Then, last December, tragedy struck - church member Dylan First, 17, was killed while riding at a retreat in Georgia for motocross ministry leaders.
It was a devastating loss, not only for Dylan's family - mother Patty, father Tony, sister Kristin and brother Matthew - but also for his church.
Dylan "was without a doubt the model young man for any ministry," recalled Ronnie Caswell, pastor of Forestpark Community Church, a Southern Baptist congregation that has long partnered with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes Motocross ministry.
"He was an unbelievable servant, 4.0 kid, scholarship at U of L waiting on him, and he had been a part of the FCA ministry for years," Caswell said. "And a heck of a rider in addition to all that."
Since then, all who knew him soon concluded that Dylan would want the motocross ministry to continue. They have continued holding camps that mix motocross lessons with Bible studies, and they attend races, offering everything from chapel services to bike repairs.
Matthew, Dylan's brother, took part in these events - to a point. "I wanted to be involved with people and do the same thing, but as far as my own riding, I just put it aside," said Matthew, 21.
But in late September, on a dirt racetrack in Honduras, Matthew First, 21, donned his younger brother's burnt-orange-and-white jersey bearing the bold numbers 316 - representing the Bible verse John 3:16: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son."
Then he took a solo lap along the winding dirt racetrack in tribute to his brother as a minister spoke to a crowd through a translator, recounting Dylan's friendliness, love of motorbiking and deep Christian faith.
"That was a good start to get out there and get back on a bike," Matthew recalled.
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