As I sit here reflecting back on my first two months on the road I am still in total awe of what happened to me on almost a daily basis. Day after day I would get up, legs sore and aching, break down my campsite, and load my gear into my cart preparing for that days walk. After eating a quick breakfast, I would begin my walk along a section of America’s highways, praying and asking God not only for his protection that day, but that he would lead me to folks who could help me when I needed it, and that he would lead me to someone I could talk to about him that day. Without fail God was faithful to answer my prayers.
I think back on meeting Sheenna early on in my journey, of her kindness in letting me take a shower and for allowing me to camp in her backyard. I think of the dark storm clouds that filled the sky as I approached the town where she lived, Hoxie, Arkansas. I remember praying and asking God to protect me from the oncoming storm, because I was on the open road with no cover or protection in sight. I vividly remember that as I continued to walk the storm clouds split down the middle, and I walked into Hoxie with the sun shining on my face. I later found out storm warnings had filled the airways, warning everyone of the severity of the storm and the hail that was going to accompany it. That storm had split and gone around Hoxie on either side, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that God had delivered me from that storm.
I also think about all of the wonderful people in the state of Arkansas who on a daily basis stopped and offered me a helping hand in one form or another. I think of the folks in Hardy, and of the pleasant days I spent camping at their local park, and of all of the really nice folk I met while I was there. I remember walking into Missouri, and how the kindness continued as I walked through that beautiful state. I’m remembering the foreman of the road construction crew who not only gave me a ride in his air conditioned truck when I needed it the most, but also gave me his number and told me while I was in Missouri if I needed help to give him a call, and he would be there to help. I remember meeting Delbert Richardson and the incredible inspiration he was to me. I think about the Lung family, and what a blessing it was to meet and spend time with them. And I remember Rees Phipps of Avila, who was there to get me through one of the toughest days of my journey.
I also think of all of the incredibly kind folks who offered me food, cold drinks, and paid for my many meals. Of the folks who helped me find lodging for the night, or a place for me to pitch my tent. I remember the help I received from the folks in Willard, the wonderful little bicycle shop I found there, and how incredibly helpful its owners were. And about the folks at the bicycle shop in Webb City who installed a custom brake system on my cart, and the fire station staff who put me up for the night while I was there. As I think back on Kansas I think of all of the kindnesses I received in Baxter Springs, and as I moved down into Oklahoma about Al Ray and his dad who worked until late into the evening to repair my cart so I could continue with my journey. I think about Miami, Oklahoma, where I met Jim and Susan Knott, owners of Knott’s Grocery Store and of the kindness they showed me, and of Heather Pittman and her family who provided a night in a local hotel when I really needed it.
And who could have ever dreamed of what I walked into when I entered the community of Welch, Oklahoma. The kindness I experienced there defies description. A community full of wonderful, caring, and sharing folks who stand as a shining example to the rest of us. And from what I experienced there to the kind and caring folks in Chetopa and Edna Kansas, who fed me, fixed my cart, got me to a hospital, and got me on my feet again.
I especially think of all of the folks who have stopped and prayed with me along the way, and who continue to pray for me until this day. I think of my praying family, and of the encouragement they have been to me every step of the way. And I think of all of the ones who pray for me on a daily basis whom I haven’t even had the pleasure of meeting. I know they are many, and that God is answering their many prayers on my behalf.
What an amazing couple of months. I could never have imagined all that would happen to me as I began this incredible journey, and how radically my views of America and the people that live in it would change. This is America the Beautiful because of the all of the wonderful and caring people that live in it. Perhaps our news stations should spend more time highlighting all of the wonderful folks in this country and their incredible acts of kindness instead of continuously focusing on just the bad things that happen. I live and walk in the greatest country on earth!
And last but not least, thank you so much to all of those who have donated to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital. They are truly a fantastic hospital and research center, and their staff does amazing work with young cancer patients and their families on a daily basis. Thank you for giving, and helping them to continue with their incredibly important work.
In two weeks God willing I will continue my incredible journey across this wonderful country of ours. I look forward to meeting many new friends, and to building many new relationships. Please continue to pray that God will direct my paths, and protect me as I walk. Also pray that he will lead me to those I can be a blessing to, and to those I can be a witness to as well. Until then may God bless you and keep you in his mercy!
Always Onward I Walk,