TRIP 2003

Update #04 - Jan 16th
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida - 553 miles (885 KM)

I know that it hasn't been a week since my last update but the past couple of days have been frustrating ones and I wanted to share and get maybe a few things off my chest. For the most part, I spent a few cold nights in my tent camping out between Satellite Beach and Ponte Vedra Beach. I'm spending a few nights inside with some good Christian friends that I haven't seen in at least three years.

The basic reason why I had to camp out in my tent is because I was passed off my several ministers. Saturday night (Jan. 11th), I stopped at a small church outside of Port St. John since they had on their marquee the message that they were going to have a youth concert. Well, not too many people and youth showed up. There were two ministers there but I found this out after the concert and neither was the minister of the church. In fact, the church was between pastors.

I had hoped that I could have maybe been given permission to stay in one of the classrooms in the church's two story education building since the temperature was going to be in the thirties but neither one of the ministers present knew how to get in touch with somebody with the church. They were just renting the building for the night. What I got from one of them was that I couldn't stay at their church in a nearby town since it had a security system and the other just gave me a mild "I'll be praying for you." and left it at that. I went down the road a mile or two and found a place to camp out.

The following morning (Jan 12th), I had a pretty good welcome at the First United Methodist Church in Titusville. In fact, I was given the chance to talk at the end of the lesson in one of the Sunday school classes. Afterwards between the time of the class ending and the start of the service, I was given almost $60 in "Green-handshakes".

From Titusville, I headed north on U.S. 1 to New Smyrna Beach. I arrived in New Smyrna Beach right before dusk. I made my way over to the First Baptist Church where I had worshipped several years ago. I got there about fifteen minutes into the service.

After the service, I went down to talk with the pastor. I had hoped that he might know of a place where I could put down my sleeping bag inside since the temperature was going to drop some and it would also be windy and possibly rainy after midnight. The minister told me that he remembered me from my previous visit.

When I asked the minister about whether there was a place that I could stay, I was sort of dumbfounded by his answer. He told me that he couldn't help me. There was some policy changes that prevented him from helping me. If only I had contacted him earlier in the day, he might have been able to contact another local ministry that could have helped. He said that even though I was an honourable and trustworthy person he couldn't take it upon himself to see if there was somebody in his congregation that I could stay with or another minister he could contact for me. This was the opposite response that I had hoped for since during his sermon he talked on how we should help out our brothers and sisters with their needs.

His real suggestion was that I should go to the police station to see if they had any suggestions. By the time that I got to the police station almost two miles away at the northern edge of the city, it was closed. It was too late to go back into town to see if there was some possibly of contacting another minister through the phone book. I just started walking northward along U.S. 1 to the next town of Port Orange about eight miles away.

About two miles down the road, I came across a bar, which had catered to motorcyclists. that had been closed down. It looked like there had been a fire there. I went in back to see if there might have been some kind of awning still standing where I could camp under. There wasn't one so I ventured inside to see how it looked. I decided to camp out in one of the back rooms that still had a solid roof, both of it's doors still hanging, and the window glass not broken. ADONAI provided a dry place for me to stay afterall.

Tuesday night (Jan. 14th), I didn't get passed off by one church but two. The night before I had used some of the "Green-Handshake" money to get a room at a low-cost motel in Daytona Beach Shores. I got into Crescent Beach a little before dusk since I had to stop and repair a pinhole leak in my front tire. I saw some activity at a small storefront Baptist church. I found the secretary still in the office. I talked to her for a few minutes and she said that she didn't think that I could stay in the church for the night. Her pastor was out of town and there were no deacons available to call.

The secretary did tell me that there was some kind of shelter in St. Augustine about ten miles away. There was no way that I was going to try and ride along a two-laned highway with no shoulder in the dark with the hopes that the shelter might be open and there would be room for me. Before going inside, the secretary told me that I might be able to get some help at the next church down the road which was a big Catholic church outside of St. Augustine Beach.

It was around 7 p.m. when I got to the church. There was some activity in the community center. The lady I talked to said that maybe I could find the priest at the church which was still open. The priest wasn't at the church and since there wasn't a rectory on site there was no way that I could contact him. I was told by another person in the church that maybe I could talk with one of the deacons back at the community center who was going to teach a Bible class soon. I waited till around 7:30 p.m. for the deacon to arrive. The deacon was a little frustrated when I interupted his getting ready for the class. He said that he couldn't help me. I didn't say anything back to him as I walked away.

I almost had the urge to go back and ask him to open up his Bible to the 25th chapter of the book of Matthew. The first part of the chapter is where Y'shua the Messiah tells his followers that whenever we help a person in need (like giving a thirsty person a glass of water, visiting a sick person, providing shelter for the homeless, clothes for the naked, etc.) you are doing it the Messiah as well. In the latter half of the chapter, it says that if you refuse to help a person in need and turn that person away you are also turning away the Messiah. During the Final Judgement, these non-caring people referred to as being goats will be separated from the sheep who are the followers of the Messiah.

In many parts of the Bible, there is a calling by ADONAI to have his followers to be actively involved in the caring of needy people. Luke 3:11 says "He that has two coats, let him give one coat to one that doesn't have one; and he that has food, let him give some to the hungry."

Helping the poor is supposed to bring great joy. - Proverbs 14:21 "He that has mercy upon the poor has great joy."

Turning a deaf ear to those in need stifles the person's spiritual growth - Proverbs 21:13 "Who so ever stops up his ears to the cries of the poor, he shall cry himself and his cries shall not be heard.

Helping out those in need demonstrates the reality of being a follower of Y'SHUA the MESSIAH. - 1 John 3:17-18 "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of the L-RD be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongues but with actions and in truth."

What really got to me was that the response that I got from these ministers and religious people on the East coast of Florida was exactly the opposite the responses that I got from the ministers and the religious people that I encountered on the West Coast of Florida especially through the Panhandle. There are quite a few ministers on the West Coast of Florida who went out of their way to help me and my ministry and had even invited me into their homes. I have standing invitations on my return visits to stay with them or at their church when I return to their areas. I guess the major reasons behind the different responses are that the population of the state is more on the East Coast of Florida than on the West Coast and also there are more transient people who migrate to the East Coast of Florida and swamp the care programs than there are on the West Coast of Florida.

I still cannot figuere out why people consider me as being a homeless person and treat me like one. How many homeless people travel on a custom-made bicycle that costs over a thousand dollars? I tell everybody that as a believer in Y'shua my actual home is not on Earth but in Heaven. I am just a traveler on this planet. This should be the case with all believers in Y'SHUA the MESSIAH. It's just that during my travels, I have taken close to a vow of poverty so I don't always have the extra money for things like motel rooms when needed.

The evening turned out better than I had hoped for. When I got into St. Augustine Beach, I chanced using some of the remaining minutes on my phone card to see if some friends in nearby Ponte Vedra Beach were home. I hadn't seen them in three years. Even though it was around 8 p.m. when I called, my friend offered to come down and pick me up. My friends offered to also let me stay with them for a few days.

Once I get back on the road tomorrow morning, I'll be riding through the Jacksonville Beach area. North of Yulee, FL. I will be crossing into Georgia and then riding through the southern third of the state. I'll be crossing back i nto Florida around Tallehassee and then taking the Gulf Coast route through Apalachicola, Panama City, and Pensacola, FL that I had taken last November and December. Eventually, I'll be making my way along the Southern part of the country to California.



Bicyclist in Sunset



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