Bicycle missionary Hans Myors recently celebrated his 20th anniversary of his bicycle ministry. (Decorah Newspapers photo by Lissa Blake)
Small things done with great love will change the world.
That's the mantra which keeps German native Hans Myors peddling, as he travels the United States on his recumbent bicycle, spreading God's word.
In March, Myors celebrated the 20th anniversary of his bicycle ministry. He has traveled more than 221,000 miles and more than 1 billion revolutions of his pedals - and counting.
Myors passed through Decorah recently to visit with Pastor Dave Sorenson at Decorah Lutheran Church, who he had met on a trip to Wisconsin 14 years ago.
A difficult journey
An affable fellow, Myors sports an interesting accent: part German, part Cajun. Plus he shared that he is hearing impaired.
While he approaches his unique vocation with a song in his heart and a big smile on his face, he is definitely no stranger to heartache.
Growing up in Germany and raised in a Jewish home, Myors' family encouraged him from a young age to become a rabbi.
"After high school, I even attended rabbinical school. I tried it for 18 months, then decided to go to college instead. There wasn't anything left for me on that journey," said Myors referring to Judaism.
As Hannukah 1975 approached, Myors said he came across something that changed his life forever: a copy of the New Testament.
"I picked it up and started reading it, and it just spoke to me," he said.
But when Myors announced his newfound Christianity to his family, they were completely devastated.
"My parents were both Holocaust survivors. They just couldn't abide by that decision and had a funeral for me in 1976. There is actually a tombstone with my name on it in Germany. I have three siblings and I have had no contact with any of my family in 37 years," he said.
After graduating from college with degrees in education and computer science, Myors decided to return to the United States, where he had previously spent a year in Ohio as a high school foreign exchange student.
He worked as a case worker in Portland, Ore., which he found fulfilling, but always felt he should be doing even more to help people.
An avid bicyclist, Myors had been doing occasional bicycle touring on and off since he arrived in the states. Then one week, he experienced a series of dreams he could not ignore.
"Three nights in a row, I had a dream about being back on the road on a bicycle. The fourth night, I clearly heard the word, "Go" in my dream. Four days later I was on the road," he said, adding he interpreted the dreams as a directive from God.
Winter was approaching and Myors headed south. When he got as far as Santa Monica, Calif., he was mugged and lost his wallet and ATM card.
"At that point, I turned the trip over to Him," said Myors.
"He allowed my ATM card to be stolen and I've been out doing His work ever since," said Myors, adding he was bikejacked a second time in Philadelphia, Penn. in 1998.
"I had a concussion that time. They beat me real good, he said.
Another time, he was hit and his bike was destroyed in the French Quarter in New Orleans, La.
"This bike, a short-wheel base, touring recumbent, is my seventh bicycle," he said.
What he does
Now 56 and an ordained Christian minister, Myors has already put in 4,300 miles this year, traveling from town to town.
"My goal is to share God's compassion around the country. I pray and I speak at churches. This is my 34th mission trip," he said, adding he also works closely with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and Fuller Center for Housing, based in Americus, Ga.
"I've helped build 67 homes," he said.
His mailing address is Shreveport, La., but he travels six to 12 months out of the year.
When asked if he has ever considered settling down or finding a life partner, Myors answered, "If God would have wanted me to have a wife, he would have provided me one on wheels years ago."
The only traveling companion he has ever had, was a hamster, Schroeder, which can be seen on his website, peddalprayers.org.
Myors said rather than encouraging people to take elaborate trips to foreign countries in the name of mission work, he encourages them to turn to their own communities, which he called "the internal, social stuff."
"I like to promote local social ministries, trying to get people to think about compassion and living out their faith through helping at food closets, coat closets, etc." he said.
Myors said while he never asks for anything, he always has enough.
People frequently offer him money in appreciation for his ministry.
"I call that a 'green handshake.' And when I find loose change on the side of the road, I call that 'road manna,'" he said.
And although he's had his share of muggings and mishaps, he said most places he goes, people are wonderful to him.
"They help me with bicycle repairs, food and hotels to keep me on the road. But not one penny has been asked for," he said.
Myors also keeps a journal, which he posts regularly on his website. The website also features a detailed map of his travels.
When thinking about his future, he said he tries not to set any perameters.
"It's about surrendering yourself to God. People just give God lipservice. The problem is, people are attempting to put God in their own box, they should be putting themselves in God's box," he said.
For more information, or to contact Myors, visit pedalprayers.org.