After the success of the ‘I Will Go Ride’ in the United States in 2022, a group of Seventh-day Adventist leaders and cyclists are about to set off on a new adventure, this time in Australia.
Seventeen cyclists, including seven of the eight cyclists from the U.S. trip, will embark on an Australian version of the I Will Go Ride. This time, the cyclists will be in two groups, with one team setting off from Melbourne on January 29, 2023, and the other from Brisbane on January 31. Both rides will wind up in Cooranbong, where most of the cyclists will be involved in the Australian Union Conference (AUC) Empower meetings at Avondale University.
Following a similar approach to the U.S. ride, the cyclists — mostly church leaders and pastors — will be stopping in Australian towns along the way, chatting and praying with people, sharing their faith, and distributing Christian literature, including copies of the book The Great Controversy, by Adventist Church co-founder Ellen G. White, and Signs of the Times magazines.
Having had such a great experience on the U.S. ride, AUC general secretary Michael Worker is excited for what the Aussie ride will bring and the faith-sharing encounters they will have. He is leading the group riding from Melbourne to Cooranbong, a distance of almost 750 miles (1,200 kilometers).
“We hope that many will be led to know Jesus through this ride,” Worker said, “and that this will inspire others to think of creative ways to share their faith.”
For Marcus Pereira, pastor of the Fox Valley Adventist Community Church in Sydney, this will be his ﬁrst long-distance ride, so he’s anticipating “pain, and plenty of it.”
“I am actually looking forward to the sense of community that doing something like this brings and meeting people along the way, where we can listen to their story and offer a sense of hope,” he said.
The ride was inspired by pioneer literature evangelists Phillip Reekie and his nephew Frederick, who rode bicycles to share literature in remote parts of Australia from the early 1890s. Their work had a significant influence in establishing many Adventist churches in Australia. In fact, Adventist leaders in Australia say that Reekie can be credited with transforming thousands of lives after delivering a copy of The Great Controversy to Thomas Kent, a widower from Eugowra in rural New South Wales. Kent shared the book with his neighbors and five other families, who also became disciples of Jesus, influencing subsequent generations. It is estimated that at least 20,000 people have discovered Jesus and His last-day message through the work of those pioneers.
In the U.S., the I Will Go Ride team rode from Washington D.C. to St. Louis, Missouri, in late May and early June 2022. The team covered around 1,200 miles (2,000 kilometers), arriving just in time for the 61st General Conference Session in St. Louis.