My Childhood Buddy Never Left Me

Two are better than one, because they have a good reward for their toil. – Ecclesiastes 4:9

By Raymond Sumaya, iBIKE Director

Ryan and I grew up in the same impoverished area of Metro Manila. We were best friends and playmates. I was seven years old and he was nine when we met. We loved to play and hang around the streets, like our students do today. We’ve been together for 25 years.

Ryan is one of the reasons I know Jesus and became Christian because he invited me to attend youth fellowship and church. At that time, I was a factory worker and he was a pedicab driver.

Over time, I strengthened and grew my relationship with Jesus. I started to volunteer in the kids ministry. By God’s grace He gave me the opportunity to lead the kids ministry in our church. I became a full-time worker serving as a Junior Pastor and Kids Ministry Director. Ryan was away in the province, but when he came back in 2013, he returned to his work as a pedicab driver.

At this time our contract on the building where we held our Day Care ministry expired. Sadly, we had no choice but to close because we did not have a building and the teachers left the ministry. It was so sad!

But God spoke to me. He gave me a passion and this vision for iBIKE: “If we don’t have a place, let’s bring the school to the community”. The problem was I didn’t have any resources and I was alone. Then I saw a pedicab that had a Bible verse at the back – Mark 10:14:

“But when Jesus saw it, he was indignant and said to them, “Let the children come to me; do not hinder them, for to such belongs the kingdom of God. “

That’s when the idea came to me – “Let’s use the pedicab”. I went and spoke with Ryan to share my vision. He said “Yes” and joined me in this vision.

God provided us with the resources we needed to start the pedicab school. We got materials and supplies and we pedaled to the community where we grew up. Ryan was the driver and I was the teacher. That was the start of our iBIKE journey.

The iBIKE acronym was based on I (self) and Bike (3-wheeled pedicab). The full name of this program is “I Believe in Kids Education”.

By God’s grace until now we remain buddies and continue to grow and strengthen our friendship. Ryan will be my best man in my wedding.

He’s a good friend. He never left me through many ups and downs. In season or out of season, we’ve stuck together. Ryan’s faithfulness has been a major reason iBIKE is still going strong and has a bright future. Enjoy the old photos from when we started building and testing our first iBIKE pedicabs, as well as a recent photo.

Editor’s note: Raymond’s story is a testament to how working together makes us stronger. Co-laborers help sustain us through the hard times and celebrate during the good times.

Today, iBIKE pedicabs have electric motors and use a flat screen TV as a teaching aid. Raymond has recruited numerous passionate volunteers who lead the kids in singing, Bible stories and foundational education learning. The iBIKE team also serves the kids nutritious meals and helps them advance in school. We see an exciting future for iBIKE.

Read more about Raymond and iBIKE here and check out this video.

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