by Katie Wanek, 2023 missionary (support crew on Kansas Route)
It was Sunday evening, the first evening of the National Ride, where the team was gathered together to begin the week together. I laid on the floor of the living room in our host’s house, a bag next to me, prepared for the vomiting due to the nausea I was experiencing. While my team was planning and preparing for the first day of the ride, I was helpless and too sick to contribute to anything they were doing. They made sure I had everything I needed when I was feeling at my lowest. It was hard to be in this place and let others see me in a moment of weakness, but it was an opportunity to let others love and serve. As I reflect on the 2023 Biking for Babies National Ride that took place last week, I am reminded that when you are surrounded by a good, faith-filled community of people, they will support you always, even in times of weakness and vulnerability.
Biking for Babies is truly filled with the best community of young adults. Not only did their character and faith come to light that first night when I was feeling my lowest, but also throughout the whole week, when time after time, I saw both the riders and other support crew missionaries sacrifice and love for the sake of women in unplanned pregnancies, their babies, pregnancy resource centers, and for life. Seeing each of my team members embrace the mission and give of themselves so selflessly is what gives me hope; hope that one day, no woman will ever feel like abortion is her only option and it will become unthinkable.
Women in unplanned pregnancies who contemplate abortion are certainly in a mindset of weakness and vulnerability. And Biking for Babies missionaries all across the country serve and sacrifice so beautifully so that these women can be supported and loved in times they are at their lowest. Additionally, pregnancy resource centers welcome these women with open arms, supporting them and making sure they have everything they need so that they can choose life.
Whether it is riding long miles each day, filled with hills and in the heat, or waking up extra early to fill water bottles and pack the van, I saw each of my fellow Biking for Babies missionaries choose to keep going, even when it got hard. They chose to keep going because they wanted to support women and show the culture that the pro-life movement is one of love, support, compassion, and service, and that we are striving to lift up women who are experiencing times of weakness and vulnerability.
After my fifth National Ride experience this year, I was once again inspired by the love and joy that all of the missionaries radiated throughout the week. This community of people is truly the best and that is evidenced by the love and care they have for not only their fellow missionaries and pregnant women in need, but for all who they encounter.
This National Ride, once again, showed me what it looks like to live the Gospel of Life. It is to uphold the value and dignity of each and every life and Biking for Babies missionaries are striving to do just that. We are all called to lift up and support the people around us, especially in their times of weakness and vulnerability.
This last week on the National Ride was so good, full, and beautiful. My experience reminds me of this quote by Saint Maximilian Kolbe, “Love lives through sacrifice and is nourished by giving.” I think each of the 2023 Biking for Babies missionaries can say that after the last week, we have all learned how to love, sacrifice, and give just a little bit more than before.