As the sun set on the final day of the Word Riders 2017 tour, it was apparent that something very powerful was at work both within this group and in the work they do out in the sowing field.
For first-timer, Chris Devenish, it truly was a life-altering week.
“It was an awesome, life-changing experience. I can’t describe it any other way. Riding (the motorcycles) was fun but the way it opened up our eyes – we, who come from a privileged background… it was absolutely amazing. I can now understand why this man cuts in front of me in the traffic, because I now know where he comes from. We need to understand that there are some of those little ones that we saw this week who will never leave the village. So the guy who managed to leave the village and is now cutting in, he rose up and we should respect that. I get home every evening hot under the collar because of people driving the way they do. That needs to change, and it is going to change. It has changed – thanks to the Word Riders.”
Richard Matchett is equally excited about the country’s future after his experiences with the children this week.
“I apologised to a teacher for making a row and upsetting their day, she just laughed and said, ‘the children are very excited that white people have come into the village’. I thought that is a very interesting perspective, I thought she would have said, ‘…that bikers have come in’, but it was just this distinction and an appreciation that our worlds overlapped. When we, as South Africans, really do cross these invisible lines it causes more excitement than we realise. The country wants to move forward. The country wants to join hands and be family. I find it incredible to see these little people who are going to be the people that are going to make our country work in future. We need to keep praying that they will grow up into adults who will really take seriously the ideas and dreams that are in their heads and pray that the Lord takes these seeds and grows them into mature Christians to be part of his plan in South Africa,” Richard said.
Koos de Wet was grateful for travelling mercies.
“We did not expect the whole off-road thing. We did an off-road course a while back during which I dropped the bike in the mud several times and I told myself that I will never ride on a gravel road again. And then we come on this tour where we face these serious off-road conditions.
But, I think the Lord is also good to us in the sense that we do need to walk on difficult paths, like it says in Psalms, ‘…he causes me to stand on the heights.’ I think on this trip he has made us stand safely on high places and we thank him that no one was injured.”
Dirk Gevers, CEO of the Bible Society, joined us this evening after just returning from a trip to Europe where he attended a publishers convention.
“I was in a little town outside of Berlin and the theme of the convention was Breaking barriers and bringing Hope, which was very significant given where it was held. As I listen to you all this evening, I think that could just as easily have been a theme that would apply to this Word Riders tour – breaking barriers and bringing hope is exactly what you have been doing this week,” Dirk explained.
“When I read about the Off -the-map Tour it actually took me back to when the Bible Society began 213 years ago.
“That is exactly what happened – a little girl, Mary Jones, walked 47 km where there were no roads because she so desperately wanted a Bible of her own. Then Reverend Thomas Charles, did exactly what you did this week, but he did it on a horse. You took your bikes into places where maybe cars can’t go readily and you took Bibles to the children so they didn’t have to walk 47 km to get a Bible. What you are doing is absolutely in the tradition and the spirit of Bible Society work, which is taking the word of hope to people who need it.”