UNLIKELY MISSIONARY: David Crabtree uses his bike to raise money for African children

Ten years ago, David Crabtree wouldn’t have thought that an injury sustained while running a marathon could turn into a blessing—but it has. 

When a serious knee injury required he give up running for good, Crabtree took up biking. His newfound hobby turned into a 200-mile ride that left him sore yet inspired. 

“I said, ‘If I’m going to do crazy stuff like this, I need to find some value in it,’” he says. 

Crabtree, lead pastor at Calvary Church, an Assemblies of God fellowship in Greensboro, N.C., decided to use biking as a means for good under an initiative called Hope Ride. He began by raising funds to purchase vehicles for missionaries in Mali and Peru. That turned into an opportunity to take three riders to Botswana and bike to South Africa in 2011, raising $44,000 for children in Africa through community outreach projects. 

This year, Crabtree upped the ante and took six men from his church and a Columbus, Ga., church on a six-day, 700-mile bike ride for the children of Zambia. Along the way, they distributed My Book of Hope to young students. 

“We put the Word of God in children’s hands,” Crabtree says. Together, the team raised more than $70,000 for children in Zambia. “Hope Ride is a lot more than just riding,” says Jacques van Bommel, who works with the ministry. “It’s about influence and awareness of ministry to children in Africa.” 

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