Mission by Motorcycle: Cross-Continental Travel Connects Father-Son, Missionary-Ministries

 In All Church of God, CHOG, Global Strategy

By Carl Stagner

Distance, 12 thousand miles. Duration, 50 days. Mode of transportation, motorcycle. Norberto Kurrle, Church of God missionary to Paraguay and longtime biker, wouldn’t have it any other way. Particularly if his son Marcos would join him for such a unique experience of both geographic and spiritual significance, the opportunity would be one this adventurous dad simply couldn’t pass up. Connecting with ministers and ministries along the way, connecting with each other, and discovering God on a deeper level than ever before, the two embarked this year on an adventure of extraordinary proportions—from Florida to Paraguay.

How do you set off on a journey like that? Do you simply jump on a Harley and hope for the best? Certainly there had to be some purpose and planning, but much of the trip was a walk—a ride, rather—of faith. Through relationships established in the Church of God and connections made possible by the Christian Motorcyclists Association, the network of support the Spirit could activate and operate for a successful intercontinental experience was in place. But Norberto Kurrle’s two-wheeled tendencies aren’t anything new.

“The idea for this trip came about when I was given a Harley Davidson by a friend of the Church of God in St. Joseph, Michigan,” Norberto explains. “The second motorcycle was donated by a family that’s supporting us in ministry. I have been praying for a motorcycle for a long time, and have given away close to a hundred motorcycles in Paraguay to pastors and leaders across denominations. It’s been such a blessing to see motorcycles going to leaders around the country who are fulfilling the Great Commission.”

Norberto and Marcos

Over the past decade, Norberto and his son Marcos have been dealt serious losses. Marcos, himself, lost his birth-father at age eleven; his father “meant the world to him.” Three years later Norberto came into the picture. When Marcos was fifteen, Norberto married his mother Nancy (after having lost his own wife Julie in 2012). For Marcos, having recently completed university and preparing to move into the workforce, as well as planning to marry, the chance to do some cross-country travel—fifteen countries, to be exact—was especially appealing to him and his father. Prior to the trip, Norberto reflected, “This might be the last trip with Marcos as a single man!”

“I lost my son Timothy in an automobile accident back in 2012,” Norberto recollects. “Timothy would have been eighteen now. I could see myself going on a trip with him, but that is not possible. So, I believed this trip with Marcos would bring a layer of healing for both of us.”

Along the way, Norberto and Marcos were sure to meet brothers and sisters in the family of God. Greeting, surveying, and encouraging local ministers and ministries along the route was a given. The possibility of establishing and strengthening relationships was also in view from the start. By speaking in churches on weekends wherever the doors of opportunity would open to them, and by distributing evangelistic material—not to mention attending a youth conference in Guatemala—Norberto and Marcos would find themselves not only enriching the lives of others, but also themselves. Going deeper in their faith was not a byproduct of the trip, but a predetermined and practical purpose.

“Often stepping away gives us perspective to hear from God in a new way,” Norberto reflects. “Being on lonely roads, just hearing the motorcycle and the wind, can become a very spiritual one-on-one experience with the Lord. We all need seasons of refreshment.”

Angel working on Norberto’s motorcycle.

Along the way, many unplanned providential developments reminded the pair that the Lord’s plans supersede all others. Signs of the hands of the Lord upon Norberto and Marcos were observed with remarkable frequency.

One such sign caught their attention on Day 29, when water and dirt clogged their carburetor. Note how Norberto says the events unfolded:

“We find a mechanic after Mark tows me for about three miles with a homemade rope. We find a small shop. The car mechanic says he is open to checking the Harley. After two hours we finish the job. When I ask him how much, he says Vaya con Dios (Go with God). He is a Christian. This morning, during his breakfast, he had asked God to be a blessing. When I arrived, he told me he right away felt it was the moment to bless. I could not believe it. Before leaving, I asked his name. He responded Angel. What? Yes, Angel, he replied. I remembered a prayer at the beginning of this crazy trip. It was about angels, and how God would provide his help on this trip through his people along the Pan-American Highway. I rode away with tears in my eyes. God is faithful. I was blessed and served by Angel today.”

God also provided for the Kurrle excursion with funds people had donated above budgeted mission dollars. At a crossing called the Darién Gap, additional funding was needed to keep going, but a few individuals stepped up to bridge that gap. Every expense for the special motorcycle trip was paid for without having to tap into the monthly budget.

So, what will Norberto remember most vividly about this trip of a lifetime? “The time spent with my son, God’s beautiful world, and being thankful for what I have.”

Learn more about the ministry of Norberto and Nancy Kurrle, and discover opportunities to get involved, at https://chogglobal.org/team/nkurrle/.

Feature (top) photo: Prayer over Norberto and Marcos before departure on Day 1 of their trip.

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