Friday, October 5, 2012

Florida to California: A Prayer and a Chance Encounter

Men’s Bible discussion group of Mt. Pisgah United Methodist Church blessed Honess as he prepared for a cross-country bike ride for UMCOR.
CREDIT: Courtesy of Charles Honess

By Charles Honess*

October 3, 2012—I attend a men's Bible discussion group on Thursday mornings at my home church, Mt. Pisgah UMC, back in Atlanta, Georgia. The Thursday before I left to start on my cross-country bike ride for UMCOR, the men prayed over me for safety, health, and witness opportunities. One of them prayed particularly that I would know when to stop pedaling and help someone I might meet.

After stopping for a rest at Monument Park in
Florida, Honess had a surprise encounter.
Credit: Charles Honess

So here I am pedaling along FL 90, and I decide to stop alongside the road at a place called Monument Park. I get some water, an energy bar, and take a rest. After a bit, I take off again, and about a mile ahead of me, I see what I think is a broken-down motorcycle and driver. As I get closer, much to my surprise, I discover that what I am seeing is a homeless man pushing a grocery cart down the side of the road. I slow down, and as I ride by, I ask if he’s ok, and he says he is. So I ride on.

About a quarter of a mile up the road, I am "reminded" of the prayer, and I stop. The man pushing the cart catches up and wheels alongside me. We spend 15 minutes chatting man to man, and I think I am the first person he has talked to in a while. I give him some G2, and he tells me to drink only bottled water in this region.

I am sure this encounter will remain with me for the rest of my life... Hopefully I will have enough sense to stop sooner next time!

*Charles Honess is a retired businessman who is biking across the southern United States, from Atlantic Beach, Florida, to San Diego, California, to raise awareness and funds for UMCOR. He plans to visit United Methodist churches and community groups along the way. For information about Honess’ trip and how your church or group might host him for such a sharing opportunity, please contact Landon Taylor, UMCOR executive in charge of church and donor relations, at telephone 212-870-3928 or email

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