Friday, May 31, 2013

Day 13 - May 31 - Gallup to Grants, NM

Day 13 - May 31 - Gallup to Grants, NM (66 miles)

Mid-way today we crossed the Continent Divide.  Last night, I Skyped with Brenda and she asked, "Why does it always seem like you're going up hill?"  Well....we finally got to do a little downhill today!

We made good time today, sometimes cruising at 20 mph, aided by a tail breeze from the Lord.  We did, however, have 4 1/2 flats today.  I had one (my 2nd).  Luey had 2 1/2 (he rode the third into Grants before it went down), and Andy had a flat before we ever left Gallup.  So glad Luey is an expert at changing flats!

The vistas along I-40 are really spectacular.  Reaching the top of another hill, we are almost always rewarded with a grand landscape in front of us.  Our God is an amazing God!  What diversity in God's creation! Reminds me of the nations -- what diversity there too!  Our God is the Creator of all!

Tomorrow we have about 80 miles into Albuquerque.  And, thanks to Ted & Bev Skiles, our co-workers in Taiwan; we now have a place to stay and a church to visit.  I'll say more about that tomorrow.

Thank you for praying!  As we had our first "close call" today.  We actually had to ride  in the slow lane on the interstate for a 10 mile stretch.  Two 18-wheelers passed us side-by-side and doing 75 mph.  Thank you, Lord!

Dave, Luey & Andy

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Day 12 - May 30 - Holbrook, AZ to Gallup, NM

Day 12 - May 30 - Holbrook, AZ to Gallup, NM (94 miles)

We're smack-dab in the middle of the Painted Desert.  From Holbrook we left at 5 AM for a long day in the saddle.  We made good time today, despite the nearly 1000 ft of ascent; bolstered by a strong westerly breeze pushing us along.  We stopped several times near the AZ/NM border to take pictures of the cliffs.  We stopped again at the NM welcome center and spent several minutes talking to motorists.  Nine hours of riding today.

I had my first flat tire today, Luey has had 4, and Andy leads with 5 flats.  I made it through CA and AZ without a flat!  Not bad, I'd say, since we've now ridden 1,180 KM / 621 miles.

We appreciate your prayers, as we have experienced several times the Lord providing in special ways; either through people or weather conditions.  Like today, the wind was at our backs most of the day; and it didn't really get too hot until our last hour in the saddle.  In the mornings, we are down-right chilly!

However, if you are praying for us, will you also remember to pray Luke 10:2 with us?  My watch alarm goes off every morning at 10:02, and I am reminded to pray to the "Lord of the Harvest" for laborers to be sent into the harvest fields.  Otherwise, why are we spending hours in the saddle each day?  I fully expect to see God move in amazing ways -- we've already begun to see it!

The other night I closed my presentation by saying, "We know that heaven will include every tribe, people and nation.  Revelation gives us a glimpse of it.  The only question is -- will it happen that the nations all hear in spite of you, or because of you?  God can do amazing things through those who trust him and step forward in faith.

So, pray for us -- YES!  But even more, pray for the 7,126 UPG's who have yet to hear the Gospel!

Dave, Luey & Andy

PS - Emily made it safely to PHX this afternoon, and will spend a day with the Foreman's, before Noah and Em return to Central Illinois.  Thank you for praying for them too!

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Day 11 - May 29 - Show Low to Holbrook, AZ

Day 11 - May 29 - Show Low to Holbrook, AZ (52 miles)

We left the evergreens of the Show Low area, and headed north on US 77.  We were quickly into the barren high desert and a really strong cross-wind that was into us.  Luey and Andy were amazed at how far you could see, and how far we had to ride.

We only rode 52 miles today, because the next services were not for another 48 miles, on I-40.  We hope that the west wind continues, as tomorrow is 92 miles, up hill, toward Gallup, NM.  Lord willing we will leave AZ, and enter NM.

On a personal note, I was really sad this morning, biking without my buddy.  He is always my comic relief.  Out of habit, I kept looking into my side mirror to see how he was doing, and then reminding myself he's not with us anymore.

I hope his knee is healed enough to join us again when we arrive in IL.

Prayers are appreciated!  Thanks much!

