Keep RidingOn May 19th, 2007 I rode into Belmont Correctional Institution as part of a Bill Glass Day of Champions program. There were a total of six bikers. Three of them went into the main facility, myself and Don & Mae Marshall went to the camp and a juvenile facility. I talked with five guys in the camp, all of whom rededicated themselves in their relationship with Christ.
At the juvenile facility, I talked with three teenage boys, two of which prayed to accept Christ as their Lord and Savior. The third young man had prayed to receive Christ before and so was reluctant to pray again because he felt that he must not have been sincere the first time because he had done all these bad things that landed him in the facility. We talked about how, if he was sincere when he prayed before that God had forgiven him and that he was saved. I assured him that God does not retract His promises even though the young man had not been living in a way that would please God. All of that was wonderful, but the highlight of the day was yet to come.
On the ride home it was threatening to rain and I was concerned about that. I had wrecked in the rain the year before and ever since, I've been very nervous about being in the rain. So as I was riding I was thinking.. why am I doing this? I'm too old to being doing this stuff. Maybe I should just quit this motorcycle stuff. I can go into prisons and witness to people without riding a motorcycle.
Eventually, I stopped at McDonalds to get a cup of coffee. I kept my CMA armor jacket and Cordura riding pants on, so once I had the coffee in hand, I was anxious to get back outside where it was cooler. I walked out to my bike in the parking lot and noticed that a car had parked beside my bike and then I saw that there were three people in the car, all looking over at my bike. There was an older lady behind the wheel, a man in the passenger seat who looked to be in his twenties and perhaps mentally disabled. Especially noticeable was a little guy in the back seat that looked to be about four years old. He was obviously enamored with the bike and now he was excited to see this guy all dressed in riding gear and he waived excitedly to me. I waived back as I sipped my coffee and he waived again. I walked across the parking lot and stood under some trees for a few minutes, threw the coffee lid in the trash can there and then seeing the little guy still excited and waiving, I walked back across the parking lot to my bike.
As I unlocked the helmet lock, the little guy started knocking on the window, so I waived to him again. Next he rolled the window down, and I said, “Hi, what's your name?” He told me, “Nathan!” I told him my name was Mark. "Is that your motorcycle?" he asked. "Yes." "Are you going to ride it?" He continued. "Yes, I'm going to ride it home. I sure hope it doesn't rain on me."
I was really beginning to like my new friend so I pulled out the little pocket testament I had in my jacket pocket and said, “Let me give you something Nathan,” and handed him the testament. He clutched it and I said, “You probably can't read yet, so ask your mommy or daddy to read it to you, and you keep it so you can read it when you grow up.” Then he said something else I couldn't quite make out. I asked him what he said, and again I couldn't understand. Between his four year old voice and my 52 year old ears, I just wasn't getting it. Then the lady behind the wheel said something. I'm guessing she was his grandmother. I leaned down so my face was right in the open window and told her that I didn't hear her. She said that Nathan wanted me to stay until his mother got off work so that he could show her who gave him the Bible. I was in a bit of a hurry and I thought it would be a little awkward to meet his mother, so I told Nathan that I needed to get going and that he could just tell his mom that “Mark the motorcycle man” gave him the Bible. They all smiled. His grandmother then asked me where I was going and where I'd been and I told her.
I said good-bye to Nathan, put my gloves and helmet on and headed out. As I did, I was praying that God would touch that young life with His holy word and hopefully his whole family. I prayed that God's transforming power would keep little Nathan out of the places I'd been to earlier in the day. I can still see in my mind's eye, the way Nathan clutched that testament to his chest with both hands and I pray that he will keep God's word close to his heart for the rest of his life. I'm thankful that God has allowed me to be “Mark the motorcycle man” for Nathan! No question. I'll keep riding.