Luke Rice walked everywhere.
Whether it was to or from work, church or the grocery store, Rice did all of his errands by foot around Elizabethtown.
“I had no mode of transportation,” said Rice, 21.
Rice now rides a bike everywhere after members of the security team at Southeast Christian Church’s Elizabethtown Campus decided to pitch in and buy Rice a new black-and-gray Trek bike.
Xander Rice, 23, serves on the security team.
“It’s kind of funny how God works,” he said. “Luke was originally a sort of security risk. He comes in and has all sorts of stuff in his backpack. He’s acting really suspicious. All of us on the security team were watching him. We said, ‘Oh, we need to check his bag.’ I went over to talk with him, and we started sharing our favorite Scriptures. He told me he had been in touch with Pastor Michael Kast.”
From that simple and friendly conversation, Xander Rice learned that Rice used his legs, a lot.
“Through talking to Luke, I found out he walked to church and everywhere,” he added. “I was like, ‘That’s a ton of miles.’ I told the rest of the security team and someone suggested, ‘Why don’t we get him a bike and a bike lock?’ So eventually we all chipped in. When we were giving him the bike, it was funny again. We walked Luke back into the security area and told him he wasn’t in trouble or anything, but he was still nervous until we gave it to him.”
To say the least, Rice was taken by surprise.
“Words don’t describe what I felt when they gave me a bike,” Rice said. “It was the biggest gift I’ve ever received from anyone and in particular from a church. I felt elated about it to the point I was at a loss of words. It’s not every day a church does something like that, but it’s about the little things.”
Rice isn’t too quick to dismiss walking altogether, but he doesn’t necessarily miss it either. He rides his bike to church and to his job at Save A Lot.
“It’s great,” Rice added. “I ride it everywhere I go. They say, ‘Walking is good for the soul,’ but biking is faster.”
As 35th President John F. Kennedy once said, “Nothing compares to the simple pleasure of riding a bike.”
Rice moved to Elizabethtown in February.
He grew up in Paducah and spent some time in Ashland, Kentucky.
“I moved to Elizabethtown for a fresh start,” he said.
Rice, who grew up a Christian, didn’t know anyone in Elizabethtown, but his apartment was barely a half a mile from the Elizabethtown Campus.
“I was looking for a church to go to on a regular basis, and it was the closest one to where I live,” Rice said. “I got connected with Pastor Michael Kast, and we quickly became friends. I shared my story with him.”
A few times a week, Rice makes the trip to Southeast on his new bike.
“Southeast has meant everything to me,” Rice added. “I’ve met dozens of fantastic people with great personalities. This church is really family-oriented, which I love. I grew up going to church, but I’ve never gone to church on my own before, and it’s the first one to invite you in with open arms.”
Rice attends both Sunday morning services and Man Challenge and Encounter during the week. He also served in the Kids Zone at the BBQ Blues & Bikes Festival.
“I’ve noticed he really has a heart to serve,” Xander Rice added. “At the BBQ Blues & Bikes Festival, he was there all day and helped set up. I mean no one helps set up. I had the last shift, and he was still there helping out. He’s so freshly involved in the church and is all-in with everything.”