Day 10 - May 28 - Payson to Show Low, AZ

 Day 10 - May 28 - Payson to Show Low, AZ

We headed out at 4:15 AM to tackle the 30 mile climb from 5000 ft to 7,200 ft.  Though Noah made it to the top, he was at the end of his stamina -- and his Gloritrek is over until at least IL.

Noah partially tore his patellar tendon away from the bone near his knee cap during soccer in the spring.  We thought it would be healed enough for Gloritrek.  It wasn't, and was causing him pain.

God provided an angel on a bicycle to assist us, KEN who went and got his car, and even ended up driving Noah back to PHOENIX and the Foreman's.  Emily will be using our FF miles and going to get Noah, Thursday to Saturday.  Please pray for Noah, because we're all pretty bummed by these events.

The ride itself was beautiful!  Though, we bit-off more than we could choose, trying to get to Show Low.  The folks at AICM (American Indian Christian Mission) came and picked us up.  What great host they were!  (Let us not forget that there is still missions work to do here in the USA!)  We spoke that night at the White Mtn Christian Church, in Show Low.  We had a great time of fellowship!

Monday, May 27, 2013

Day 9 - Phoenix to Payson, AZ

Day 9 - May 27 (Memorial Day) (77 m / 89 m)

This morning we started out a little after 4 AM (Luey, Andy & Dave).  Noah had the option of sleeping in and riding up the mtn with Fu in his big pick-up truck.  You know what Noah chose!

Aside from our first bike accident, we made good time in the morning out of PHX.  And, who has spent years riding scooters in Taiwan, accidentally pulled his left-hand break, the front break, when stopping suddenly.  In Taiwan, scooters use the left-hand break for rear breaking, and many bike riders in Taiwan switch the hand brakes, just to avoid that common mistake.  Andy is fine, except for a few scrapes.

Fu & Noah met up with us when we were half-way, at about 45 miles, and after much climbing.  Payson is at 5,000 ft and PHX is at at a little over 1,000 ft.  If it was only 4,000 ft of climbing -- that would have been fine.  No, there were several long Cat 2 & 3 climbs.  Yes, mtn climbs are categorized by their level of difficulty, with Cat. 1 being the hardest.  Altogether, there was more than 6,800 ft of climbing.  Luey & Andy did the whole thing in 12 hours.  I called it quits after 10 hours and 77 miles, and when Fu needed to get back to PHX.  He was our support vehicle all day -- what a blessing no having to carry our panniers.

Tomorrow we head to Show Low and and the White Mtn Christian Church.
Thanks for praying!
D, N, L, A

Day 8 - May 26 - Phoenix (Worship Day)

Day 8 - May 26 - First Christian Church, Phoenix (Worship Day

It was a wonderful day of worship with the FCC folks, in Phoenix.  And, it was a true blessing to see our old co-workers from Taiwan, Chuck & Kathy Foreman; spending the weekend with them.  We go way back; and speak the same language -- Chinese -- though his is much better than mine!

We preached two services on Sunday morning, and Noah spun his Chinese yo-yo -- even throwing it over my head while I spoke.  The FCC building is a Frank Lloyd Wright designed structure, and is amazing.  Luey and Andy were very moved by the people they met and the size of the church.

Preaching wise, it was Fu (Chuck) who had to tell me to "Get a grip!"  It was always me who had to tell Fu that in Taiwan, and I even made him a plaque which hangs in his office.  Why?  I haven't really written about what an emotional experience the desert was, just because I'm not sure it can be put in words.  It is enough to say that there were several times when we were in peril from heat, lack of water, or because we were in the middle of nowhere.  As a dad, trust the Lord with my own life and being satisfied with the outcome is okay with me.  But, my son's life?  I felt much like Abraham, who was told to go and sacrifice his son, Isaac.  What a choice to make?  And, how did Abraham respond?  And, what was he promised for his faithfulness?  Yes, that "all nations would be blessed" through him!

We had a wonderfully relaxing day in the Foreman's pool.  Noah learned that he doesn't want to mess with "old guys."  We ate pizza and watched part of a movie before heading to repack and prepare for another early morning -- a 3:30 AM wake up!

