Platinum-selling Christian singer/songwriter Mark Schultz concluded his 3,500 mile "Across America" bike tour over the weekend, raising $250,000 in charity for in-need widows and orphans.
The coast-to-coast bike tour wrapped up at the Atlantic Ocean in Portsmouth, N.H., on Friday with Schultz hitting his mark in exactly two months and finishing the tour before his goal of 07-07-07. Everything was wrapped up on Sunday with a final concert held in Bangor, Maine.
"Man, this day kind of ended up like the rest of the trip," reflected the Dove Award-winning singer in his video blog upon completion of the trip. "Just kind of all over the place, but it was worth it. I had a lot of fun."
Schultz began the Across America charity tour on May 7, starting with his bike tire with a dip in the Pacific Ocean at Newport Beach, Calif. In a similar fashion, the artist finished up his trek by taking a plunge into the Atlantic.
The purpose of the physically challenging ride was to raise money for the event's sponsor, the James Fund – a non-profit organization founded by Family Christian Stores to meet the needs of orphans and widows in distress. The Christian artist felt compelled to help after a missions trip to Mexico in the spring of 2006 where he witnessed firsthand the hardships that these people faced. Schultz, too, was an orphan.
"I want to thank the James Fund for this opportunity to do this ride for the widows and orphans. I want to thank all the sponsors that made this possible," said the worship singer on his video journal. "As you watch this video later on and get to see the sponsors in the next couple of days, I hope you'll give them your time and attention and support them as much as they supported me."
Along his trip, he raised much for the ministry through fundraising and also stopped to perform 13 live concerts with proceeds to help the charitable organization. Much of the music came from his latest hit album, Beautiful and Broken.
The Christian artist feels that he has learned a lot from the grueling bike ride and will take much from his experience. He says he is now a much stronger person.
Throughout the ride, his mindset changed, the music artist said, including his prayers. He expressed how his original prayer was for easy days, to avoid mountains and the wind in his face. Eventually, he came to know a better prayer for "strength and endurance."
According to an Associated Press interview, the best memories he will take away from the trip will be the people that he met throughout his journey. This includes fans who joined him while biking and gave advice to help him through the rest of the trip, residents in a city devastated by an F5 tornado, and orphans from his hometown adoption agency in Kansas.
The biking singer also outlasted his tour bus, which ended its trip in the mechanic shop.