Local News

June 9, 2013

Riding to show ‘God’s love’

Cyclists stop in Dalton on last leg of 500-mile awareness ride

CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Mass rape and murder under the rule of militia is a difficult concept for most Americans to comprehend, said cyclist Kim deRoos, but that’s the reality for many women in the Democratic Republic of the Congo in Africa.

“I can actually relate,” deRoos, a Cleveland native, said. After turning away from her Christian upbringing, deRoos went down a path of “scars and heartbreak, eventually hitting a place of rock bottom ... until God called me back.”

So riding with a 30-plus group of cyclists as they raised awareness for the She’s My Sister (sister.americanbible.org) campaign was extra special and “absolutely amazing,” deRoos said.

The program is part of the American Bible Society and aims to provide trauma centers for women who have suffered sexual and physical abuse in the aftermath of several bloody civil wars and uprisings in the Congo area.

The cyclists began at Daytona Beach, Fla., on May 30, rested at the United Methodist Church in Dalton Friday night and took a break at Red Clay State Park Saturday morning before starting their last few miles to Cleveland.

For cyclist Garrett Orr of Easton, Pa., the trip was an “overwhelming and amazing experience.”

“The church here in Dalton was incredible,” he said. “One of the most awesome things we did during this trip was to use that sanctuary to just spend hours of worship together. It was just a great way to build up to the crescendo of the tour.

“It was a great place. The people there went and got us food. They fed us. It was a place to stay. Those little things — after a day of biking 100 miles — don’t go unnoticed. That’s Christ-like love. That’s incredible and overwhelming thing.”

Something Orr said he saw a lot of on the roads in Georgia and Florida.

“Every single time we stopped, people have gone out of their way to make us feel comfortable and opened their hearts and minds to what we have to talk about,” he said. “It’s a really incredible thing.

“Seeing it — my heart just overflows with joy. We have people from all over the place in our group. To see them come together and work and become a cohesive unit is truly amazing.”

Orr said he plans to join the group at a Sidewalk Prophets benefit concert at City Church of Chattanooga at 7122 Lee Highway. The concert is tonight at 6:30 and is free to the public by calling (423) 648-2992 for reservations. Donations at the concert will go to the She’s My Sister campaign.

“The whole purpose of this is to stop at churches to raise funds and awareness to fight the atrocities in the Congo,” Orr said.

DeRoos said the trip has already shown her “God’s love.”

“People would wonder what we were doing when we took breaks and we got to share the gospel with them and our cause with them,” she said. “People were giving us donations. We’d go to a gas station restroom and we’d come out and complete strangers would hand us $20. Doing this, you just see Christ in so many other people.”

Which shatters the stereotype of Americans out for themselves, deRoos added.

“You know how American people can be,” she said. “But when they see a cause, they rally around it. It’s amazing to see people just donating to help.”

DeRoos said the American Bible Society’s 199-year existence and reputation makes it trustworthy for donations.

“When the spirit of God tells me to do something then I have to trust and follow it,” she said. “When I give to an organization, I know that they will be held accountable by God on how they use it. God is in this. He would never tell this 47-year-old to take this trip if he wasn’t in it. I’m too old for this.”

But in the end prayer is more important than donations, Orr said.

“What can people do to help? Pray. Pray for our sisters in the Congo,” he said. “Pray for the people who are passionate about helping to help develop these trauma centers.

“This was something I was missing before. And when it hit me it blew me away. We have to also pray for the perpetrators  of these crimes. The reality is that if there’s never a change of heart in these men who are doing these things then the community will never change. It will remain broken.”

 

1
Text Only
Local News
  • runner thompson.jpg Taking the race back

    Dean Thompson didn’t go 100 yards in his 26.2 miles through the streets of Boston without seeing people on the side of the road cheering for him.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo

  • Bobby Lee Dixon mg.jpg Officials: Man jailed for driving toward officer

    A Chatsworth man who officials said accelerated a vehicle toward a law enforcement officer who was approaching on foot remains in the Murray County jail without bond.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Charges undetermined following standoff (Updated 5:45 p.m.)

    Police have yet to decide whether to press criminal charges against a man they say was armed and intoxicated while barricading himself in his office at a carpet mill in downtown Dalton Tuesday evening.

    April 23, 2014 1 Photo 1 Story

  • Man charged for using fraudulent Social Security card

    A man is being held in the Whitfield County Jail on multiple charges for using a fraudulent Social Security card with someone else’s Social Security number to land a job at a rug manufacturer in Dalton and for providing false information to receive workers’ compensation benefits, according to the Georgia State Board of Workers’ Compensation’s Enforcement Division.

    April 23, 2014

  • Standoff 1 mlh.jpg Police: Four-hour standoff ends with peaceful surrender

    A man who was armed with at least one firearm and believed to be under the influence of alcohol surrendered to police Tuesday night after barricading himself for four hours inside a carpet mill in downtown Dalton, officials said.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray deputy bit by drug dog while taking selfie

    A Murray County Sheriff’s Office deputy is recovering after one of the department’s drug dogs bit him in the face on Monday.

    April 23, 2014

  • Local wrestler ‘made everybody smile’

    Rash Renegade got his wrestling nickname after a motorcycle wreck several years ago left him with a bad case of road burn.

    April 23, 2014

  • Pinwheels in murray '14 1 mlh.jpg Awareness can prevent child abuse

    Three hundred forty-six pinwheels dotted the Murray County Courthouse lawn on Tuesday, representing 346 reported cases of child abuse in the county last year.

    April 23, 2014 2 Photos

  • Murray library, regional system still far apart

    Murray County officials say they will announce soon if they will follow through with their plan to take the Chatsworth-Murray Library out of the Northwest Georgia Regional Library System.

    April 22, 2014

  • Fire believed to have started outside home

    Investigators are still working to learn what sparked a fire that nearly destroyed a house at 602 Top St. in Dalton on Monday.

    April 22, 2014

AP Video