Lindberg has read a Covenant news story and been prompted to ride to raise money for bikes in Africa. In 2004, he read a story about Covenanters who were undertaking a three-day, 275-mile trip to raise money that would be used to purchase bicycles for pastors in Congo. The trip raised $7,000.

Compared to that trip, the trek in June should be easier: Prior to the first event, Lindberg had not ridden a bike for several decades. “I didn’t even own a bike,” he says laughing. So he borrowed his brother’s.

“I’d been looking for a hobby,” Lindberg recalls. “When that article came across my computer, I thought that is what I wanted to do.”

Since that first trip, Lindberg has continued to use the bike for ministry. He leads a group from church on the second Saturday of every month. The rides have been an event to which church members can invite guests who don’t attend First Covenant.

For more information, contact First Covenant Church by calling 815-398-4247 or by email.

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