A New York-based pastor has made a vow to bike thousands of miles – from Maine to California – to raise money for a women and children's hospital in Mali.
"The Republic of Mali is considered one of the most difficult places in the world for mothers and babies," said Bruce Overstreet, pastor of North Country Alliance Church in Plattsburgh, N.Y., in a statement.
Overstreet explained that while one out of every four children in Mali die before reaching the age of five, and one out of out every ten women die in childbirth, The Christian and Missionary Alliance (C&MA)'s Koutiala Hospital for Women and Children in Mali has been saving innumerable lives.
"This is changing thanks in great part to the Koutiala Hospital," he said.
In addition to providing much needed medical treatment in the poor West African nation, the hospital has also helped spread the Gospel through the tireless demonstrations of compassion by staff. Many patients have become followers of the Lord after witnessing firsthand the love of Christ.
Overstreet hopes that his long bicycle trek will raise as much as $1 million for the hospital through donations from sponsors.
"It is my desire that the medical ministries in Mali be able to grow as necessary, financially unhindered," he said.
"Whether you pledge a penny, a dollar, or any other amount, you have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of many women and children throughout Mali," he explained.
Overstreet predicts that it will take him about 10 weeks to complete his cross-country journey.
The bicycle trek will begin on June 2, 2008.