Final flight of the bicycles

21 Jul, 2017 | Malawi
OM International
Cyclists distributed AudiBibles to the Yao in Malawi during the Ride2Transform outreach.
When OM SportsLink worker Chris Welman and OM Malawi Field Leader Div du Plessis first entertained the idea of a cycling tour among the Yao people of southern Malawi, they envisioned a three-year plan. A trio of annual tours would bring ministry to a wide range of unreached people in the Yao community; prayer, evangelism, and audioBible distribution being the primary methods.

In June 2017, OM Malawi completed its third Ride 2 Transform cycle tour, featuring 17 cyclists, and reaching the end of the original vision. And, as expected, the three trips have taken the OM Malawi team—along with local missionaries and cycling participants from around the world—to nearly every previously unreached region below Lake Malawi. This year, starting in Zomba, and heading to the OM Malawi base in Ntaja, before circling up to Lake Malawi and back in a loop around Yao territory, the Ride 2 Transform team has “almost saturated” the region, says Ride 2 Transform Leader, Riaan du Plessis.

During the 2017 tour, local missionaries led three separate ministry points along the route, as they have in years past.

The vision is now complete, and Riaan says the cycle tour has finished—at least, until the next time.

“If we do it again, it will be different,” he says.

While the previous three years have seen a positive team focus on ministry and support raising for OM Malawi’s work among the Yao, Riaan says future cycle tours will place more emphasis on prayer. Each cycle tour has had a prayer leader, and while he doesn’t want to make comparisons, as every year has seen significant ministry, Riaan believes the third trip, with prayer leadership from OM Zambia’s Christopher Agenbag, came the closest to the team’s original desire with regard to prayer.

“Every year we got closer to our focus, and this year we really hit the mark,” he says of the prayer efforts.

The distance travelled made a significant difference, as well; each of the previous two tours cycled more than 650 kilometers, but this year saw a reduced route at 550 km. The shortened distance, Riaan says, allowed the team to stay unified in cycling, and spend more time praying, speaking with locals, and handing out audioBibles.

In total, between the cycling team and the three local missionaries at ministry points along the route, Ride 2 Transform distributed 154 audioBibles—more than each of the two previous years. And it wasn’t just visiting cyclists handing them out—Riaan says he was impressed with the efforts of the local OMers.

“What was also great this year was that it wasn’t just guys from the outside doing ministry. Some of our Malawian OMers were taking initiative and stopping for ministry.”

It was the local OMers who took the time to meet with head teachers at schools, translating there and in mosques, or on the side of the road, and praying with the staff of a small hospital along the route.

During a debriefing session after the tour, the leadership team affirmed their desire to continue the tour next year, but Riaan says the prayer focus will change the look of Ride 2 Transform. Previously, participants were required to raise a certain amount of financial support for OM Malawi’s ministry to the Yao, in addition to the costs of the tour itself. In the future, Riaan says, the leaders will focus less on the support and more on establishing prayer.

“It will be more of a prayer cycle than a ministry cycle.”

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