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Bicycling for Blessings

Latter-day Saint Cyclist Serves People of Vanuatu

Layne Gneiting, a husband, father of 8, and a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is biking his way around the Pacific launching a campaign to bring 200+ donated bicycles this autumn to Vanuatu.

It is his way to improve the lives of many who are recovering from losses suffered during Cyclone Pam.

After hearing and seeing reports of the devastation to the island nation of Vanuatu, Layne was determined to do something to help the people who had lost so much. 

“Seeing homes snapped like toothpicks, and entire forests mowed down into twigs, I ached,” he said.

“Our big, beautiful world responded. Nations from afar flew in aid. Australians and New Zealanders showed up en masse to construct homes and clean the rubble.

"Still I wondered, ‘What can I do? How can I bring a measure of joy and freedom to people chained by disaster? What lasting value can I give?’” 

He continues: “That's when a crazy idea struck. Why not provide bicycles? It's one of the simplest things in the world: a human-powered machine that boosts health, cleans air, and lifts the soul."

From pencil and paper to action, Layne has begun his campaign to collect and donate bicycles to people in Vanuatu. 

Layne explained, “Still in its early stages, it will involve Boy Scouts, business leaders, friends and neighbours.  Our aim is 200+ used bicycles.  We're inviting leaders in neighbourhoods to collect just 5 bikes in their communities.”

Layne is beginning his adventure by running a two-week leadership course, by bicycle, through New Zealand.  Afterward, he will cycle through the islands of Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.

His plans also include efforts to build international relationships between students by visiting schools in Fiji, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu, and connecting them with Zaharis Elementary—a primary school located in Mesa, Arizona, USA—named “one of the coolest schools in America” by Scholastic Parent & Child Magazine.

Layne, who currently lives in the United States, describes himself as, “A die-hard cyclist, cultural explorer, storyteller and a Latter-day Saint.”  

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