Below is an edited transcription of staff member Zach Malech’s reflection on his first Agony Ride experience, shared during the Agony Ride Sunday Service.
When I started here in March I remember coming up for lunch and hearing words floating around, people talking. What I had gathered from the situation was that a student had had a meltdown and had locked herself in the bathroom. Powered down, imprisoned herself in the bathroom. One of our staff members picked up a chair and a good book and sat down right by the bathroom door. I remember watching that unfold my first week at the Ranch. It was so basic, so simple. But it was powerful to me and what I got to witness in this relentless pursuit.
I was talking with this student later as she was about to leave the Ranch. The message in her heart was clear when she locked herself in the bathroom; this was a common occurrence for her. But her previous experience was that whoever she was with at the time would just leave her there.
When she found someone sitting on a chair waiting for her, she thought, “Someone would take the time and wait there for me? I must have some value.”
As you fight with your blood, sweat, and tears for funds that make healing possible for these students, you send that message: “You’re worth it. You have value.” It was then I began to learn what the Agony Ride is about.
During the Ride, I remember when I walked up to the first station, and I saw community. I saw everybody had their place. Everybody had a purpose. Everybody had belonging. And I thought, my God, this is the community that is the antidote for this epidemic of isolation we see in the world.
Then we went to another SAG station. And I saw a sagger serving and making breakfast and taking off the helmet of another rider. And I thought, my God, this is the servanthood that will cure this plague of pride and selfishness in our world.
Then we came to the next one. I walked upstairs and there was a rider on the ground. I thought, my God, that is sacrificial love. And that will change the world.
And then it hit me. Instead of being in the Valley, we had 21 pockets of incredible community spread out amongst other communities. In the midst of a pandemic.
Your ability to make such a drastic pivot in the final moments leading up to the event display to me that you guys are not sold out for the Ride - you are sold out for what the Agony Ride stands for.
You were relentless to fight for second chances. And you refused to let earthly circumstances get in the way of your Kingdom work. That is a body of Christ that is resilient. That is a community and church that will not be stopped when times change and get tricky. This is a community that will change the world.