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Motorcycles, Ministry, and Memories
By Kirsten Strawn
More than a hundred motorcycles streamed into the Ingram Plaza at Liberty Station Saturday, October 3, for the culmination of the 2009 Rock 'N' Ride event, an annual fundraiser to benefit the Rock Church's Step Up Foster Youth Mentor Ministry.
Prayer at Liberty Station.

Choppers and cruisers with show-stopping style lined the promenade as excited foster youth pointed out their favorite bikes. For a registration fee of $25, participants rode from National City to Point Loma in groups of 10 or so. (See sidebar story below on the ride.)

Coming Together

"It was an amazing day," said Lisa Walker, founder of Step Up. "But as much as it benefited our foster kids, it was also just so special to see all these ministries coming together. It blows me away."

The fundraiser was organized by the Rock Church Motorcycle Ministry, led by Mike Diggs and David Sotier. In addition to the months the Motorcycle Ministry spent planning and organizing the event, more than fifty volunteers from various Rock ministries pooled their gifts and talents to be the hands and feet of Jesus to some of San Diego County’s youth. Tablesetters, the Rock's Food Ministry, cooked up a traditional BBQ. The Football Ministry organized flag football games. Pink Army, a three-girl hip-hop band, entertained the audience, while the Makeover Ministry built UP young people's self-worth by enhancing their natural beauty.

The Mime Ministry stole the show as they entertained the crowd. The gospel message was shared by pastor Dave Cooper, and ten people made a decision for Christ.

Making their Day

"As much as it benefited our foster kids, it was also just so special to see all these ministries coming together."-- Lisa Walker

About 60 foster youth from five county group homes were the stars of the day. "When they signed in we told them all that this was their day," said Lisa.

Approximately $2,700 was raised for Step Up to use for various expenses. Last year the funds raised provided for activities foster youth would not otherwise experience. A teenage girl prone to running away was able to find purpose in her life through hip hop classes the ministry financed. Yearbooks, school pictures, and athletic fees were offered to high school students unable to afford such items most teens take for granted. Someone desperate for transportation was given a bike.

The many raffle prizes included a leather jacket from Sweetwater Harley Davidson; food certificates; gift cards from Walmart and Target, House of Motorcycles, Undisputed Fitness and Training Center; t-shirts by Transformed and Stand for Christ clothing donated by the Rock Pile.

At this event each foster youth walked away a winner with two raffle items, individual photos posed on a motorcycle by the Photography Ministry, and many fun memories. Most importantly the foster youth in San Diego will benefit from the relationships being built by Step Up's more than one hundred volunteer mentors.

Moto World, one of the event's benefactors, even hired a sixteen-year-old foster boy who loves to work on motorcycles.

"Four kids got saved, and one got a mentor," said Lisa, a social worker with the county of San Diego. "He'd been waiting for a long time, and the mentor had been waiting for the right kid. And the next day, the kid's in church for the first time!"

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Sidebar: A Sweeping View

I see why these guys ride as much as they do. Incredible family atmosphere, non-preachy and down to earth. -- Traci Tripes

For the second Annual Rock 'N' Ride, I rode with Ted, a 70-year-old driver. We were the sweeper of our group of 10 motorcycles. Sweepers are the tail end of a pack, watching out for everyone else.

Pastor Miles and Debbie McPherson led everyone in prayer before we departed National City. The bikes followed state route 54 to the 125 north, then east on Interstate 8 to route 67. They traveled through Ramona and cut across to the Wild Animal Park. Then down Interstate 163 to I-8 west, Rosecrans, and the Rock.

It was the most amazing thing I have done so far in my lifetime. The views were incredible. I felt really close to God and I see why these guys ride as much as they do. Incredible family atmosphere, non-preachy and down to earth.

-- Traci Tripes

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(Kirsten Strawn is a speaker and writer. Traci Tripes is an experienced dirt bike rider who works as an interviewer for the Speed Channel. Both are volunteers with Rock the Word: The Rock Church Writers Ministry.)

Consider putting a smile on the face of a girl or boy in need of hope. Consider investing two hours a week in the life of a foster youth. For information, e-mail Lisa at [email protected] 

For more information about the Foster Youth Mentor Ministry, click here »