Greetings from San Lucas Tolimán, Guatemala!
I officially completed the Ride for San Lucas commemorating Fr. Greg’s historic walk from Minnesota to Guatemala! The ride was a wonderful opportunity to meet so many truly inspiring people. Today I am surrounded by 80+ supporters who came to Guatemala from all over to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the walk.
My Ride for San Lucas totaled 1,800 miles from St. Paul, MN to Brownsville, TX. I then traveled to San Lucas to ride the final 10 miles of the original walk route …up a steep mountain road, through 14 communities that are supported by the Mission. During the walk I was overcome with gratitude for all of you who stepped up to support the ride with your contributions and those who donated their time to help, to host, and to pray. During my trip so far, I have been stopped many times by people in San Lucas to thank me and ask that I pass on their deep gratitude to all of you. I am witness to how each of your donations are truly saving lives, opening doors of opportunity, and keeping families together.
Any time I’ve embarked on an adventure I found the greatest memories were ones I never anticipated before it began. This was no exception. I didn’t expect to get Covid on the third day of my bike ride, to have the car top carrier fly off the truck going down the freeway, or have a valet get fired and walk off with the keys to our truck. In each situation we encountered, God blessed the situation, and I was able to keep to the biking schedule with only minor adjustments.
The people…. clearly the people I met along the way were by far the highlights. The school kids in New Ulm, Kansas City, Tulsa, Dallas all were delightfully interested in the bike ride and the amazing Fr. Greg stories. The host families, churches, bike clubs, and those I met along the route were very supportive. Finally, I was just surprised at the number of people I met that had been touched by Fr. Greg in some fashion. I would be introduced to a stranger and begin my “elevator pitch” only to have them say “I knew Fr. Greg,” or “I remember Fr. Greg.”
This was my first visit to Guatemala and the San Lucas Mission. Oh my, what an impressive set of programs, leaders and staff. There is nothing like being there and seeing the programs in action, the wonderful people, experiencing the climate, no mosquitoes, and learning the history. If you’re planning a trip abroad, I’d encourage you to consider the Friends of San Lucas Visitor Program. You will not be disappointed.
Just as I was about to finish my US portion of the ride I was contacted by Bill Peterson, FOSL Executive Director. He said there was an eighth grader named Mitchell Gibbs in Faribault, MN who had heard of my logistical difficulties while planning the bike ride through Mexico and wanted to help. Specifically, he wanted to ride his bike the symbolic 1,000 miles right in the Faribault area and hopefully raise $12,000 to build someone a block home in San Lucas. Mitchell has now accomplished this remarkable goal.
I have been so honored to have been a part of commemorating Fr. Greg’s walk in a small way and I hope to meet with each of you sometime to thank you personally for your support. This has been a life-changing adventure for me and I’d love to share more with you.
Please take a minute to share a bit of the Fr. Greg and San Lucas story with your friends and invite them to learn more about this 50-year-old work of God.