Reynolds Chapel UMC member gives back through bicycle ministry
Submitted by Nancy Watson, Reynolds Chapel UMC
“Pedals of Blessings” is a ministry that Jim Anderson and his wife, Debbie, started in 2009 because of one good deed. They had an old bicycle in their garage and at Christmas time decided to fix it and donate it to a child who could not afford one. This was the beginning of this wonderful ministry. When they saw the delight it brought to one child, they decided they needed to do more for more children.
Instead of purchasing gifts for each other at Christmas, they decided to spend their money on old bikes to repair and new bikes. They soon gained recognition, as you will see in the following paragraphs, and Pedals of Blessings took off. Donations started pouring in, through money or bikes or bike equipment.
Being a born-again Christian, Jim promised God that he would spend the money he usually would use for other things to continue his ministry. Starting in January 2010, he promised to buy one new bike each month by making changes and sacrifices in his life. By Christmas of 2010, he was able to deliver 28 bikes, the 12 he saved for and 16 more that were either donated new or like new and some he could use for parts to make repairs. These bikes were donated at Christmas to many children, 3 years old and up.
Jim stayed true to his promise to God, and beginning in January 2011, He began collecting more bikes. This time at Christmas, he provided 32 bikes and in 2012, Pedals of Blessings grew to 32 bicycles. In four years it has grown to 90 bikes.
In May of 2014, Pedals of Blessing partnered with the Quincy Police Dept. in Gadsden County Florida because they had heard of this ministry, and asked Jim to assist with their “Third Annual Bicycle Rodeo.” Jim’s ministry gifted eight bicycles to the event and aided other officers, fire fighters and volunteers in demonstrating bicycle maintenance and safety. The Lord used this event to connect this bicycle ministry with the police chief of Midway Police Department (Gadsden County, Fla.) and to become a sponsor for their “Third Annual National Night Out ‘program. A national program among law enforcement agencies to reach out to and promote community assistance for families and children. The Quincy Police Department asked Jim to replace six bicycles that had been stolen and this he did. A donation of six bicycles was gifted among the 150-200 youth attending this event, along with family and friends. In 2013 Jim received a certificate of appreciation from the Members the City of Midway Police Department.
The biggest blessing is the service partnering with various organizations to reach out to the needs of others such as Boy Scouts of America through Friendship UMC, the Lighthouse Evangelical Mission Church, the Calvary Assembly of God and several concerned teachers at Seminole Elementary School and individual members of Reynolds Chapel UMC. He has also donated and worked with Rock Radio 106.3, the Salvation Army and several organizations in cooperation with “Santa’s Helpers.”
2013 and 2014 saw the same amount of growth in this Ministry. Jim has had numerous donors and volunteers for doing what he does. He has had volunteers from the Men's Club at Reynolds Chapel UMC and other churches in Seminole, Decatur and Miller Counties. He has also been active in donating the bikes, not only in Seminole County, but also the departments of DHR and DFACS in surrounding counties. He was also written up in the Bainbridge Living magazine in the fall of 2013 for his accomplishments with this ministry.
Jim credits all of this to God for he has helped to expand this ministry. His moto for Pedals of Blessings is Matthew 25:23 “Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master’s happiness!”
One of Jim’s closest friends stated that Jim personifies the Christian spirit. You can always turn to him in time of need and he will always be there with a smile and a big hug! If you ever meet him, you will know what I mean. Jim takes no credit for himself for the way this ministry has grown. He says it is because of God and his promise made to Him that the bike ministry is where it is today and still growing.
Jim lives in Seminole County and worked with the Piggly Wiggly in Donalsonville until he was transferred to Quincy, Florida. Jim is married to his lovely wife, Debbie, and they have a daughter, Christine, and granddaughter, Graceland. He is an active member of Reynolds Chapel UMC where he participates in the jail ministry, choir and is a certified Lay Speaker with The United Methodist Church. In approximately five years, Jim has never missed a date for the Jail Ministry. He was also a member of the 911 Trio, who sang and gave testimony to the Senior Citizens Nursing Home in Donalsonville and to the residents at Great Gran’s. They also witnessed to other nursing homes in Decatur County.
Jim was nominated by Reynolds Chapel UMC for citizen of the year for 2014 and won.