2017 Blog

$60,227 for the Refuge for DMST

It's been about a month since our wheels touched ground in San Diego, California and we finished the trip that we spent months dreaming up, planning, and somehow turning into a reality. Since the finish line, Sara, Savannah and I have all had time to rest, get everything in order to submit the final donation number to The Refuge, dream up the future of Pedal the Pacific, as well as reflect on everything we learned while biking down the coast.

I learned some silly things like girl cows pee out of their butts, and that drug store purple hair dye sadly only lasts a few days. I learned that spending hours on end sitting on a bicycle leaves time for a whole lot of introspection and that I can live with far less than I give myself credit for (3 pairs of underwear, ahem). I learned to be more trusting of people - that life shouldn’t be lived out of the lens of questioning my neighbor’s every intentions, that my God never once said to love and to serve until I begin to feel unsafe. In fact, He demands quite the opposite.

But most importantly, I learned the power that lies within the dinky metal frame that makes up a bicycle. That underselling myself and growing numb to believing the lie that there’s someone out there who could do a better job than I could does no one any good. And once again, I learned in the power of saying yes - of simply going and doing.

Because now I am back in Austin Texas, sitting at a desk starting day 4 of my full time job with The Refuge for DMST. The last time I stepped foot on The Refuge Ranch it was simply a plot of land with nothing but trees, dirt, grass and wooden signs with the names and plans for the buildings that would one day take their place.

The Refuge Ranch,  February 2017
The Refuge Ranch,  February 2017

But now, slabs are being poured, foundations are being laid, roofs are being set and walls are being painted in the buildings that YOU helped build. Buildings that will soon provide hope and healing for child survivors of sex trafficking.

The Refuge Ranch, August 2017
The Refuge Ranch, August 2017

We rode our bikes, but it was you who came together and united as a community to help us accomplish our goal: to get The Refuge built. And as a Pedal the Pacific team (all hundreds of us) we all came together and raised a whopping $60,226 (IS THIS REAL LIFE?!) that will go towards building the stables for equine therapy as well as a “rumpus room." A room with no sharp objects or corners where they can yell and scream and cuss with no fear of judgment or injury. A safe space where they can physically release anger that might not be reached through one-on-one conversation. What an incredibly raw outlet for healing!

So thank you. Thank you for encouraging us as we took on the journey of our lives but more importantly, for being a part of it and believing in the mission of The Refuge with us.

August 7, 2022
Rachel Johnson

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