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  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Bicyclist raises funds for Love In Action International Ministries

  • One year ago, Josh Warncke said he definitely was not interested in a cross-country bike ride.

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  • One year ago, Josh Warncke said he definitely was not interested in a cross-country bike ride.
    Now he’s halfway through a 3,600-mile ride from San Diego to New Jersey to raise $1 million for the orphans of Latin America.
    Warncke and T.J. Speer, who volunteered to drive the support van, spent Monday night at Countryside Christian Church.
    Both recent college graduates, they are making the ride in conjunction with Love in Action International Ministries for Hogar De Andrea (Andrea’s Homes of Hope and Joy), a home for orphans in Bolivia.
    “We’re both from New Jersey and we drove to San Diego,” Warncke said. “We started the trip June 5 and we’ll end it July 28 at Liberty Park in New Jersey.”
    He said that he first heard of Love in Action International Ministries through a friend of his father who was serving on the organization’s board. He has been at Hogar De Andrea three times now, first in November of 2010.
    Speer said that he has been making mission trips just about every summer for the past 10 years, most of them in the United States. He visited Hogar De Andrea for the first time last summer with Warncke and a team of his friends.
    “The work that is being done there is incredible,” he said.
    Last year Warncke organized Bike for Bolivia, a one-day event.
    “I and one of my friends rode for 12 straight hours,” he said. “We rode 157 miles and raised $13,000. Half of that got us to Bolivia last summer and half went to the projects we did there. We built a sandbox, did some painting and carpentry work on a house. We also hung out with the kids.”
    They also met with the leader of Love in Action International Ministries orphanages, who asked the group if they would be willing to do a $1 million fundraiser.
    “Love in Action International Ministries was given two more pieces of land, another one in Bolivia and one in Honduras, but they don’t have money yet to build,” Warncke said. “That was when the idea for the cross-country ride came up and I said I wouldn’t do it. That August we decided to go for it.”
    Warncke had been a mountain biker for nine years, but last year was his first time to ride a road bike.
    “I drive two miles ahead, wait for Josh to catch up with me, then drive two more miles,” Speer said. “I fill water bottles, check the route, call ahead to wherever we’re staying that night, doing the day-to-day coordinating and organizing.”
    It’s been hot for Warncke on the bike, but Speer said it gets hot in the van, too, because he keeps the air conditioning off as much as possible to save on gas.
    Page 2 of 2 - “In places where there’s no radio, telephone or Internet, it’s pretty boring, just sitting there staring at grass and rocks,” Speer said.
    The two said they allowed for longer riding days in Kansas because it’s flat. At least, that’s what they believed.
    “When we got here we were surprised at how hilly it is,” Warncke said. “We’ve had a lot of hot weather and strong winds on this trip, and you have it all here. The days have been longer than they should have been.”
    They’ve also had a lot of hospitality along the way.
    “We’ve had a lot of help,” Warncke said. “We’ve stayed in churches, stayed with people.
    Everybody has been really nice.”
    He graduated from Kean University in 2011 with a bachelor’s degree in physical education, and when he’s not on a bike he works in carpentry and construction.
    Speer earned a bachelor’s degree in broadcasting from Montclair State University in 2011.
    “Right now I’m working in decorative concrete, making table tops and such,” he said. “I’m looking for opportunities in broadcasting.”
    Speer said he was deeply moved by his visit to the orphans in Bolivia.
    “When the day came to leave the kids I broke down and told myself that I would do anything to give back to them and one day go back to them,” he said. “Ride for Rescue will not only allow for that to happen, but will open the door for several other orphanages to open and do the same for hundreds or even thousands of children that is being done at Hogar De Andrea.”
    Anyone interested in learning more about Love in Action may visit www.loveinactionministries.com.

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