Chase Livington has been a reader of this blog since he won one of my contests back in the summer of 2009 (“Chia: An Inconvenient Pet”). I recently found out that Chase has been accepted as one of the participants in the Ride:Well bicycle tour across the United States this summer. It’s a big fundraiser for Blood:Water Mission, made famous when Don Miller participated in the first event a couple years ago.
Anyway, to help raise money for this worthy cause, Chase is giving away signed copies of my book Pocket Guide to the Bible for every $25 donation.
I’m sorta biased, I think this is a great idea and asked if I could interview him about it.
Tell us about yourself. For those who don’t know, who are you?
I am a husband, caregiver, and storyteller. I am an aspiring advocate for victims of extreme poverty, modern-day slavery, and sex trafficking. I hope to motivate young adults to take their lives seriously and to passionately pursue mercy rather than money or mediocrity. Also, as my mom will tell you, I try to be funny.
Why did you decide to apply to participate in the Ride:Well tour?
I blame Donald Miller.
We moved to Jackson from Nashville last year to provide care for my wife’s mom, who requires live-in assistance. This was not the ideal time to forsake a state job (or any job for that) but it had to be done. Unable even to secure an interview, I spent most of the year worried.
I had been reading Miller’s A Million Miles in a Thousand Years when, up too late one November night, I scoured job sites in futility. In that book he tells of his involvement with the inaugural Ride:Well Tour in 2008. He details his hesitation and how he concluded that, aside from fear, he had no reason not to participate.
When I read that Ride:Well was taking applications [for the 2010 Tour], I could faintly hear Donald Miller’s voice as if it were calling from a wheat field and directing me to build something. I believed the cause a worthy one. I had supported it for years. Unemployed, I didn’t have anything better to do and that didn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. I wanted to be an advocate but I waited for approval. Why? This was my ticket.
I was beckoned from a wheat field: Go!
You heard it here first. Don Miller isn’t just a great writer and speaker. He may also be the ghost of Shoeless Joe Jackson. Anyway, what are the specifics of the Tour?
On June 2nd, 15 of us depart from San Diego on a cross-country cycling expedition en route to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, where we will arrive 3,000 miles later on July 26th. Along the way, we will stop and share with churches and others about the need for clean water to combat and prevent disease in sub-Saharan Africa.
What was your response upon finding out your application had been accepted?
I expected not to be accepted. I was preparing myself for that. The interview went amazingly but I’ve learned that doesn’t always mean very much. They called back and asked a couple of clarifying questions. I was babbling explanations when I realized he (Josh Iniguez) wanted to speak. He said, “I’d like to invite you to be a part of the 2010 Ride:Well Southern Tour.” I was so surprised I answered dryly, “OK.” After hanging up the phone, I started laughing. It was a moment of great joy.
Were you a bike rider beforehand? What are you doing to prepare for the Tour?
Actually, no. People have said, “I didn’t know you were a cyclist.” I tell them, “I am becoming one.” Through the winter months, the stationary bike has been my best friend. I was doing 10 miles most days. Other days, I alternated between the treadmill and strength training exercises. I’m glad that it’s warming up now, I’ve been able to go out on the road everyday this week. By the end of March, I look to be doing 20 miles comfortably.
I’ve adjusted my diet a bit and have joined Fat Church…err…Weight Watchers. So far, in two weeks, I’ve lost eight pounds. They gave me a sticker!
Congratulations on your sticker. What are you looking forward to most about the experience?
It will be nice to see the country (I’ve never been west of Louisiana) and pushing my limits is a big plus, but the thing I am most anticipating is one which I have already gotten a taste for: watching as people recognize a need and then get pumped about meeting that need. That really changes the shape of a person’s life. It brings hope in.
What’s the scariest thing about it?
I’m afraid I’ll get hit by a car. That fear has been with me many years, which makes it pretty hilarious that I am going through with this.
It’s likely that I’ll get lost. I got lost on nearly every youth trip I ever went on. On one of my outings this week, I made a wrong turn and ended up 3 miles out of the way. Of course, GPS will be mandatory for me.
I am most concerned about how excessively I am going to miss my wife.
Where did the Pocket Guide to the Bible giveaway idea come from? (Thanks for that, by the way.)
Last summer, I won your “Name Your Own Toy-Based Movie” contest. My winning entry was, Chia: An Inconvenient Pet. My prize was a copy of Pocket Guide to the Bible. Upon receipt of it, I immediate
ly recognized its potential as both a gift and a handy resource.
This is my first foray into fundraising but I take my campaign very seriously. I aim to accumulate several thousand dollars above the required amount. My goals are huge, yet my resources are limited. So, I’m considering every option. I remembered that you had a garage full of Pocket Guide to the Bible. I believed that all variety of people would find this a worthy incentive to give.
How much do you still need to fund the trip?
$3,700, but $1,000 of that is a required donation to Blood:Water Mission. I am anxious to arrive at that point $2,700 dollars from now when trip expenses are covered and I can say, “Every dollar provides water for one African for one year.” I think people will be more enthusiastic about that. I know I will.
How can my readers help you reach your goal?
A $25 donation will get them an autographed copy of your Pocket Guide to the Bible and an entry to win 61 other books from my personal library. If I could sell all 124 copies, I’d be just short of the amount I need to raise.
Additionally, I am launching what I call the 1,000 Blogs Project. I have adapted the name from Blood:Water’s 1,000 Wells Project in which they have set out to build or restore a total of 1,000 wells. My project is simpler and slightly less ambitious. I want to get an outrageous number of bloggers to commit to raise $55 for Ride:Well Tour by way of their blogs before April 3rd, the last day of the 40 Days of Water Campaign. If 1,000 people did this, we could make up $55,000 for clean water.
Also, I will guest post about this wherever anyone will let me. I am eager to get the word out. Contact me if you are interested in either of these ideas. charles.livingston at gmail.com
Together we can build an army of people concerned about a crisis and moved to respond. It is dire, but it is not hopeless. Something can be done. Change can be effected.
Thank you, Chase. Best of luck in the fundraising and the eventual Tour. Now, go get on your bike.
Follow Chase on Twitter to keep up with his fundraising and, eventually, the progress of the Tour. If you want to help spread the word, get in touch with him and blog about it. And if you have a few spare bucks, give toward his campaign.