The tale of three bikes and the inspiration to start G.R.O.W.

Meeting Faa again in our church inspired me to do something bold. Praying and getting others on board was not enough. I had to do something personally and it had to be something with an exclamation point at the end. Just about that time we were in a series in our church about helping “the least of these.” I was scheduled to preach the last message in the series.

During a meeting with the other pastors that week, I was on the edge. Actually, it would be fair to say that I was edgier than usual… I made the statement that getting involved in helping the poor was not just a nice thing to do. We were obligated to do it as followers of Christ. I said, “if we are not sacrificing on behalf those who are less privileged than us, we are sinning against God.” One of my colleagues challenged me on that point. He said, “You gotta be careful with what you say because some people might tell you that you should give up your motorcycle and give the money to the poor.”

He might as well put his finger on an open sore on my side. I owned a Harley before and wrecked it. I was obligated to settle for a Honda Shadow, but I loved riding it. “No, God couldn’t be asking me to give up my bike.” This was Tuesday and by Thursday night I was restless. I kept saying, “But it is a 1994 bike, it can’t be worth that much.” I tried to go to sleep but an apparently random thought kept arresting my brain. It was not audible, but I could clearly hear it inside my head, “Do the math. Do the math.” I got up, went downstairs directly to the computer and looked up the Kelly blue book website. I found out that even if I sold my bike for less than the retail value, I would still have enough money to support 4 children in Thailand for about 8 months. My heart was suddenly at peace. And the bike was as good as gone at 3:00 a.m. on Friday.

On Sunday, I told the story to my congregation. After the first service, a guy I had never met came to me and said, “Look, I heard you say that you were giving up your bike but not riding. I have something I want to give you. ” Well, to make a long story short, that Sunday afternoon he wanted me to come to his house and bring Faa so his wife could meet her. My wife, Faa and I went there and after Faa shared her story. After that, he presented me with a 2000 Harley Davidson bike, the same model as the one I had wrecked before. He said, “I don’t ride as much as I used to and my knees are getting bad. I want you to have it.”

Back to church, after second service, a lady I knew came to me and said, “I have an original 1965 Honda S-90 which was one my husband’s first bikes. He passed away four years ago. I wanted to restore it so I could ride it but my knees are getting bad. I want you to have it.” Some time later she brought the bike to my house. It needed a lot of work and I had no clue what to do. Then another guy from church showed up at my house, riding a bike exactly like the one the lady had given me. He said, “I got this one in boxes and restored it. I do it as a hobby and I would love to restore this one for you… for free.” Four months later the bike had been restored to vintage condition, we put it on e-bay and raised almost $3,000.00 for G.R.O.W.

Back to my Honda Shadow, I went through with my promise to sell it. I went to a friend’s used car lot. It was a Saturday afternoon. He helped me clean the bike and make it look pretty. It was past 5:00 p.m. when we put the bike on the lot in front of his business. We laid hands on the bike and prayed. He said, “We’re going to sell this baby in thirty minutes.” As I was walking back to his office, I remember thinking, “Yeah, right.” Before I could even finish the thought, I heard a car. The guy didn’t even park. He just stopped, looked at the bike, asked if I owned it. Then he asked if I could take him on a ride. We rode a couple of blocks, then came back and he said, “I almost bought a new bike this week, but I am glad I didn’t. I will buy this one.” And he did!

That money was what we used to pay the processing fees and hire a lawyer to seek incorporation and tax exempt status for G.R.O.W. But that was just the beginning. There was more to come. Stay tuned.

Ivanildo C. Trindade