Warning: Some of the topics discussed may contain accounts of real life violence, strong language, and other topics not suitable for minors. This podcast has remained unedited out of respect of those individuals who feel led by the Lord to share their testimonies.
On today’s show, Vince, Joseph and Justin get an update from Mike Priddy’s trans-continental bicycle ride and Vincent shares a message regarding fear…
School Circle: Where are you?
Mike Priddy: We are about 10 miles outside of Elizabethtown, Kentucky.
SC: When did you depart on your journey?
Mike: We left on April the 28th from the state capitol in Sacramento. This trip has not been the easiest of things. When we got into Colorado, we had to take the Monarch Path, which is 11,312 feet, over the Rockies, and the day before I was sick and unable to ride. So, I was in back seat the safety vehicle and couldn’t stop shaking and rocking back and forth. I also had to relieve myself every so often. On that that day, I didn’t eat or drink really well, so on the next day when we’re going over the Monarch Pass, I get on my bike, start peddling, and immediately feel like I’m not going to make it. We luckily had the Colorado State Patrol behind us the whole time. As we start moving up, I keep saying to myself, “Okay, just keep going until you black out and fall over. Then, no one can say you didn’t try.”
I guess the Colorado State trooper could tell when I was starting to slow down, because he was turn his PA on and pump some very motivating music. There’s actually a video on our Facebook page, No Man Rides Alone, of me riding a bicycle and a Colorado State trooper blowing up the Monarch Pass with AC/DC.
SC: It must be an interesting feeling being chased by the police, but for all the right reasons and being excited about it.
Mike: Yeah, they were behind us the whole time and it was a really cool experience.
SC: What have been the difficulties of riding your bike at 14,000 feet?
Mike: The air was very, very thin and, as you can see on our Facebook page, it was snowing. The temperature was around 30 degrees. I’m riding and sweating profusely, but the wind is still whipping against. So, I’m hot, sweaty, and freezing.
SC: Tell us about your stops and the one on one you’ve had with people while raising awareness.
Mike: Well, wherever we stop, they can definitely tell that we’re not from around here, but for the most part, everyone has been very, very welcoming. We stopped through Ellsworth, Kansas and did a little meet and greet and talk at the American Legion there, and they actually had a declaration from the mayor, naming that day as No Man Rides Alone Day. I actually got to talk with a very prominent individual from that community, and my story really resonated with him. So, hopefully he’ll be looking for the help he needs.
SC: What’s the average length of a leg?
Mike: We’re probably averaging about 65 to 70 miles a day. We’re trying to go town to town, so sometimes it’s a little bit shorter and sometimes it’s a little bit longer. It also depends a lot on terrain. Out west there were a lot of foothills we had to go through. So, we’d just have to travel 45 miles, but it’d still take us 6 hours because of steep hills.
SC: How many days do you have left?
Mike: We end June 10th and all the information and all of the stops can be found on our Facebook page, No Man Rides Alone. We’re hoping to get the awareness out there and raise funds. The Mighty Oaks Warrior Program doesn’t cost a thing. We’re trying to spread awareness for what’s happening with our veterans, but also that there’s a cure: a relationship with God through Jesus Christ. The Mighty Oaks Warrior program is helping veterans form that relationship and we need the money to be able to continue to do this for our brothers who are out there struggling.
SC: How many more miles do you have left today?
Mike: We just have about 10 more miles to go.
Next up, Vince shares an important message regarding fear…
As a Veteran, I’ve never really sat down and thought about what Memorial Day meant. I served in the Marine Corps for about 10 years, and during my service, I’ve lost many friends. I never really looked back, sat down, and pondered those men and women and my good memories with them, and I think the reason for that is because I was afraid to let them sink in and to feel that sadness. The night before Memorial Day, I went on Facebook and there are so many people that have lost loved ones in combat, loved ones who have given their lives freely in service of our country.
