Would you join me, Scott Bowers, as I anticipate celebrating 20 years of ministry, in 2021, with the Foundation of Compassionate American Samaritans (FOCAS)?
FOCAS operates Lord’s Gym Ministries of the Greater Cincinnati Tri-State Area (www.LordsGymMinistries.org) and the Youth Resiliency Adventure (www.YRAdventure.com). To celebrate, I am planning to ride, that is peddle, my bike across the United States along the Trans America (TransAm) Bicycle Trail starting on or around May 10, 2021. It should take about three months. I would like to invite you to join me or take a role in my journey.
Reflecting with FOCAS
It was April 1, 2001, one week before the Cincinnati riots, that I left the corporate world and came to work for FOCAS with Dick Taylor. At the time, we operated the original Lord’s Gym and Lord’s Pantry at Walnut and Liberty in Over-the-Rhine; and, we were still actively involved in serving a remote region of Haiti, which is where Dick started FOCAS in 1986. So many lives have been transformed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and much has changed operationally in 20 years.
I enjoy riding my bike long distances. It is now a popular ministry with our Lord’s Gym youth and leaders. This year we biked and camped 280 miles along Under Ground Railroad bike trail in Greater Cincinnati and nearby communities. I discovered this source of adventurous activity, especially with youth, on my first ride from Cincinnati to Niagara Falls with City Gospel Mission’s Tour de Falls for youth. Having done the trip twice and two solo trips along the Ohio to Erie bike trail (Ohio River to Lake Erie), I decided in 2018 to set my eyes on the TransAm Trail with the goal of accomplishing it by Dec 2022 when I would be 65 years old. My anniversary year of 2021 seemed to be the perfect time to do it.
Unfortunately, due to Covid-19, and the trip’s cancellation by Adventure Cycling, I have decided to attempt the trip by myself in a self-supported capacity. This means that I will be carrying all my gear on my bike such as tent, sleeping bag, clothes, food, etc. As such, I had to commit to my plans in the summer of 2020 to make the necessary preparations, organize an advisory team, secure the bike/gear, and adopt a training regimen. There is still lots to do as a one-man operation.
My main goal is to have an opportunity to slow down and hear from God concerning my next 20 years of ministry. In the process, I will report in each day with a word of encouragement and what I am learning. An additional goal of my trip will be to bring attention to FOCAS’ virtual athletic event for youth called the Youth Resiliency Adventure. You can think of it as Scott’s Youth Resiliency Adventure on the TransAm Bicycle Trail. Going East to West, it starts in Yorktown, Virginia, and ends about (depending on detours and getting lost occasionally) 4,300 miles later in Astoria, Oregon. I am planning for the trip to take 12 weeks, ending around the end of July, with a day off each week (Sundays) to recharge and regroup. I will take more days to rest if needed thanks to a very supportive FOCAS board of trustees.
There is so much more to share with you as I would love to bring you along for the ride via social media outlets and the like. More on this to follow. My personal website will be part of our 2021 YRA site, www.YRAdventure.com/scotts-yra. Another purpose in making my plans public now is to begin raising awareness and financial support for this FOCAS initiative, especially as it approaches year end.
You can use your change to help me bring about change in the Tri-State or your own backyard. I am asking for you to prayerfully consider investing a penny, nickel, dime, quarter, or dollar per mile or any amount God would place on your heart. You can invest at www.LordsGymMinistries.org and select the Scott’s Youth Resiliency Adventure (YRA) to give. Funds raised will go to supporting my trip expenses and the YRA. I also would appreciate your prayers in the planning and execution of this huge undertaking, especially in a tumultuous Covid-19 environment.
Stand firm – Scott