Missionaries on Motorcycles

Mandie Johnston

Have you ever come across a big, hairy, tattooed, mean-looking biker and turned the other way? What would you do if someone like this walked in to your church?


I trust you would do what the ladies in one of the churches in my circuit did with a friend of mine 5 years ago – surround him, offer him coffee and biscuits and not let him leave until you knew enough to pray for him!


That friend, Aje, is now my husband and we are both fully committed members of the Christian Motorcyclists’ Association (UK). The CMA is a home based missionary organisation which aims to be involved in every aspect of the biking world and so we welcome people from all walks of life. Altogether, there are 29 branches meeting throughout the United Kingdom. CMA (UK) is part of an international ministry with members in 18 countries including Australia, Philippines, South Africa & USA with more countries coming on board each year.


CMA members take the Gospel to many different people through many kinds of ministries including prison visits and youth work but our main aim is to reach motorcyclists for Christ. We can regularly be seen at bike shows, club rallies (parties), race meets and local hang outs. We run Holy Joe’s cafés, a place for alcohol-free refreshments at rallies, often open 24 hours, where as well as a strong coffee there is a willing ear to listen; we also give away tracts and a Biker Bible to anyone who wants to know more.


The other thing we do is visit churches and groups to help people understand and accept bikers. After all, consider the impact of a hurting biker hearing how much God loves him at a rally, plucking up the courage to go to a church, only to be eyed up and down by the congregation and at worse leaving having been spoken to by no one.


With this in mind, four members of the South West London Branch prepared to staff a stand at Easter People 2007 in Blackpool. Here is Aje’s account of why you should PUSH when you break down.


‘I committed my life to Christ 5 years ago at EP so to be allowed to have a stand at the last ever one with the CMA was an opportunity not to be missed. But would we be allowed to bring a motorcycle in to the Winter Gardens? After much convincing, a risk assessment and a long wait it was eventually agreed.


Plans were made - we had it sorted. Paul & Louise would bring the banners and tracts in their car and friends from the circuit agreed to help take some luggage. OK, so Mandie had a ‘bit of a bad back’ and her right leg was a ‘bit numb’ but she was still up for the 4-hour ride!


BANG!!!! Our BMW R1150RT dumped its clutch fluid on a way back from a bike show on Easter Sunday where we had been helping with the Holy Joe’s café. I panicked. Was it because I had been speaking to the Hells Angels about how Jesus had saved me? Was it because I was so proud of my new BMW? Was it because we did not have a Plan B for Mandie and her bad back? Was I under attack? What should I do? I prayed for a bike.


I made lots of calls but to no avail. Tuesday came and we left for Blackpool in our car, the journey was fine and Mandie was grateful for the comfort. God bless her she knew how important this was to me but I was being self-centered and single minded.


Once in Blackpool I phoned BMW UK and spoke to Customer Services, told them of my plight and asked if they could lend me a bike. They promised to call me back but our mobile phones needed recharging. We had both phones on charge and the stand set up but it felt incomplete without a bike.


I called BMW again, they said ‘sorry’ but they couldn’t get a show bike to us until the end of the week. BMW offered to contact a local dealer and said they would have a final answer by the end of business today. The end of the day came and went and no call was forthcoming.


That night before bed I remembered someone I had not called. He should have been first on my speed dial.


“Dear Lord, I have done it again. I have been too proud and loud to remember that you are in charge. Lord, you know my heart and you know that if it is your will I will do this without a bike. Who am I to argue, forgive me for not putting you at the centre of our witness and I hand this over to you.”


I continued to pray for my wife and the event organizers and eventually fell into a peaceful sleep.


At 8.55 the next morning (Wednesday) my phone rang. It was Roy Lyons from Southport Superbikes. Head office had called to say we needed a bike but he hadn’t been given the details. I explained the situation. “OK” said Roy, “if you can get here to Southport with your driving license, I have a bike you can borrow.” “Praise the Lord and God Bless you Roy, I will be there by noon.” I said.


Paul & I set off for Southport and Roy presented us with the keys to a brand new BMW K1200S and we were on our way back to Blackpool in no time. We had a truly blessed week, we were able to tell many people about CMA and we met a few bikers too.


So… the next time I break down or get stuck in one of those seemingly impossible situations I will try to remember to PUSH - Pray Until Something Happens and keep the Lord at the centre of all I do.’


As Christians we know there is little as exciting as riding a motorcycle, as bikers we have discovered that there is nothing as fulfilling as being a Christian.

Aje and Mandy Johnston are Chair and Secretary of the South West London Branch of CMA (UK),

Headline Summer 2007 pp.19-20.