February 23, 2015

VANCOUVER – B.C. biker Fred Sawatzky said he rides to Mexico to convert other bikers to Christ every year.

"I go to their drug cartels, take Bibles in my suitcase, and hand them out," Sawatzky said at Missions Fest, an annual conference.

Sawatzky is one of 32 members of the Christian Motorcycle Association in the Fraser Valley.

"Sometimes it takes two to 10 years, especially with Hell's Angels," he said. "The first person took 10 years until he accepted Christ. Now he's leading his buddies and going to Bible school. Praise the Lord!"

A pastor from Arkansas started the group after attending a motorcycle rally and realizing many bikers hadn't heard the Gospel, explained Wayne Bertness, another member of the Christian biker group.

The group now has 116,000 members spread across the U.S., Canada and other countries, he said.

"We want to show people Christ's love, and hopefully point them to salvation," Bertness said.

Missions Fest drew tens of thousands of Christians to talk about missionary work and evangelization.

It featured exhibitor booths for 250 outreach programs, camps, colleges, and other groups Jan. 30-Feb. 1 at the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Organizers estimated 30,000 visitors participated in the three-day event. Among them were a handful of Catholics.

"The benefit of Missions Fest is, I think, a chance to build community," said musician Samuel Rocha, who performed at a praise session.

"It really offers itself to the local Christian community as a great chance for inter-church and inter-faith dialogue and fellowship."