Would you ride your bicycle across the entire continental United States to help save orphaned children in another country?
Arian Pasdar, 18, and Anahita Pasdar, 15, are brother and sister, and they both rode their bicycles across the US in 45 days to try to help bring five Chinese orphans to safety.
Their father, Renz, also joined the group as a cook and driver.
The teens, along with 23 other young Ride 2 Freedom cyclists, began their 3,000 mile trek in Los Angeles on June 1, 2015, and ended at the Washington Monument.
In Washington, D.C., the Ride2Freedom team participated in the annual Rally to Call for an End to the Persecution of Falun Gong on the west terrace lawn of the U.S. Capitol.
Ride2Freedom aims to bring world attention to those persecuted by the Chinese Communist Party for their spiritual belief in Falun Gong, also known as Falun Dafa.
According to a Ride2Freedom press release: In “China today, millions of children are being orphaned, tortured, hunted down, or even murdered because they or their family members practice Falun Dafa. This persecution has lasted over 15 years and is still happening.”
The Pasdars represent Austria, their homeland, and one of the 15 countries being represented.
Truthfulness, Compassion, Tolerance
Arian joined Ride2Freedom because he practices Falun Dafa, also known as Falun Gong. The practice requires its adherents to live by the principles of truthfulness, compassion, and tolerance.
Arian said that he can feel the power of Falun Dafa in his life, because it helps him improve his character.
“When my friends who don’t practice come to me, they realize, they see and they also can feel it is a different environment than in other houses. Everything is so calm. We are lucky, you know.”
He said that most of his friends look for this kind of fun and that kind of fun, but they don’t have peace in their hearts.
Arian has enjoyed meeting Americans: “The people are very, very nice. Yes, very nice people, good to talk to them because our mission is to talk to people and it is good to talk to these people. They like to hear, and they like to talk to you, and it is very easy to spread our word.”
Anahita is enjoying seeing America. “Kansas City is so beautiful. I like it because it is green.”
A side benefit of the trip is spending the summer with her family. “I like that they are with me, and I am happy that our whole family supports our project,” Anahita said.
Her father, Renz, had similar thoughts: “It’s a really good opportunity for me and my family to be in this project and trying to make a difference in the world and trying to end the persecution.
“I personally have lots of stories that show how blessed I am with Dafa, and I am also very happy that my children are also Dafa practitioners. A lot of people when they see my children, they say how good they are and I know if it wasn’t because of Dafa, they wouldn’t be this way.
“So I am very blessed to have my whole family practice Dafa and all of us being part of the project to create awareness about the persecution of Falun Gong in China,” he said.
After the group arrived in Washinton DC, part of the group planned to travel to the United Nations in New York, where the riders would assist in a diplomatic rescue of five Falun Dafa orphans from Beijing.
However, no one from the group was granted visas to go to China, so they could not fly to China to save the children.
Ride2Freedom is still working to rescue the orphans and is planning other events to raise awareness of the issue.