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Day 7 - May 25 - Wickenburg to Phoenix, AZ

Day 7 - May 25  - Wickenburg to Phoenix (53 miles)

After being treated to a marvelous breakfast by Pastor Victor, in Wickenburg, we set out to the SE in 58 degree temps.  Noah was freezing, but the other three of us were delighted to not be riding in 110 degree heat -- which I believe Noah prefers (strange boy...takes after mom).  Luey had another flat tire (4 in 6 days).  It was a great early morning ride, and we averaged nearly 15 mph or better for nearly three hours.  We even met a couple of cyclists along the way.

We arrived on the NW edge of Phoenix at around 10 AM, and were greeted by Joe, a biker and leader at FCC.  He escorted us into the city along one of the bike trails near a water canal -- a very safe way to arrive into America's 5th largest city!

We couldn't be happier to be staying with our old friends from Taiwan -- Chuck & Kathy Foreman!  What a blessing to be with them!  Looking forward to sharing with the church in two services tomorrow morning!

And, yes, we went and bought Noah another jacket for the ride ahead!  :-)

Friday, May 24, 2013

Day 6 - May 24 - Salome to Wickenburg, AZ

Day 6 - May 24 - Salome to Wickenburg, AZ (58 miles)

We got up early to beat the heat and we were all shocked by temps in the high 50's or low 60's.  That didn't last long.  By noon it was well over 100 degrees.  Despite a head wind, slight uphill climb for all but the last few miles and 3 flat tires -- we made good time to Wickenburg.  If you want to keep track of flats it is Noah 2, Luey 2, Andy 1 and Dave 0.  The four of us are having a contest -- the one with the most flats buys dinner in NYC!  :-)

We're staying here in Wickenburg with a Pastor Victor and his wife Christy.  We had a wonderful dinner next door tonight, overlooking the desert with the full moon rising!  Luey and Andy loved that we had rice!  And, it was great sharing with these folks about UPG's (Unreached People Groups) and Taiwan!  Wonderful hospitality here in Wickenburg -- even a pool!

Tomorrow, early, we head south-east to Phoenix to see Chuck & Kathy Foreman, and share with First Christian Church!   Can't wait to see our old friends!

Thanks for praying!

Day 5 - May 23 - Bryce, CA to Salome, AZ

Day 5 - May 23 - Bryce, CA to Salome, AZ - (63 miles)

We were finally able to leave I-10 and California, and happy to do so!  It's not that riding on the side of the freeway was especially dangerous. It wasn't bad, and the trucks whizzing by actually gave us a boost of wind.  No, we were glad to leave because it's just really remote out in the CA desert!

We were nearly out of water again when Brenda saved us!  Brenda, AZ; that is!  Brenda is a little oasis in the desert for snow-birds.  It was all closed up for the winter, except for one retiree who was kind enough to open a door and let us fill water.  Another time we we stopped at a house that looked occupied, and the nice lady gave us a real treat water and ice!

I was reminded of how short our life span would be without water.  Jesus, being the "Water of Life" for those who thirst for righteousness -- a well for the weary.  What would life be like if your thirst was never quenched?  These thoughts keep us going!

We stayed in the little village of Salome, which has a small motel, a Mexican restaurant and a little grocery store -- everything we needed!  We celebrated my 50th birthday with a big piece of strawberry shortcake!  Luey & Andy loved it too!

BTW, Noah has been the real rock star the last couple of days -- a strange kid that doesn't seem to be bothered by the 110 degree heat.  He enjoys setting the pace and has plowed through headwinds like a real prow.  I think the only way we'll slow him down is to put more weight in his panniers!

Thanks for praying!

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Day 4 - May 22 - Palm Desert to Blythe, CA

Day 4 - Palm Desert to Blythe, CA (107 miles - 14 hours)

The longest day ever recorded in the history of mankind -- 110F!  The quote Chuck Foreman, in Phoenix, "You are insane!"  I must agree!

We must thank George & Nancy Stocks -- they went way beyond the call of duty!  Amazing!  Truly, they were angels to us!

We're in a nice hotel tonight, and only 61 miles tomorrow!  PTL!

The Lord provided an awesome tailwind most of the day -- the only way we could finish.  Thank you for praying!  I thought often about why we are doing this, and was reminded of the 7,126 unreached people groups.  If by cycling 108 miles in the desert could save 7,126 people -- would you do it, no matter how painful.  Well, imagine it's not 7,126 people -- it's really 3 billion souls.  Without Christ, they are all lost;  and those who know the only Way, the Truth and the Life -- do they not owe it to those who don't to be a part of declare God's glory among the nations?  What am I willing to give for them -- right now every muscle in my body is telling us that today we gave all we had!

