"I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, Clear the way for the LORD's coming!'"

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Thursday, August 26, 2010

Cairo? Yes we are back in Cairo!

So before we left on this journey, about 6 months before, I had gone to church early to pray before anyone got there. Jeff was out of town that weekend. As I was praying I felt God saying in my spirit that someone was going to be going with us. So later that evening I called Jeff to tell him and he said he already knew. I said, "what do you mean you already know?!" He said God had told him 2 weeks ago and would not let him tell me. So since January we have been expecting a joiner on our trip. Since the second day in WV we have been talking to a young woman named Eva, on the telephone. We found out about Eva because she had sought us out on facebook. She had found us on the ADT website. She was looking for someone with whom she could walk the trail so she would not have to go alone. As soon as she messaged us I felt that she may have been this long awaited person. We gave her our phone # and we began to talk to her about the trail and possibly walking with us and tips on gear and such. After the first time we talked to her we really felt that she was the one. It seemed we talked to her around two or three times a week. In the middle of the month she found a young man who was starting the trail at the trail head in Delaware on September 1st. Then we got a little sad because we really thought she would be coming with us. So we just stayed in contact with her so we could continue to give her advice about the trail and we were developing a bit of a friendship with her. Tuesday afternoon when we got to Parkersburg we got a message from Eva. She sounded concerned and was a bit confused because she had gone home to her parents house and they were not keen on her going with the young man she was planning to go with but were more comfortable with her walking with us. So we called her as soon as we could and told her our offer still remained that she was more than welcome to join us. So she talked to her parents and called us back and said she would change her bus ticket and would now be joining us. Jeff and I were so exited that we could hardly stand it. We were about to just jump out of our skin we were so thrilled. That night we camped at Fairlawn Baptist Church where Dr. Benson, the man who we stayed with in Cairo, had arranged for us to stay. We called Dr. Benson to tell him the exiting news and he said we were more than welcome to come back to Cairo and stay a few more days. So now we are here and anxiously waiting the arrival of Eva on Sunday evening at 10:55 p.m. in Parkersburg. However we are meeting with two more divine appointments this weekend while here, and the Benson's are pretty awesome to hang out with. So I am sure we will not be too anxious seeing that our time will be well occupied!!


