Brent Young is a 54-year-old Gideon from Warsaw, Missouri. Like many of his fellow Gideons, he enjoys watching people come to Christ, handing out the Word of God, and hearing testimonies of how God is changing lives around the world. However, Young’s ministry is unique in one way—he operates from the saddle of a red Trek bicycle.
In 2012, Brent Young decided it was time to start over. He had been an alcoholic, a drug addict, and bound by the desires of the world. God pursued him, and he knew he had to stop running. In fact, he knew God was calling him to start riding.
Before he found the Lord, Young had toyed with the idea of riding a bike on long expeditions just to see if he could. However, after he became a Christian, he knew God was calling him to take his dream a little further, “I just prayed and asked God, ‘What can I do? You’ve done so much for me, what can I do for you?’ And He told me, ‘You love to ride your bike. Ride for me.’” Since then, Young has been biking across America under the motto “Ride for Christ.”
“This is not my first ride. The first ride I did was a thousand miles, and my second ride was over 2,500 miles,” says Young. He is now on his third tour across the USA, currently pedaling through mile 1,240 in Winslow, Arizona.
The Gideons in his home camp back in Missouri have not seen him in quite some time. However, Young is still meeting with Gideons for prayer and encouragement in the towns he rides through. “I feel like part of a big family when I meet with Gideons across different states,” he says, “They hug me and recharge my spirit to continue spreading the Gospel.” Gideons along his journey often pray over him and replenish his saddle bag with New Testaments to share with those he meets on the road. So far, Young has biked through 17 states and placed copies of God’s Word into around 300 hands.
Dan is one of the many people Young had an opportunity to share the Gospel with. While resting at a traffic corner in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Dan asked Young why he was riding. Young replied simply that he was spreading the Word of Jesus and handing out Scriptures. Without missing a beat, Dan asked for a copy, and Young was able to give him a New Testament and witness to him. “It was the best part of my day,” said Young.
The road is not always easy. In fact, riding with the buzzing sound of semi-trucks speeding by, going against the wind, through heat and exhaustion—these are common struggles Young faces on a typical day’s ride. However, the heaviest burden he experiences is seeing the spiritual drought most people live in.
“This is the hardest thing I’ve ever done,” he says, “I have been where people steal my clothes, I’ve been assaulted, I’ve been rejected. But I’ve also felt the Holy Spirit protect me every day. I’ve seen the beauty of God’s creation across many lands, and I’ve seen the beauty of His people. When you’re actually out here in the world, among the people, you’re attuned to people’s needs in a different way. I am just trying to be the light in whatever way God leads me to be.”
In a recent post on his Facebook page, Young sports a yellow poncho and talks about the beauty of riding in the rain, “This is Sunday. I got to worship, I got a wide road, and it’s all good. It’s good to hear the birds singing after the rain. They’re happy…and so am I. It’s good to be out here serving God.”
Lord willing, Young plans to continue his ride to California before heading home. You can pray with us for his safety on the road, as well as his strength spiritually, as he witnesses to those he meets.