As the Ebola outbreak spreads across West Africa, one Pi Kappa Phi alumnus from Northwestern State University is making it his mission to bring relief to volunteers serving in the hardest-hit areas.
Collin McKnight, a youth pastor in Wichita Falls, Texas and alumnus of the Beta Omicron Chapter of Pi Kappa Phi, completed a 550-mile bike ride through Texas, to call attention to the crisis and those ministering to victims.
The trek, STL 550, raises money and awareness for Speed the Light, a non-profit organization which provides transportation needs for missionary families in 180 countries around the world. The team of 19 youth pastors from North Texas made the ride September 26th through October 4th, cycling about 60 miles each day from Maypearl to Longview, Texas.
McKnight completed the bike tour with two missionaries on his mind and in his heart. Through Heritage Church’s ‘Collide’ youth ministry, he was inspired to raise support for the Browns, who have been serving in Africa for the last decade. The family has been involved in preaching, construction, and training in Namibia, Malawi, and Liberia. After years of war and now the Ebola outbreak, more than 250,000 people have been killed or displaced. “The recovery is a slow process, but the Church is rising with a voice of hope, and the power of the Holy Spirit,” he said.
With each participant raising more than $1,000, McKnight hopes to inspire the student in his ministry to set their own goals to benefit Speed the Light. Their fundraising will help the Browns pay off the note for their ministry vehicle, used to travel throughout West Africa. “This will allow them to get back to Liberia faster, relieve them of the added monthly financial burden, and help them reach more people,” he said. Since 1944, Speed the Light has raised over $253 million for missionary equipment around the world.
This isn’t McKnight’s first long-distance trek with a mission. In 2008, he cycled more than three-thousand miles to raise awareness and funding for programs that benefit people with disabilities through Pi Kappa Phi’s philanthropy, The Ability Experience (formerly Push America). Over six weeks, Collin pedaled from San Francisco to Washington, DC as part of the Journey of Hope, raising more than $5,000 to participate.