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

West Union to Cairo WV

Cairo, WV

We spent two nights in West Union with Paul and Sharon. They are a lovely couple that are what long distance hikers like to call "trail angels". They take in ADT hikers and feed them yummy homemade food and give them a nice bed to sleep in. Paul and Sharon have taken in over 30 hikers over the last few years. They see it as their ministry to help people in that way. I know we greatly appreciated getting out of the heat for a couple days. The fact that Sharon was a fabulous cook did not hurt either! The day Sharon picked us up we only did about 4 or 5 miles and thought well if she is going to pick us up we will just sit here and wait on her. She picked us up around 3 on wednesday and took us back to her house and we met her husband Paul, "Tall Paul". When he introduced himself I had to look way up at him and I said nice to meet you, you're tall!! He said thanks, you're young! Haha! Sharon showed us to our room and when we got there I saw a bunch of stuffed kitty cats on the bed. She said she read how I Love KITTIES and that was all the kitties she had! I thought that was adorable and so thoughtful. That night for dinner we had roasted pork tenderloin, green beans, sweet potato caserole, mashed taters and gravy, homemade biscuits, handmade apple sauce, and salad. It was quite a feast! After dinner we went to the Doddridge County Fair to watch the talent show. It was very American!! Everything you would expect from a county fair! The next morning Sharon dropped us off on the trail to walk and she was going to pick us up 10 miles down the road. However as Jeff and I were walking through the town of West Union we thought it was a cute little old town and we wanted to check out some of the old buildings and houses, as well as finish typing our blog. Also, perhaps we would get a chance to minister to someone. So we got off the trail and roamed around town a while. After seeing the town and stocking up on food at the grocery store we walked down the trail a litle ways so we could walk through one of the tunnels. Sharon called shortly after and I told her she was not going to have to drive very far because we had just left West Union. We spent another evening with Paul and Sharon having dinner, telling some of our experiences and going to the fair again. It was fun and the bed was such a blessing! The next morning Sharon took us a few miles down the trail and we started walking. It was not the best morning for me because my womanhood had come for it's monthly haunting and was really hurting. We walked about 3 or 4 miles while I was crying and moaning and then Jeff said, "hunny, we don't have to walk." I was just thinking that not walking was not going to keep it from hurting so why stop. However as I thought a little bit more, stopping sounded great and so we got out the footprint to the tent and I fell down. I had a salon-pas hot patch and asked Jeff to put it on my lower back hoping it would help with the pain. I fell asleep for a while and woke up with my back on fire because of the main ingredient in the patch, capsicum extract, which I later found out is cayenne pepper. Wow was it hot! My pain was nearly gone though, so I highly recommend it to anyone with aches and pain. It can be found in most drugstores and is only a couple dollars. Feeling well now,we walked a few more miles. We got a couple miles outside of Pennsboro and put our tent up in a wide spot on the rail trail. The next day we actually did 10 miles for the first time in a long time. We made in all the way to a quaint little town called Cairo, WV. When we got to town we saw a bike shop with a huge ADT marker on it so we went in to meet the woman who owned the shop. Turns out she is the West Virginia Coordinator for the American Discovery Trail and she said she did not know about us. I guess they have not put us on the main page of the ADT website yet. She said she would put us up there and she gave us some ADT stickers and rail trail medallions. I thought I saw something on her sign about icecream and she said we should go across the street to "The Scoop" for icecream. So we took her advice and headed that way.
We got there and were greeted by the nice gentleman who owned the shop, Mr. Benson, and his 12 year old son, mr. Benson. We told him what we were doing and he said he would definitely check out our blog. He asked if we would like to eat some breakfast in the morning. We said sure. He gave us his card and told us he was a minister of the celtic apostalic church. At that point he had peaked my interest a little more so I was very exited about meeting with him and his wife the next morning. We told them to stop my our humble abode that evening if they could. Cairo had a nice little covered picnic area to pop our tent under and it was right in front of The Benson's house. Jeff and I got in the tent pretty early because it was raining and there was not much in Cairo to look at. We decided to read the book of Galatians and then started on James when we heard a loud drone and then a merry little irish tune being played on bagpipes. We knew it had to be the Benson's and we climbed out of the tent to see. It was their middle son Noble playing away. When he finished we clapped and yelled encore so he played us another. In a little while longer we saw Mr. and Mrs. Benson walking our way. We all sat at the picnic table and got to know each other a little bit and got a little history lesson from Mr. Benson, well actually he is Dr. Benson and he is quite the historian. So after talking and the Benson's maybe dedcided we we not creepy serial killers, he said maybe we should just meet for breakfast at the shop, and then we could have a bible study. We thought that was a grand idea so we agreed on a time and had a goddnight prayer and went to bed. I did not sleep a wink though because after the rain in was humid and muggy out and I had a couple days layers of sweat and grime on me. However when I finally got out of bed in the morning I felt good and energized and ready for our fellowship with the Benson's. We headed to the Scoop and helped with putting out all the chairs and tables and sat around while Mrs. Benson made breakfast. She is actually a chef so she did not need much help. I got the impression that she was a professional so I went out front and sipped coffee while she cooked away. While talking over a delicious breakfast I mentioned to the Benson's that I had a knot in my kneck and an occasional pain in my lower back and how I had been praying for a chiropracter to cross paths with us. He said well, we go see a wonderful chiropracter on Tuesday evening and he is in Parkerburg. So he proposed that we stay in Cairo for a couple days and sleep over at their friend's house who have more room for guests and they would drive us to Parkersburg on tuesdays and also hook us up with a church in town at which we could camp. Once again God has answered my prayers. Oh how he loves us so! I am so grateful for his love even though we do not deserve it.
So we have been here in Cairo for 3 nights and 2 days and have thouroughly enjoyed our time so far. We got a chance to share our testimony with both the families we have been with. They both said it has come at a perfect time because they too are experiencing a time in their life where their faith is really being strengthened but gets hard at times. Both families moved here because the holy spirit led them here and they feel very isolated because there are not many here who are following the way of Christ. It is neat to see that God has moved two mature Christian families to this little town of 200 people in West Virginia. It will be great to check back in a few months and see what God has done with them in this town. They have both been such a wonderful blessing to us as well. Jeff and I have had some nice talks with both families and have had some good time for reflecting on our journey.
While reflecting on our journey I think we have recieved some revelation on why our journey is happening the way it is. Before we left the spirit put on my heart very often to pray that our journey would be to edify the church. Last night after telling the Bastian family our testimony and sharing some of our thoughts, Mr. Bastian said some good words and Jeff felt it was God talking through him. He said we were doing "Kingdom work". When he said that I immediately thought of the scripture in Matt. "But seek ye first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you." After he was finished speaking he said that verse. He is so right about what he said. So many people today are getting caught up in end time prophecies that they forget there is still so much work to be done. Christ will not come back for anything less than a perfect bride and the bride does not seem perfect yet to me. So many christians today are well fed from going to church and listening to the message of salvation but they have been fattened up so much they have become lazy and are not doing kingdom work. The harvest is plenty but the workers are few. ATTENTION CHILD OF GOD: IF YOU ARE NOT WORKING TO FURTHER THE KINGDOM ASK YOURSELF, WHY NOT? IF YOU ARE, GOOD JOB, KEEP FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT!!!