I was a Cobra pilot, and as a cobra pilot, I was up a thousand feet, comfortable, and loaded with tons of explosives and ammunition. I could defend myself. I would look down with bird’s eye view of soldiers, sailors, marines, and airmen on ground and watch them in the heat of battle. Looking back, I had it good. I was very safe, and I owe it all to those guys fighting down there so I didn’t have to. They kept me safe when I would return back home to base at the end of a mission.
What came to my mind around this Memorial Day was fear, and as a Christian, the Bible talks a lot about fear. It actually mentions it, 365 times. Looking back, I remember flying over the battlefield and one mission in particular where we showed up to the overhead and there were a bunch of British guys on the ground. It was pretty quiet, initially, and then we started taking fire from a mosque. As we began taking fires from the mosque, we began doing circles and shooting in trying to suppress this target. After so long, we depleted about half our ammunition and needed fuel. We had stopped taking fire from the mosque, so we flew over to FOB landing and began to refuel. We were ten minutes into refueling (it takes about 20 minutes to refuel a Cobra) and we saw a guy in the distance running towards us with a giant sheet of paper. I couldn’t read it until he got closer, which is when I realized it said, “Take off now! Take off now!” So, I immediately rip the fuel hose out of the aircraft, armed up the aircraft, and hopped in the front seat. We were out bound three minutes later. Right when we took off, we gained COMs with the J-Tech on the ground. He was frantic and told us that they were taking fire and that we needed back immediately. So we show up into the overhead, and I had never, before or after, seen so many rounds and explosions flying every which way. The 53s came in and had to wave off, due to the volley of RPGs being fired. I can return fire from the Cobra, so we’re expelling all of our ammunition trying to defend the guys on the ground. We ended up picking those Brits up and returning back to base. That night, I realized what war really was. I could see people shooting at each other and there rounds being volleyed back and forth. There was a point where I felt helpless. I was out of ammunition ad popping out flares just to distract the enemy. I started to understand the battlefield and the danger that faced our guys on the ground. For once, my life flashed before my eyes.
Even though I struggle with certain things, I feel like my life, then and now, is pretty good. I think I walk with God pretty well. However, one thing I realized that day is that I am caught up in fear. For me, primarily, it’s fear of death. This Memorial Day reminded me of what it is to live a fearless life, as so many of our brothers and sisters have done and given their life out of courage. I know that I could have been a better tool for God in the military if I had lived confidently in my salvation in Christ.
I want to talk about living a fearless in Christ, so that we can be effective in both the actual battlefield, for those of us who are active duty, and the spiritual battlefield, which is prevalent in all of our lives.
In Romans 8:15-17, we read:
The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship. And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory
This tells us that if we are saved and the spirit is within us, then we are heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ. There is living proof for if we are heirs of God, the fruits of the spirit. So, if you see the fruits of the spirit, love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control, in your life, then you know you are living in the spirit.
If we are heirs of God, He will always come to our aid and always take care of us. As Isaiah 54:14-15 says,
In righteousness you will be established: tyranny will be far from you; you will have nothing to fear. Terror will be far removed; it will not come near you. If anyone does attack you, it will not be my doing; whoever attacks you will surrender to you.
If we are living in Christ and we are co-heirs in Christ, then we can lead fearless lives because we know that God will protect us on the physical and spiritual battlefield. I’m not saying we can’t be killed on the physical battlefield, but we can fight with courage no matter where we are at because God is going to take care of us.
In Psalm 56: 10-11 it is written,
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord, whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
So Christians, soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors thank you so much for serving alongside me in both the physical and spiritual battlefield. Thank you for serving your country so gallantly and so courageously. This Memorial Day has helped me remember how grateful I am for your service.
- Story Team Weekly: What Now?
- School Circle: Mikey Priddy Cycling Across America and Former Sniper Josiah Hirsch
- Reflections of Grace 66: Life Purpose Coaching – Do We Walk in His Glory?
- Reflections of Grace 76: Life Purpose Coaching 12 – Climb That Mountain…Advancing Into Faith!
- Reflections of Grace 50: Living from the Heart – Demolishing the Spirit of Fear