There is a war being waged in the streets of urban communities across the United States. On both sides are countless American youth who are armed with illegal guns obtained by any number of underhanded, backroom deals on the black market. Recently, Southeastern pastors and laypeople took to the streets to fight back — not with guns and bullets, but rather with a message of hope, wholeness, peace, and love. For 1,353 miles and 40 days, and with one mission, the Restored Order cycling team mounted their bicycles to promote peace and combat gun violence.
With a bicycle ride from the Seventh-day Adventist World Headquarters in Silver Spring, Md., to Goulds Park in Miami, Fla., this unique band sought to raise awareness, raise funds to support programs that are designed to stop the violence, and save the children. Prompted by the death of NFL star and Southeastern Conference member Sean Taylor, who was killed when a teenager invaded his home in 2008, David Peay, Conference community services director, determined to help save the lives of young people on both sides of the gun barrel, whose lives are destroyed at the moment the gun fires.
Peay and Mark Brown, D.Min., Conference health ministries director, rode about 50 to 70 miles each day, with a safety and health vehicle following close behind. Stopping each night to rest, they shared the love of Jesus and their message of peace and nonviolence in cities, large and small, all along the east coast. They spoke with several local media outlets and community leaders about their journey to enlist support for their cause. At various places along the ride, other riders met and joined them for a portion of the trip.
Recently while resting in Daytona Beach, the news began to circulate that Hurricane Irma was sure to make landfall in south Florida; the Restored Order team shifted gears, switched their cycling suits for disaster response shirts, and began to plan strategy. They plan to complete the ride as soon as disaster relief efforts are complete. Yet, their goal has not changed: they are on a mission of saving lives, whether it be from gun violence or a category five hurricane.
Southeastern | November 2017