Journey with Fargo ND teacher Paul Shol, on his 4,500 mile cross country cycle trip. Paul set out with the goal of sharing the Jesus Calling Devotional. Read about how you can support him, and get inspired along the way.
What it Takes to Bike Across America
Hi! My name is Paul Shol. I recently embarked on a cross-country bike trip, named “Paul’s Legacy Tour,” across the Northern United States. I started on July 5 on the Pacific Ocean, just west of Eugene, Oregon, and will end in late August or early September, some 4,500 miles later, in Bar Harbor, Maine, at the Atlantic Ocean.
Let me introduce myself a bit more. I am a twenty-nine-year-old from Fargo, North Dakota, and a high school math teacher. When I decided to go on this bike tour, I created a schedule for riding that would put me back in Fargo near the first day of school in the fall. I submitted a request to my school for a two-week leave for the beginning of the school year to give myself enough time to complete the bike tour. But my request was denied, and I had to make a decision: Do I continue teaching, or do I commit to the bike tour? I prayed and talked to some important people in my life about it. Then I made the hard decision to continue with the plans I had for the trip, and I resigned from my teaching position. I believe this is a God-led trip and effort; I feel it. He has given me the time, energy, effort, and passion to tackle it up to this point. I believe He will guide me through the journey and help me once it is completed too. Still, this choice was a big step of faith for me.
Trans-America Bike Trips for a Cause
A couple of years ago my friend David Jensen, from my hometown of Fergus Falls, Minnesota, decided to bike across the Southern United States. His goal was to raise money for the local community college in town. He met his goal and raised more than $20,000! Now the interest from the money he raised is used each year to award an incoming freshman a scholarship.
I thought about David’s story as soon as I decided to make my cross-country trip. I asked myself, How can I make my bike trip meaningful? I thought very quickly of Legacy Children’s Foundation (LCF), a nonprofit organization in Fargo, North Dakota, that aims to assist and support middle school and high school students in educational and character development. I had been volunteering for the organization for four years and couldn’t think of a better program to support.
A couple of days later I talked to Mary Jean Dehne, the executive director of LCF, and asked her if I could devote my bike trip to her organization. She happily agreed. Then the work began. Numerous meetings, calls, e-mails, and much, much more took place in the hours after school during the weekdays. Many weekend hours were also used for meetings and speaking in church about the trip. I set a fundraising goal of $25,000 and surpassed that in late April. Currently I have raised close to $40,000! What a great blessing from God for all of the effort put in.
A few weeks after deciding to ride for LCF, another question popped into my head: Is there another way that I can make this trip more meaningful? God planted the Jesus Calling book on my heart and mind. I thought, “Why not raise money to purchase Jesus Calling books and gift those to communities along my route? It has impacted my faith in a profound way. Why not help others experience that too?”
Sharing the Jesus Calling Message
My great Aunt Audrey and Aunt Faye gave me a copy of the book a few years ago. They continue to make it a mission of theirs to gift the book to others. I have chosen to follow their lead and use my bike trip as a means of doing that. What better thing to give to others—the message of finding God’s presence and peace in our lives!
Each of my days starts with a few minutes reading Jesus Calling. I read the devotions slowly. I like to pause and let the words relate to me, speak to me. It is amazing how often the messages can connect with me in a profoundly personal way. Fear, failure, insecurity, questioning, doubt, anxiety, and a host of other trials face all of us each day. The overarching theme of the devotional is to seek God’s presence, reminding us that His peace makes all of those troubles disappear or at least diminish. Each devotion reminds me to seek His presence daily. In His presence I find that my spirit becomes more peaceful, joyful, and gentler. Those first few minutes of the day with Jesus Calling are priceless to me.
I feel very passionate about the difference this devotional can make for others because of the difference it has made for me. Each day I pray, “Use me and this bike trip to bring Your presence and peace to others.” I hope to see copy after copy of this book given away. The Jesus Calling message is too important not to make an effort to get it out.
Journey with Paul Coast to Coast
Do you feel the same way? Has Jesus Calling made a difference for you? Have you felt like you should share this book with others so they can experience the powerful devotional in their lives? Here is a chance to do that. By helping my mission you are helping God’s mission of developing a deep relationship with His creation. Is there anything more important than that?
Would you prayerfully consider supporting this effort? One hundred percent of the donations will go toward purchasing more books and shipping them to communities along my route. Together we can make a difference and help others feel the presence and peace of God through this amazing book.
To make a donation, write a check to First Lutheran Church, and write, “Paul’s Legacy Tour” in the memo. Checks can be mailed to 619 Broadway N., Fargo, ND 58102.
To connect with me or hear more about my adventures on the tour, visit my Facebook page. I would love to hear from you!