What an amazing week! So much has happened I hardly know where to start. After leaving Carthage I began my walk to Webb City but was unexpectedly delayed after experiencing boot failure and foot pain. I stopped at an RV park on Old Route 66 called Camp Mi Casa where Stephanie, the owner, let me stay several nights without charge to allow my feet to begin healing and to get some new boots overnighted in. If you are ever near Carthage and are looking for a great RV park Camp Mi Casa is definitely the place to go. You’ll not only enjoy a great RV park, you’ll also find Stephanie and her husband to be incredibly kind and helpful owners.
After walking to Webb City and eating an early lunch at McDonald’s I turned a corner and found a local bicycle shop call Bicycle Specialists LLC. I had been needing to get brakes put on my cart for the longest time, and I stopped in to see if getting them installed would be possible. The owners, Mr. and Mrs Johnson, were incredibly kind and understanding, and said if it were possible to do they would find a way to do it. The two of them and a creative young man that works with them took hours designing and installing a brake system that would work with my cart, and I now have a custom designed brake system thanks to these awesome people. They did not charge me for all of the hours of labor they put in, and I am so greatful for the wonderful job they all did! Walking downhill has been so much easier, so thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
Not only did they provide me with a great brake system, they also arranged for me to spend the night at the Webb City Fire Station located directly behind them. The station chief was very kind and helpful, and even let me do my laundry while I was there. Then the next morning, while eating breakfast, I met a gentleman that had been at a weekly bible study who offered me a ride through town. I thanked him but declined the offer, and began my walk through town. Almost immediately I regretted declining his offer of a ride. Morning traffic was incredibly heavy, and walking space was almost non existent. I had once again stopped at a convenience store to reconsider my options when he reappeared and made his offer again, telling me he had lived in the area for years and me walking through the rest of town was just not a good idea. This time I greatfully accepted his offer, and he gave me and my cart a ride safely out of town.
My travels through Missouri were absolutely amazing, and I left the state with a huge amount of gratitude for all of the people who had been so kind to me along the way. Little did I know as I arrived in Baxter Springs, Kansas, that all of the amazing kindnesses I had previously experienced along the way were going to continue to happen over and over. I enjoyed a tasty root beer float at a local pharmacy, talked with a local reporter from the town paper, and toured a fantastic local museum where a wonderful lady arranged for me to attend a Fourth of July parade in a small town I would be traveling through later because I told her that was something I had always wanted to experience. She then spent several hours with me discussing the history of Baxter Springs and the surrounding area, and arranged for me to spend the night at a local park. After eating dinner, I changed my mind about spending the night in town and decided to walk while it was cool to Quapaw, Oklahoma, about five miles away.
It was late by the time I arrived sore and exhausted at the only convenience store in town. There I met the owner Al Ray, who arranged for me to pitch my tent next to his store for the night. As I was leaving I noticed that something just did not look right with my cart, and upon closer inspection I found a break in one of the key components of my frame. Al noticed me inspecting my cart frame and asked what was wrong. I showed him the break, and he mentioned it to his dad who happened to be in the store at the time. His dad said he had a shop across the street where he could fix my cart, and the two of them worked late into the evening to get it repaired for me. I realized then why I had felt such a need to leave Baxter Springs and get to Quapaw before dark. God had led me to exactly the right place to meet exactly the right people who at exactly the right time could and would repair my cart for me. Once again God had provided for me at exactly my time of need in the most amazing way!
Al provided breakfast for me before I left the next morning, and I continued my walk to Miami, Oklahoma. A while later I received a text from his wife Tabatha, who asked if I would like to attend church with them on Fathers Day. Unfortunately I was unable to attend, but I so appreciate their offer and their williness to help me in my time of need. Al, Tabatha and Mr. Ray, thank you so very, very much for everything you did! I’m not sure what I would have done without you.
Upon arriving in Miami I walked to the local park, where I spent the night camping with a large group of bicyclist who were attending a function there. The next morning I visited a small local grocery store called Nott’s Grocery and Deli where the blessings were only going to continue. After inquiring as to what I was doing, Jim and Susan Knott, the owners, not only provided the groceries I needed at no charge, they also provided a large amount of deli meats for me to enjoy during the day. Once again the Lord had provided for my needs! Jim and Susan, thank you so much for your incredible kindness, it really meant so much to me!
But wait, there’s more. While in the store a lady by the name of Heather Pittman overheard our conversation, and outside of the store stopped me and asked if I would like to spend the day in a hotel instead of camping in the park again. This incredibly thoughtful and kind lady and her husband Dustin came back a couple of hours later and picked me up, gave me and my cart a ride to a local hotel, paid for my room and provided a taco salad for me to eat as well. I realized yet once again that God had provided in my time of need in the most amazing way, especially once Heather told me what all had transpired that morning that had caused her to be at the store at exactly the right time. Not only did I spend a wonderful day in an air conditioned room, I was also able to get a much needed shower and do my laundry too. Dustin and Heather, know that your kindness to me will never be forgotten, and that you contributed in a large way as I continue with this amazing journey. Thank you so, so much!
My plan right now is to traverse back and forth between Oklahoma and Kansas before eventually heading towards the town of Blackwell, where I hope to attend the Fourth of July parade. Please continue to pray for me as I travel through Oklahoma and Kansas and on towards Texas. God is answering your prayers, and has continued to provide for me every step of the way. For all of you that are praying for me daily, thank you so, so much, and as always I will provide an update as soon as I can.
Always Onward I Walk,