Young Practitioner in Canada: the "Bike for Falun Gong" Trip
(Clearwisdom.net) Greetings Master and fellow practitioners,
My name is Kevin; I am a 17-year-old student from Toronto, Ontario. I have been a practitioner since 1998 but up until last year I hadn't done much with my cultivation in terms of walking my own path. During last year's "Bike for Falun Gong: Save the Kids in China" trip I was one of the coordinators. I had always known that this approach to truth clarification would be an effective way to reach out to more people. The plight of children in China is able to touch the hearts of every person, and everybody is willing to listen when they hear that children are being persecuted. In his recent lectures, Master has spoken about saving the orphans in China, and I personally felt that this was a project meant for the young Dafa disciples. I realized that now is the time to do this project, and our bike tour was a start for the young disciples in Toronto.
Last year we were approached by young practitioners from Washington, D.C. who asked us to participate in the bicycle journey from Washington D.C. to Chicago. However, many of us were not able to make that journey. Wanting to participate and clarify the truth to more people, we decide to hold our own bike tour from Toronto to Washington, D.C., arriving in time for the July 20th events. This was the time for the youth in Toronto to start walking our own paths in cultivation. Prior to this trip, everything that the young practitioners in Toronto had done was set up by the adult practitioners; we just did as we were told. We handed out fliers because we were told, signed petitions because we were told, clarified the truth because we were told, worked on various projects because we were told to; this was our chance to let our true nature shine and save sentient beings as Master had asked us to.
Preparation was a slow and hard process for all of us, since all of us had no prior experience in doing these things. However, with the tremendous support from practitioners from all over Canada and the United States, we were able to get our project off the ground. Many of us had school at the same time, and therefore, the only time available to plan and make phone calls was during lunch and after school. Every day we would come home to write articles, finish speeches, make phone calls, send out letters, and try to get sponsors. One task that was hard for me was public speaking; I had no idea how to speak in public and was a horrible public speaker. I had to work hard on myself to be able to speak in front of others since now people were relying on me and we all had to go through the same experiences.
Many of us had to learn how to do different things we weren't used to doing. We had to make phone calls, write letters, speak to many different people, and organize ourselves. Many of us had to learn to be more independent since we were leaving our parents for a month. I had to learn how to coordinate and lead others, something I was never good at since I was shy and never really spoke up. We had to all break out of our shell and work together as one body.
The preparation for the bike tour had begun to take up much of my time. During this time I was also playing for Canada's Jr. Field Hockey training squad, which had practice 4-5 times a week. I had played hockey for many years but had never been great at it, however, in one month I was able to go from backup to starting line-up, playing for my club and Ontario. Later, I was asked to join the training squad for the Canadian national team. I made the decision to drop these things because I knew that this bicycle trip was my chance to walk my own path. This was something that I and the other young people in Toronto had to do.
Time was flying; it seemed that there was never enough time to complete anything. In the recent New York lecture, Master says:
"I've told you before that time here among human beings has become really fast. I have talked to you about that on several occasions, and [the pace of it] changed a number of times. At one point I said that one day now passes in what used to be the passage of a second, and later I told you that one year now passes in what used to be the passage of a minute." ("Teaching the Fa at the 2005 Manhattan International Fa Conference")
That was exactly how it felt; during this time many of us didn't have time to do the exercises and we slacked in reading the Fa. However, we learned that it was essential to do these things if we wanted to proceed with this project. When I did read the Fa and did the Falun Gong exercises, the day felt much longer and I was able to fit more things in. This also came at a hard time in school, since it was exam period and crunch time. We all had to work extra hard to fit everything in and make time for everything else we had to do.
One major problem that we had was the problem of commitment. Many people wanted to participate and then would drop out, or change their mind at the last minute. This caused great chaos among us since it made it very difficult to coordinate how we would work things out. We had to learn to work together and communicate with each other. Working as one body could not be just one or two people working alone, rather, it would require everybody to work together.
Up until the last week before the bike tour, we were still unprepared for our ride and many things were not ready yet. We did not even have drivers at that time or a van to go along with us. So much had yet to be completed, with time quickly running out. Thankfully, many practitioners took the initiative to help us out, some even from out of town and out of the country. Some taught us how to ride and maintain the bikes, some helped us with writing, and others helped teach us how to work with getting sponsors and contacting officials. One practitioner made us all media passes so we could all look professional at our press conferences. It was truly touching to see and be part of a body of practitioners working as one.
