10 Aug 2019 Pedaling for Papilio: Hope and Freedom, One Life at a Time
Throughout history, individual lives have been changed and even movements begun as a result of one person’s hope and dream for a better future. Ride For Freedom 2020 is a result of such a dream. In 2017, Konnie Drews visited southern Spain on a vision trip to determine whether it was viable to expand the involvement of Northshore with ministry partners, Papilio. Although she had seen many things during previous trips around the world, what she saw first-hand in Spain and North Africa was very difficult to reconcile, both with her faith and with her understanding of humanity. In just one city, dozens of women were forced to work the streets and clubs under the control of a mafia that used drugs, violence and threats to their family members, having trafficked them by removing all their papers, contacts, and identity.
Upon returning home and continuing to ask the Lord how she, one person, could make a difference in a global issue that was so overwhelming the dream started to take shape. With the support of her husband, Dave, together they began planning a very unique short-term mission trip that would support the work of Papilio by raising funds through a cycling tour of Spain, using what she loves to fight the injustice she hates.
Over the last two years, thirteen different cyclists have traveled to Spain, getting the opportunity to participate with Papilio in the fight against sex-trafficking, while also raising over $48,000. Participants have varied from avid cyclists to more causal but committed riders who are willing to take on the challenges of training. Here’s what previous team members have said about how the experience impacted them:
- “One life at a time gives hope to the hopeless and empowers the powerless. I could only learn this perspective by going and interacting with those (the Papilio team) who are in the midst of it all.”
- “What I was able to experience on the trip showed me how important the one-on-one connection is for altering the path of the rescued.”
- “The cycling was some of the most challenging but also the most beautiful I have ever experienced, but what made the greatest impact on me was seeing the tremendous needs of the women and the sacrificial and loving response of the Papilio team.”
During the Rice & Beans campaign in March, the Northshore family generously gave over $110,000 to provide scholarships for women who are rescued. Funds raised by the Ride For Freedom cycling team helps continue to make Papilio’s weekly ministry to the young women on the streets and in the clubs possible, building the trust and relationship necessary to attempt a rescue.
Registration for Ride For Freedom 2020, April 10-19, is now open. For more information, meet Konnie and other RFF cyclists in the Cafe before or after service on Sunday, August 18th, email Konnie or visit their webpage.