~ Kristin

Well Kristin has pretty much said it all. So I have only this one small thought provoking question to add. If all these signs and wonders we have been seeing across the world really are warnings of the return of the Messiah, as believers, how does that effect you? Does it change what you are to be doing here on earth? Does it change the way you think about God?


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Grafton, WV to West Union, WV

Ok today is Wednesday 8.11.10 and it is day 68 of our walk. Just for those interested. So after we left the library in Grafton, we got a sub sandwich, and sat down to eat and call John back at Edmond Summit Company. We have been experiencing some mildew on the rain fly of our tent because we get up early and it has either; A) rained all night and has stopped just long enough for us to get out and on the road, or B) a fog hung around all night and left everything drenched with mountain dew. Either way, we get up in the morning and put away a wet tent! We try and get it out at some point during the day to dry it out, but it's just a perpetual thing. We are really having difficulty finding the right procedure to keeping the mildew out of our tent bag, and off our tent. Luckily, there isn't anyone better to call with these kinds of questions than EDMOND SUMMIT CO - 405.513.5050 We have actually become pretty good friends with the owner there. His name is John and he is quite an interesting person, not to mention super AWESOME! If you are following along with our blog and you are an outdoor person, then you need to keep his number. Even if you don't live in Oklahoma. After all there's no Sales Tax when you Ship out of State!! He has just gone above and beyond with helping us along this journey and we can't thank him enough. So if you are looking for outdoor gear, try him first! Perhaps you could thank him for us!
Thats -
Edmond Summit Company
100 N Broadway Edmond, OK 73034

