I didn’t get it either. Most non-profits just ask for money, write a check and move on. What difference did a tour make? Why the tough things? My dad had been on 2 tours and loved them. I was always happy for him, but it was more of a “Good for you, crazy old man,” type of happiness. I never thought a Venture tour would be for me.
I decided to intern with Venture after hearing Paul and Ryan speak, and I knew I had to be a part of whatever crazy thing they were doing. When they asked me to go on a tour, honestly I didn’t want to go. I wasn’t into cycling, the timing wasn’t good, and I didn’t have a lot of time to train. The excuses were endless, but eventually they broke me down and I went.
I got it. It was contagious. I understood it and I had to tell people about it.
The feeling of accomplishing the goal and making it to our destination didn’t compare to the connections I made along the way. We came in as 10 strangers and came out as a family. Some days you are on a bike for 11 hours or more, and you have nothing better to do than pedal and talk to somebody. Something amazing happens when you are pushed to the limit with another human being. The good the bad and the ugly can’t hide when you are pushed beyond what you think is possible. The longest distance I biked before the tour was 51 miles and it wasn’t easy. I really didn’t think I could go further. During the tour, I did two century rides (100 miles each) back to back. I made it and it wasn’t because of some amazing pre-workout, or a motivational speech. It was because someone was right next to me the whole time, connecting with me, asking me about God, pushing me, telling me about themselves, sharing their testimony, sharing their mistakes, their accomplishments, telling me, “just make it to the next break.”
Discipleship is another amazing part of Venture tours. We came from all walks of life and all different backgrounds with different strengths and weaknesses. We came together like a puzzle. Our differences made us stronger, we showed each other different parts of God and how amazingly gifted some people are at things that I am completely lost at. If you look at Jesus’ disciples they all struggled in their own way, but because of their struggles, Jesus was given the opportunity to show himself in a new way. It’s the same way on a tour. We all struggle with something but we all showed each other God’s gifts in a different way. I resonate with Thomas or, as you probably know him, “Doubting Thomas.” I doubt myself a lot and I underestimate what I can do. I underestimate Jesus, and what he can do through me. Through the encouragement of my teammates on tour, I got to experience the kind of faith Thomas had when he put his fingers on Jesus’ scars.
I saw God’s creation in a whole new way. I got to spend 6 days on a bike and not answer a single phone call. I discovered that I can do things, that in my mind I didn’t think were possible, and then I got to wake up and do it all over again. If I had just written a check, that would have never happened… So, that’s why the tour.
Written by: Luke Lijewski