Editor’s Note: “With every revolution of the wheels… a prayer goes up to Heaven.” This is Reverend Johannes Myors’ mantra as he rides his bicycle. He is currently on his 76th mission by bicycle to help people in need that he meets along the way. Below is an inspiring story about how he helped a stranded Marine that suffered from Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). It is one of his favorite stories since the Reverend started helping people way back in 1993. You can also read our previous story An Accident Can’t Stop A Mission From God about how the Reverend has had to overcome his own challenges to keep inspiring others.
Location: Oklahoma City. June 16, 2011.
This afternoon, I rode through the small town of Cambridge, Iowa (between Ames and Des Moines). I took several pictures of the mural that was on a sidewall of one of the downtown buildings. It was a military-themed mural and the theme was “Freedom Is Never Free”.
Looking at the patriotic mural brought back memories of a member of the military, who I met in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma on June 16th. It’s hard not to forget this meeting. As I was coming to an intersection on Western Avenue a few blocks west of the downtown area, I happened to see a guy sitting down on some sidewalk next to a street light holding up a sign that said: “Homeless Vet – Needs Help”. It also said: “Recently discharged Marine”. As part of my ministry whenever I see somebody who looks like they need a meal, I will stop, ask them if they are hungry, and give them some food from my food pannier that I call a roaming food pantry.
The guy told me that his name was Tim and he had been discharged from the Marines in San Diego just three months ago. He was trying to get back to West Virginia but I don’t know how he landed up in Oklahoma City. Tim just about gulped down without chewing the couple of peanut butter sandwiches that I made for him . He told me that this was the first food that he had in two days. I gave him some more food that he didn’t have to cook and he said that he would eat it later on and save some for tomorrow.
Pedaling With A Purpose” a book 25 years in the making by Rev Johannes Myors. Available on Amazon.
Along with the food, I gave him the liter bottle of water that I had strapped to the back of my recumbent. Tim pretty well swallowed the whole bottle in several large gulps. He was pretty thirsty and this might have been his first and only liquid that he had all day. The temperature was in the low 90s even though it was after 6 PM. Tim told me that he tried to get some water and ice from a couple of gas stations in the area but they wouldn’t give him any because they saw him pan-handling in the area.
For about twenty minutes, I stayed with Tim with the cars and trucks going passed us. I thought that it was my job to be a listening ear and to try and give him some support. Tim told me that he had been staying under an overpass a few hundred feet away for the past couple of days and he was trying to sleep with just a thin sheet to wrap himself up. He just had a few possessions in a small backpack that he kept next to him.
I just sat down by him. At one point, he asked me to pray for him and I put one arm around his shoulder. While praying for him, Tim started to cry but he quickly stopped and he said that Marines shouldn’t show emotion like this.
Tim told me that he had been recently discharged from the Marines just three months ago. He was in the battles in Afghanistan and Iraq. Tim must have been either in his late twenties or early thirties but he acted like he had been on this earth for several more decades. He told me that he was ashamed to say that during his tours of duty he had taken the lives of over 150 people.
He was really suffering from Post Traumatic Stress. Tim said that the veteran’s administration gave him a small amount of psychologic help and they gave him some psych medicine but he didn’t like taking it because he said that they messed up his mind more than what it was now. Tim said that he didn’t like going to the veteran’s hospital because all they seemed to want to do is to give him more medicine.
I can’t understand why the military didn’t help him out more. I’ve read about this and I’ve meet a couple of just-returned vets before but I still cannot understand what is going on. Here Tim had gone through years of training learning how to kill but he wasn’t given any kind of de-programming on how not to kill and to live in normal society away from the military and battles of war. It was like Tim was just a tool for the military that could just be thrown away when it showed signs of being worn out.
This encounter with Tim really got to me. Here I was on my way to a place where I would be spending the night with a bed and a shower and all Tim had to look out for was a spot on the dirty concrete below the underpass with all of the noise of the traffic going passed above him. When I got to the place where I was spending the night, I spent most of the night before going to bed trying to come up with some resources for Tim. I made a decision that tomorrow morning I would back-track my route and see how Tim made it through the night.
I got on the internet and did some research on what resources were out there that could give Tim the help that he so much needed. Over the phone, I had a long talk with the guy who would be my new boss over the winter in Shreveport, LA. Lee was a gunnery sergeant in the military. Also, I talked to several counselors on crisis hot lines and I learned that there was an agency a few blocks away from where I met Tim that has resources like free camping gear, clothing, and food. The agency has yearly events called “Operation Troop Stand-down” where homeless vets can attend and get hooked up with the resources that they need. I also learned that the local veterans hospital has a social worker who has a team of outreach volunteers who go out onto the streets and meets the homeless vets on their own turf instead of having the homeless vets go to the hospital to meet with the social worker.
In the morning, I back-tracked several miles to see if I could meet up with Tim again and tell him what I had found out. When I got to the intersection where we had met, Tim wasn’t around. There were two people staying under the underpass but neither one was Tim. An hour later, I was able to call up the social worker at the veteran’s hospital and give her all of the information that I had learned from Tim and his last known location. The social worker thanked me for the information and she told me that her outreach team will make the effort to locate Tim and give him the help that he needed. I really hope that in these past two weeks, Tim has gotten the help that he needs and hopefully he is back home in West Virginia. I can only hope and pray that this is the case.
God Bless Our Troops
Whenever you come across a military person whether they be a retired veteran or one who is active, please take the time to go to them and to thank them verbally for their service to the country. As a quote says on the building mural “Freedom Is Never Free”. We just seem to take the lives of the people who volunteered to protect us for granted.
Update on the Reverend’s progress
It has been thirty-four months since my accident on July 29, 2017. I still have some neuro-muscular damage in my legs (especially my right leg) but I am still able to cycle tour. Since March 22, 2018, when I got back on the road after my accident, I have cycle toured 15,190.88 miles (24,305.41 km) on my new recumbent bicycle, Allison. With all of my cycle tours, I have cycled 280,283.87 miles (448,454.19 km) in 5,093.55 Days (13.96 Years) of pedaling since February 19, 1993. This distance is equivalent to almost 11.26 times around the Equator and 40,340 miles (64,544 km) coming back from the moon. My mantra is that “with every wheel revolution, a prayer goes up to Heaven,” and that is 1,261,558,584 wheel revolutions. Currently, I am on my 76th missionary bike tour of the United States. I left Hattiesburg, Mississippi, on March 07, 2020, and I cycled toured almost 1,081.61 miles (1,730.58 km) in 25.08 days. This current trip is going to last about 5,000 miles (8,000 km) more, and I might be on the road till at least September or October.
Please consider donating
Reverend Johannes’s funding has been cut in half because of the coronavirus pandemic. He has not been able to speak at a church since March 15. Your donations would be greatly appreciated. Thanks in advance.
For more about the reverend’s adventures, please visit his ministry website: Pedalprayers.org.