USA (MNN) — A lot of Americans do something big for their fiftieth birthdays, maybe throwing an oversized party, taking a trip to Europe, or purchasing a new car. For Mark Bentley's fiftieth birthday, he wants to do something big, but his birthday wish is a bit out of the ordinary. He wants to celebrate by celebrating a ministry.
Bentley is an avid cyclist and enjoys riding long distances on his bike. After deciding to go on a long bike trip for his birthday, Bentley decided to make things more interesting, not to mention meaningful.
"I love to bicycle ride, and [to ride] long distances, but I also love to witness and hand out tracks along the way," says Bentley. "I have a passion for Bibles for the World and their ministry, so [I] kind of combined all three of those together."
Bentley has planned a bike trip that will take him from Illinois to the Bibles for the World headquarters in Colorado Springs, Colorado, and back. He will be handing out tracks, CDs, and Christian literature along the way as he makes his journey through dozens of towns. Bentley will also visit 16 different churches throughout the month-long ride.
Bentley is excited to do ministry on his own, but his trip will support more than just his own goals. Bentley has turned this trip into a fund raiser for Bibles for the World. Many people have sponsored Bentley, and so far he has raised about $1,200.
The total funds raised will go to bring the Gospel to people across the globe, and even to child sponsorship. A Bibles for the World sponsorship is $29, meaning Bentley has already raised enough to care for 41 children, if that's what the ministry chooses to do with the funds. None of the money raised is going to fund Bentley's trip; it is purely an opportunity for people to honor his birthday journey by donating to the ministry he holds so dear.
Bentley's experience with Bibles for the World goes back to 2001 when the Bibles for the World India Children's Choir visited his church. Bentley and his wife got to host a few of the Indian girls and decided to sponsor a child through the ministry. Since then, Bentley has been passionate about the ministry's work to build the kingdom.
Ultimately, Bentley hopes that's what his trip will do. "If I knew that one person was gained for the Lord and His kingdom, it would be worth it all," he says of the journey.
Pray that as Bentley rides, he would have the opportunity to share Christ with many people. Pray that his 2,000 mile journey would be a good conversation starter and lead to witnessing opportunities in churches and along the road. Pray that others would come to know the Lord as a result of the money raised for Bibles for the World which will translate into Gospel sharing in various places. Pray also for Bentley's safety as he makes this dangerous trek.
If you would like to support Bentley's cause, head to the Bibles for the World giving site and click on "2,000 Mile Bike Ride." Visit Bentley's blog, Manna for the Journey, to stay posted on his bicycle trip, which started last Friday and ends in early October.