Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Pedal for Prisoners

Pedal for Prisoners has gone extremely well so far.  We are over halfway to our fundraising goal of $20,000.  And next week four riders tackle RAGBRAI - Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa.  Pastor Rick won't be doing RAGBRAI this year - he rode his bike across Colorado in June.  The New Life riders this year are Bill, Corrine, Julie and Lisa.  They can enjoy a ride through central Iowa towns of Des Moines, Knoxville, Pella and Oskaloosa.  A true home course advantage!  

New Life bike riders / fundraisers!

Here are a few thoughts written by Julie...

In a few days I will be heading out on my 7th RAGBRAI (Register's Annual Great Bike Ride Across Iowa) however this is the first one that is dedicated to making an eternal difference in the lives of many!! I am excited to be participating in the “Pedal for Prisoners” fundraising effort for the New Life Ministry at the Newton Prison. I have been blessed by seeing and feeling firsthand the revival that is taking place within the prison walls and it is amazing!!

New Life Prison Community is a Christian community growing in the knowledge and love of Jesus Christ. They are a prison congregation - they don't have a building of their own but worship as a body of believers in various locations within the prison: the gym, chapel, and classrooms. New Life has weekly Bible studies and prayer groups so that incarcerated men may grow in their faith. They are all about building community and discipling followers of Jesus Christ.

The money raised by “Pedal for Prisoners” will be used to support the ongoing work at the prison. It is used to buy Bibles and Christian books, purchase greeting cards, buy CD's DVD's and music supplies, and to pay the salary of the prison pastor.

If you would like to contribute to this effort you can mail a check to me (made payable to Lynnville Friends Church or New Life Prison Community) at 504 8th Ave Sully, IA 50251.

On behalf of Pastor Rick Admiraal myself, and the men at the Newton Prison, THANKS SO MUCH and God Bless!!!

* Julie Jones

Ride the Rockies Reflections

I checked an item off my bucket list this June.  I rode my bike through Colorado in the Ride the Rockies.  The bike ride had a twofold purpose: fun in the mountains and fundraising for New Life.  Many of you have supported this important fundraiser with your generous gifts.  Thanks so much!!!

Here are a few notes from the ride.

Day One: We started in Telluride.  A beautiful town (one of my favorites) in Southwest Colorado.  The start was tough - after only 3 miles on the flats we began to climb up Lizard Head Pass - Elevation 10,222'.  That wasn't easy!  But the rest of the ride was all downhill to Cortez.  We were flying and had an average pace of over 18mph, even with the big initial climb.

Day Two: The days route was a short one from Cortez to Durango. But it was HOT and had some wicked climbs.  We enjoyed the day, especially seeing a horse and foal  outside of Mancos.  The downhill into Durango was tricky with crosswinds in the canyons.

Day Three: We rode from Durango to Pagosa Springs.  It was another hot day.  The course passed within a few miles of the New Mexico border.  And it looked like New Mexico too - it was the high desert.  Rocks and low pine trees and very little shade.  One of the highlights was passing by Chimney Rock.  The reward of the day?  Pagosa Springs had a refreshing hot springs pool that revived our legs.  It also had a great Mexican Restaurant.  We ate on a deck right alongside the river.

Day Four: This day was a bear!  The queen stage.   We had 91 miles to cover from Pagosa to Alamosa.  The hardest part was going up Wolf Creek Pass.  It was one of the hardest things I've ever done.  It was an 8 mile grind and we hit the high point on the tour: 10,850 feet!

Day Five: I spent the night at the house of my friend from seminary days.  Needless to say, I was well-rested and ready to roll.  We found a good breakfast spot in Alamosa then it was 50 miles north on the straightest flattest road I've ever been on.  No hills and only 1 or 2 feet of elevation gain for miles.  Flat plain with the Sangre de Cristo mountains on our right.  But the road was bumpy - we called it the hemorrhoid highway! Poncha Pass was over 9,000 feet but not that steep.  Plus we had a tailwind.  Going down the other side was incredible - the curves were sweepers and I went 52 mph on my bike.  My fastest ever.  One negative: my bike mirror bounced off and broke on the way down!

Day Six: Salida was a fun town.  There was food, a live band and a river downtown.  There was so much to do.  A very enjoyable spot that was tough to leave.  We had a longer day than expected due to the Colorado wildfires.  The course was rerouted and went 90+ miles and another mountain pass.  It was a great day but it got very hot at the end.  We passed a huge supermax federal prison in Florence that houses some infamous criminals including one of the Oklahoma City bombers.

Day Seven: This day started in Canon City.  And ended in Canon City (for me).  It was a short day from Canon City to Colorado Springs.  Only 40 miles or so.  But I never reached the finish line.  I crashed my bike just a half mile into the ride.  I bumped a friend's bike and went down hard at an intersection.  I knocked my head on the pavement but the helmet absorbed the impact.  My right arm was in a lot of pain.  They took me to a local hospital - the x-rays revealed that my arm was not broken.  It could've been so much worse.  After a week or two my arm (right elbow) was feeling much better.  I'm back to riding.  Not finishing Ride the Rockies is actually a good thing - it gives me a good excuse to go back and do it again sometime!


It was a blessing to have Mary & Jack Mortenson visit us at the Newton Prison last week Thursday.  Mary is the executive director of Prison Congregations of America based in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.  
On Thursday night, Mary led a writer's workshop to encourage men to write devotional entries for the annual lenten devotional booklet.  The booklet is written by prisoners for prisoners (and others) - it prepares the heart of the pilgrim on his journey from Ash Wednesday to Easter Sunday.  The theme this year is BLESSING.  Mary did a great job leading the workshop.  One of the men (let's call him John) lined up the words of Blessing this way.

Being Loved by God
Love, Peace, Joy, Patience, Kindness ... (Galatians 5:22)
Eternal Life (John 3:16)
I will give you Showers of Blessing (Ezek. 34:26)
New Creation in Christ (II Corinth. 5:17)
Grace in our Savior Jesus Christ