The motorcycle’s turn signal was stuck. It caught Edwin “Ed” Outlaw off-guard since his red and silver Harley-Davidson had passed inspection only minutes earlier. He pulled into a church parking lot to work on the problem.
“As I was checking things out, I saw a motorcycle coming from across the street to see if I was okay,” Outlaw recounts. He was amazed by what happened next.
“I began witnessing to the other biker and then he witnessed to me,” Outlaw laughs.
Outlaw is not only passionate about motorcycles, but he is also passionate about sharing the Gospel. The Wake Forest resident and his family are members of the Upper Room Church of God in Christ in Raleigh where he serves as an ordained elder.
Ironically, the other cyclist turned out to be Brian Davis, Associate Executive Director-Treasurer for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina (BSC). Brian helps organize the annual Ride to Clyde charity ride benefiting Baptist Children’s Homes (BCH) – an effort led by BSC.
The malfunction on Outlaw’s bike signaled the beginning of a friendship between the two. Not long after Davis completed the inaugural Ride to Clyde in 2016, he invited his new friend to join him and other bikers on a day-long ride.
“We rode to Danville, VA and back. During the trip he shared about Ride to Clyde and invited me to the next year’s event,” Outlaw recalls. “That’s when I started researching online.”
The 460-mile ride from May 11-13, 2017 stretched from Oak Island to Clyde – the North Carolina mountain community that inspired the ride’s name. The route takes three days to complete and includes stops at multiple BCH locations. Prior to the ride, bikers raise funds for the children’s residential ministry.
For many of the bikers who participate, it is the first time to be introduced to the ministry and the boys and girls.
“I couldn’t believe all the things the Children’s Homes has across the state,” Outlaw says. “I started telling members of my church and other people – we didn’t know Baptist Children’s Homes existed.”
One of those people is his wife Lisa who has served children and families as a department of social services employee. She also taught in middle school and currently serves as a social worker in her local public school system.
“My wife really has a heart for the people she serves,” Outlaw asserts. “She sees the ones falling through the cracks who really need help.
“At Christmas, she had a seven-year-old in her office who told her all he wanted for Christmas was a pair of socks. The pair he was wearing had holes in them.”
Through Ride to Clyde, Outlaw saw many of BCH’s ministries up close – ministries that could potentially benefit the children and families that his wife Lisa helps through her role in the schools as well as the people in the community she and Outlaw serve through their church’s outreaches.
According to Outlaw, the tone for the ride was set on the first day when he and 96 other motorcyclists visited Cameron Boys Camp – BCH’s residential wilderness program in Moore County. The girls from Camp Duncan in nearby Aberdeen were also there to meet the bikers.
“As the girls talked with me at lunch, I really saw the gravity of what’s going on with them. The stories and testimonies of both the young men and women blew me away,” Outlaw says.
His experiences at Mills Home in Thomasville for day two and at Broyhill Home in Clyde on the final day were personally impactful as well. Both locations provide homes to children who have experienced some form of family dysfunction or trauma.
“These children live in homes just like my family home – only much bigger,” Outlaw explains. “It’s a model I had never really thought about before.”
At Broyhill Home, the bikers announced that this year’s Ride to Clyde participants raised $32,379. Including additional donations received in the days after the ride, the final total reached $33,550. The funds will help provide BCH’s boys and girls with the daily care and support they need.
“Throughout the entire trip, you see that the people involved genuinely care,” Outlaw says. “That’s not common – it’s a gift from the Holy Spirit.”
Outlaw’s journey totaled 1,100 miles which accounts for the length of the Ride to Clyde route as well as his trip to and from his Wake Forest home.
His takeaway: every mile was worth it. “For me it was like a multi-day revival. I left one way and came back another. I met people who love the Lord Jesus Christ like I do – we’re all cut from the same fabric. My goal and prayer is to bring a few more people next year.”
Note: Ed Outlaw is just one of the many Ride to Clyde participants who visited a BCH location for the first time. For more information on how your motorcycle riding group or motorcycle ministry may support BCH’s boys and girls, contact Brenda Gray at 336-474-1230.
Ride to Clyde 2018 will be May 10-12. Learn more at www.bchnc.org/ridetoclyde