by Katie Wanek, 2021 missionary (support crew on Eastern Route)
As my third year as a Biking for Babies missionary comes to a close, I’ve been thinking about why I kept coming back. Biking for Babies is an amazing organization with a great mission. The spiritual and pro-life formation is great and helps me grow deeper as a disciple. The National Ride is an amazing and transformative experience. Supporting pregnancy resource centers is important. The community that is built through the organization is like no other. All of these reasons surely play a part in choosing to return. However, there is one reason I think tops the list. And that is personal invitation.
Being personally asked and invited to do something is powerful. The desire to be seen, known, loved, and accepted is written on the human heart. We all want to belong and feel like we are a part of something. Biking for Babies meets that desire well. There is nothing like getting a phone call from the Executive Director (or another executive team member) personally inviting you back to the mission. There are a million things that Nikki could be doing, but the fact that she takes time to personally call missionaries to talk and see where they are at truly means a lot.
In Biking for Babies, you are not just a number to meet a missionary number goal or someone to raise more money. You are valued and seen as an important part of the mission with a specific role. You are cared for and your faith and spiritual growth is seen as a priority. Those personal phone calls are not just a one-time thing either. Throughout the year, members of the executive team take time to check in and offer guidance, support, and prayers. It is not a matter of them just being nice or telling you what you want to hear. These personal calls and messages are because they care for your spiritual well-being, for your growth as a disciple of Christ. They want you to be a part of something that challenges you, helps you grow, and deepens your faith.
As Christians, we are all called to invite others. We are called to invite others into a relationship with Christ. We are called to invite others to see the value and beauty of life. When we know and experience what is good, beautiful, and true, we cannot keep it to ourselves. We must reach out and invite those around us to be a part of that. We must invite the people around us to go deeper.
Many people are sitting comfortably on the surface, not putting their pro-life beliefs into action and not sharing their Christian faith with others. It is our job to invite them to take the next step. Maybe they are unsure, scared, or just feel like they don’t belong. This is where we can allow God to use us to be vessels of His love. Reaching out to others personally to let them know they are wanted and have a role to fill can make all the difference. Maybe you are being asked to invite a friend to apply to be a Biking for Babies missionary or to support the organization financially and through prayer. Maybe you are being called to invite someone to a Bible study, to attend a retreat, or to go to mass. Whatever it may be, there is a beautiful journey waiting to unfold for each and every single person, and you may be a vital part of helping that journey begin. Pray about how you are reaching out to others, ask the Holy Spirit to guide you in what you say, and always remember the power of an invitation.