Noah is doing well -- he got a reprieve - thanks to George.  Noah was given an escort to our midway point, and got to sleep in until 10 AM.  Needless to say, he was the first to the hotel and ate a whole steak by himself!

Thank you for praying!  BTW, thanks to a couple guys who have worked diligently to hook us up with host -- Mike in Georgetown, OH; and David in Monticello -- I owe you guys a big hug and a dinner!

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Day 3 - May 21 - Riverside to Palm Desert, CA

Day 3 - May 21 - Riverside to Palm Desert, CA
107 miles - 15 hours of frustration and pure joy

Wow!  Glad it's over!  At least three times we were re-routed, which added miles and difficulty (i.e. - mountains).  However, just when we thought we were completely wasted, God provided a wonderful tail breeze and a long downhill nearly all the way to Palm Desert.  Then, God provided a wonderful couple, George & Nancy Stock, to host us!  Absolutely wonderful -- they live on a golf course!  George is a Vietnam Vet -- having been the navigator in F-4's, and is an avid cyclist!  We are truly blessed and are now heading to bed!

P.S. - I really felt your prayers today!  And, we could use them tomorrow as we attempt to get back on I-10, and have 103 miles to Blythe!

Day 2 - May 20 - Huntington Beach to Riverside, CA

Day 2 - May 20 - Huntington Beach to Riverside, CA (83 Miles)

Average speed - 12 MPH
Time on the road:  10 hours

Day one started with Scripture and prayer, and no other fanfare.  We started from the boardwalk, and rode up the Santa Ana River Trail.  We got lost a couple times, and the last half of the day was spent climbing.  We had two offers for housing, but neither we conducive for day two, so we stayed in a motel, which wasn't conducive either.  More on that later.

It was great talking to Chase Andre, who was in Taiwan for a while teaching English.  He will marry soon!  We also spoke with Chuck Foreman, in Phoenix, our old co-worker!  Great touching base with him, and we look forward to being with them this weekend!

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Day 1 - May 19 - Christ's Church, Griffith Park (Worship Day)

Day 1 - May 19 - Christ's Church, Griffith Park, CA

We're here in Huntington Beach, CA; at the Best Western Hotel overlooking the Pacific Ocean.  Tomorrow we begin riding!

Over the weekend we were hosted by Christ's Church of Griffith Park, near Burbank.  Bruce Flennor, serves as the minister.  Bruce and Tanya were a tremendous blessing to us, as Bruce picked us up from the airport, and Tanya took us around LA, and they also brought us down to Huntington Beach.  What a blessing!  Luey and Andy stayed with a retired evangelist, Jim; who has the most amazing garden!

This Lord's Day morning, it was evident that the Lord was working among the congregation!  And, we had an all-church BBQ after. Later, we were blessed to meet Bruce's brother and his family, who are headed to E. Asia as medical missionaries.  Please pray for Paul, and his family of six!  I think we were and encouragement to them, as Paul was to us -- even removing a splinter from my finger!

Tomorrow is a big day -- can't believe it is finally here!  Thank you for praying for us!

Saturday, May 11, 2013

IMPORTANT:  This is the last weekly "Time for Taiwan" prayer update, until after Gloritrek.  Lord willing, we will resume these weekly prayer  updates beginning in mid-August.  Until then, please go to to sign-up and receive our daily blog updates by e-mail.

Also, thanks to FCC in Monticello, IL; follow us with real-time GPS.  It can be accessed through our web-site, or this link:

Greetings from Taiwan:

"Grace and peace to you from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ." (Rom 1:7b; I Cor 1:3; II Cor 1:2; Gal 1:3; Eph 1:2; Phil 1:2; Col 1:2; I Thes 1:1; II Thes 1:2; I Tim 1:2; II Tim 1:2; Tit 1:4; Phil 1:3)  See how many times the Apostle Paul begins his epistles with "Grace and peace to you…"  Grace and peace must be pretty important!  And, when you think about the kind of life Paul lived, both prior to seeing the light, and then, as a missionary, it's not hard to see why these attributes are especially coveted -- as they are gifts from above!  And, when I think of grace and peace, and gifts from above; can't help but think of our mothers!  They seem to embody these qualities more than any!