The Kick Off
With help from Master and many practitioners, we were able to have a successful kick off. This included a T.V station that wished to do a documentary on us. Many practitioners came out to support our cause; it was the same day that they had the press conference in front of the Chinese Consulate in regards to the shooting incident in South Africa. Master had set everything up for us already; the police escorts were there even on the short notice we gave them; the practitioners were waiting for us at the consulate. One of our cyclists had drafted a letter to be given to the Consulate, however when we went in we were turned away and asked to leave immediately. They even threatened to call the police. While looking back at that situation, I felt that we should have left that letter in there, as even if one person were saved it would have been worth it.
After the press conference and a quick lunch, we started the first day of our ride with everybody together. A few practitioners had volunteered to help us out, some driving along, and one had even ridden alongside us to give us pointers and tips on what to do.
Soon after crossing the border, we were off to our first press conference on July 4th, which is Independence Day in the U.S. Many of the practitioners in New York had taken time out to help us and even stayed with us for a week. They wanted to be sure that they did everything possible to help. In New York State, we were able to reach out to many more people and even received a Proclamation in the City of Lackawanna announcing a Falun Dafa day on July 6th in our honor. The kind-hearted people of many cities were able to help us out. One city opened up their school gym for us to stay in, which had already been waxed and prepared for the next school year. They even let us use of the kitchen and the schoolyard, and they gave us keys to the school, and let us use the phones. The mayor of this city even came out to personally visit us and bring us dinner.
In Pennsylvania, we were joined by more riders from the United States who wished to help with our cause. During this leg of the journey, it was the hardest to keep our minds righteous because of the grueling hills that we had to conquer. However that wasn't the hardest part; the hardest part was to keep our minds calm and collected. When we slipped a little, so did all the riders; during this part of the ride, many people took a fall. They had to figure out what had gone wrong and work it out for themselves. When we had a problem as a group, we needed to work it out together to be able to continue as one body. Once again, the practitioners in Pennsylvania helped us through, with many of them giving us a place to stay and arranging many different events for us.
Maryland was our final leg of the tour. We actually ended our bike tour a week early and were waiting for the events a week later. During this time, the D.C practitioners were working hard to help us in our final leg of the journey. They had rounded up 300 riders, police escorts, vests, shirts, food, and organized a press conference. We were met at Capitol Hill by thousands of practitioners.
In every place we went, we had practitioners help us out in every way that they could. Some practitioners gave us places to stay, got us food, and set up the press conferences. The only thing left for us to do was to actually show up. I was truly touched to see so many people helping us work on this project. It is truly unexplainable how much work was put in and there will never be enough pages to tell what everybody had done.
Stories from the Tour
The stories and cultivation experiences along the tour are countless, but I will only be able to share a few.
During the ride, there were many touching stories that occurred. Many people pulled over on the street to say "Hi" to us and show their support. One woman who had adopted two daughters from China pulled over to talk to us and ask us what we were doing. Many people pulled over to offer us donations because they supported our cause
In one of the places where we stayed, a staff member was so moved by our stories that she began to cry. She tried everything she could to help us out. She contacted all the local media stations and newspapers to do an interview with us, where we were able to get on the biggest station in the county and on the front page of the newspaper.
In every city along the way, we went to as many media outlets as we could, so we could tell people the facts on a larger scale. In one city, we were running out of time and had to get moving again, but it turns out that every media in that city was located within one city block, and all we had to do was go next door for the next one. This was another one of the arrangements made by Master to help us in our mission.
I knew that Master was helping us throughout the entire trip. Everything ran smoothly, even with the lack of organization on some parts. But I had not realized how much Master really helped us until I was driving home from D.C. and I noticed that my leg was getting tired from stepping on the gas pedal. However, on the whole trip while pushing a bike pedal with my own energy, I never became tired.
This trip was extremely worthwhile; with a small budget we were able to talk to many kind-hearted people to clarify the truth to them and reach out to mainstream society through the media. Throughout every step of the way, we had many people helping us in our mission to clarify the truth. On behalf of the Bike for Falun Gong Team I would like to thank most compassionate Master for his immense help during this great learning experience. We would also like to thank all practitioners for their help and support during this mission to clarify the truth to more sentient beings.
Please point out any misconceptions I might have.