written by Carter Theis
I met Ryan a few years ago. He later joined us on one of our Enoch Magazine trips to Skid Row. The first time I met him I knew he was the real deal as far as ministry is concerned. He was housing homeless in his own house and he was working on a new ministry called “Not Fashionable.” Upon our first meeting, he opened up his suitcase and gave me a t-shirt he’d made. It read, “30,000 KIDS DIE OF HUNGER EVERYDAY.” He told me that statistic was true, but that’s as far as he’d gotten with the concept. “I really don’t have a ministry or game plan behind this shirt yet,” Ryan said, “for now I think it’s just important that people know – 30k kids die everyday from starvation.”
I wore the shirt even though I knew I’d look like an activist. And ya, I did get into some discussions in the frozen food section, but I blamed Ryan completely. “Oh, it’s a shirt that a friend gave me….” But there was something really genuine and loving by Ryan’s initial act of giving me that shirt. A tip for all you beginning “world changers” out there: If you initially catch someone off guard with a gift, AND purely from the heart…
Today, Ryan is focused on that shirt more than ever. He’s going on a bike ride with 3 other friends from Homestead Florida to Key West to raise $30,000 for a farming project in Swaziland, Africa. And as you can see by the map, the rout looks like mostly water, (Christians insert Peter joke here). Ryan has no one sponsoring this event. “Just to be clear,” Ryan wrote in his last email to friends, “We haven’t raised a dollar yet. We don’t have anyone pledging to give money if we do this. We are doing this because we are believing that there is $30,000 waiting between here and there.”
They’ll be sleeping in tents along the way, not to mention – the weather looks like it might be pretty nasty. I won’t say too much more, because Ryan’s website is designed to “take it from here.” But I’ll end with these two points: 1) Based on the statistics of his t-shirt, It’s crazy to think how many kids have died of starvation since he first started asking people to wear this message. And how many kids will die each day he is on this bike ride? 2) By getting on his bike and heading to Key West believing that God with show him how to obtain $30,000, Ryan is in for a true adventure with God. This is faith, and in my opinion, one of the best things about having a relationship with Christ.