Happy Mother's Day to our mothers!  I've include a flower for you -- a water lily!  I took this picture yesterday on my bike ride south of Taichung, in the rain, just for you!  Lilies are Brenda's favorite flower!  :-)

We have challenged the Come Christian Church not to be idle this summer while the missionary is away!  To GO, we've added GROW!  So, Come Christian Church wants to GO & GROW this summer -- I've challenged all to reach at least one, and double our attendance by 3rd Sunday of August.  Can it be done?  With God's help, all things are possible!  Amen?  Shea-shea!

Gloritrek takes-off this Friday afternoon, May 17th!  Lord willing, we'll arrive in LA on Friday afternoon, and spend the weekend with Christ Church of Griffith Park.  On Monday morning, we will set out for NYC from Huntington Beach, on the south side of LA.  I cannot describe what I am feeling right now, so I'll just ask you to pray for Noah, Luey, Andy and me.  Pray for our families that we will be saying good-bye to (Lord willing, we will see Brenda again in Tulsa; nearly a month from our departure.)  Pray for the churches we will visit -- that the message of unreached people groups (UPG's) will be embraced.  Yes, pray to the Lord of the Harvest!

Thank you for your partnership with us!  Here in Taiwan, when someone is going on a journey, we say, "One road to peace!" (Ye-lu ping-an!)  Many years ago, while biking and sharing in China, I never tired of hearing that phrase, but they say it differently.  They say, "One road, tail breeze!" (Ye-lu, swen-fong!)  However you say it, your prayers give us peace, and are like a tail breeze pushing us forward!  Grace and peace to you and yours!
All for God's Glory Among the Nations,
David, Brenda & Noah Atkin  /

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

We're less than 10 days from take-off on Gloritrek!  This morning, Luey, Andy, Noah and I biked Noah to school (about 8 miles).  After dropping Noah off at MCA, we rode about 20 more miles, nearly circling the city of Taichung.  It's a city of 2 million, with maybe 2-3% knowing Jesus.  I prayed as I rode this morning.

Good news!  Christ Church in Griffith Park, Burbank, CA; is hosting us while we're in L.A.  We are so grateful for this church, and Pastor Bruce & Tanya Fleenor!  What a blessing!  We look forward to meeting them!

I've been convicted in the last week, feeling a little like Jacob, wrestling with the Lord!  Why?  There are many days in our schedule where we've been unable to find a church to host us, especially out west.  What to do?  It would be easy to just go find a motel, one with a pool preferably!  Of course, that cuts into what we hope to give Team Expansion at the end of the summer, as we focus on unreached peoples.  So imagine you're a pastor or church secretary, and you hear a knock on your door....

"Hello, my name is David Atkin, missionary from Taiwan.  This is my son, Noah.  These are our Taiwanese friends, Luey and Andy.  We're on a Gloritrek for unreached peoples, and we're biking coast to coast, church to church.  We have nowhere to spend the night tonight.  Would you be willing to host us this evening?  In return, we'd be happy to tell you about what we believe God is leading us to share with churches across America."

Wow!  What would you do with this, probably inconvenient, opportunity standing at your door?  Some  may say, "Go in peace!"  The spiritual way of saying, "Get lost!"  However, for some whom the Lord has directed us -- we may be a real blessing to them, as they are to us!  So, in every town we enter, before going to check into a motel for the night; we will first visit the area churches, and give them opportunity to accept us into their home/church, or forfeit the chance to interact with us.  For, if we believe that God is leading us on this Gloritrek;  and, we do, otherwise, there aint no way it would be happening!  Then, we believe God will lead us to those whom God has been preparing!  If Jesus is preparing a place for us in heaven, it is a small thing for Him to prepare a place in each town/city we visit.  What do you think?  What would you say?

Thank you for praying for us!  We are feeling the weight of preparation details; as well as the challenge of increased training and staying healthy and safe.  Like, yesterday, as I recover from bronchitis; I went to the pool for the first time in more than a week and broke my pinky toe.  It is black today!  You may have heard the expression, "The devil is in the details!"  Let us pray that the Lord would smash Satan under our feet!"  Amen.