Ok so on with the story------


After we left Grafton it was about 2 in the afternoon and really hot so we only got about 5 miles. But it was perfect because we were right by a cute little church called Linn Chapel and they had a nice pavilion to pop our tent under. Even though it was a nice place to camp I did not sleep well so when we got up the next day I was super sleepy. But I was ready to get to Bridgeport so we packed up quickly and headed west. We took several breaks that day and Jeff began to get a migraine so we found an old elementary school in "Hepzibah" unincorporated and cooked some lunch and took a nice nap. When we woke up we were sluggish and ready to find a place to camp. We walked maybe another mile or two and began to ask people if we could camp on their property. We were directed towards Earl Glaspell's house because he owned most of the land we were looking at. We rang his doorbell and were greeted by him and Molly, his shitzu/poodle mix. He said, why sure you can camp, I got plenty of land back there." So we walked through the pasture, which used to be a dairy, to a nice sparkling blue pond and a big blood hound named Harley barking at us. We thought it looked like the perfect place to pop the tent! So I put up the tent while Jeff sat and watched because it was dark and he was tired and still had a little bit of a headache. I then sang to Harley "You ain't nothin' but a hounddog". Then we went up to Earl's house to see if there was a water source we could use to hose off. He invited us to hang out at his gazebo with his granddaughter who had questions for us. She was actually quite shy and did not ask us much at all. Apparently she wanted to ask her grandpa all the questions and when we got there the cat had got her tongue. Earl said we could take showers in his house and so we took him up on the offer and while I was taking my shower a neighbor had dropped off some pineapple upside down cake! Yummy!! When Jeff got out of the shower Earl offered to take us to Bridgeport to get a sandwich from the Chic-fil-a. We accepted the offer and hopped in Earl's truck and got a tour of Bridgeport while we were at it. After dinner Earl dropped us off at our tent and we tried to sleep. By morning I was so tired from yet another night of not much sleep and Earl drove over to see how we were. Earl said he was going to get a haircut that morning. I asked if he was going to do that in Bridgeport and he said no. I hinted that maybe we might like a ride there because I was really sleepy and not feeling much like walking in the heat. Earl said well sure. So we packed up, played with Harley one last time and hopped back in Earl's truck to Bridgeport where he dropped us off at the Laundry mat. After doing laundry we went to the post office because we were expecting a package from momma Peg. We received the package and it was not a surprise that she had put some extra goodies in the box other than what we had asked for. We saw a sign pointing to the library so we followed it until the road came to a T. We were not sure which way to turn so I began to flag people down to ask for directions but apparently Jeff and I look like mass murderers or something to the town of Bridgeport and nobody would stop. One lady even shook her head and waved her hands in terror so I would not come up to her car. Finally someone pulled up to the stop sign whose window was already rolled down so we just shouted for directions to the library and he pointed and said that way. Finally!! I thought we were just going to have to guess which way to walk. Finally after a mile or two and what felt like a gallon of sweat all over my body we came to the library. We spent a couple hours or two there and did not really feel like typing a blog so we just checked email and such. It would be cool if we could just record ourselves speaking about what has happened and post it up to our blog. If anyone knows if that is possible please let us know.
Well after 60+ days Jeff and I were beginning to bicker and I really needed some solitude, so Jeff walked to the mall by himself. I sat at the library for a little while and decided I wanted to walk so I walked till I saw the pet store. I wanted to see if they had any kitties. No kitties but they had ferrets. It was not the same though, however it did take my mind off the heat and crankiness for a bit. I decided to walk a little further and as I was walking down Johnson St. in the middle of town I looked down and saw some credit cards and business cards scattered about on the side of the road. I thought to myself someone might be missing these. I found a card with some numbers on them and decided to call them to see if I could find the person whose name was on all the cards. As I was calling some numbers I looked down and there was the wallet that the cards came from. I picked it up and it had more cards, a bunch of cash and id's. I finally got a hold of someone who knew the fella whom the wallet belonged to and he said he would let him know. I then called Jeff and he said he would meet me at Bob Evans to get something to eat. We had a delicious meal and enjoyed some AC and met a couple and their daughter who knew a woman who we had met a few days earlier. It is such a small world, or maybe just a small state! When we asked for our check we found out that those nice folks had bought our meal. God bless you guys! You know who you are. Sorry I forgot y'alls names. Jeff and I asked if there were any churches near to camp at and they said there were a lot in the direction we had just walked from so we headed back down Johnson St. We got a phone call from the man whose wallet we found and he said he lived in N. Carolina and his girlfriend lived in Bridgeport so I told him to have her call us. She called us and told us she would meet us to pick up his wallet. When we arrived to the place of meeting there was a family standing beside her. I wasn't sure who they were, it looked like they were maybe with her but I wasn't sure. They actually were not. They said they saw us at Blackwater Falls and had wanted to talk to us then but were talking with some older gentlemen. When they saw us in their town they said they had to stop and talk to us. The woman who we returned the wallet to was very grateful and I told her God knew whose hands the wallet needed to end up in and we bid farewell and God bless. The family who pulled over to talk to us offered to buy us dinner and we said we had already eaten but were going to be in town for another day so we exchanged phone numbers and said maybe we could meet up tomorrow.


From there we walked up the road a ways until we saw Simpson Creek Baptist Church. There were a lot of cars parked outside and we went on in the fellowship hall. We were greeted by a bunch of smiling faces and they were all eating dinner. They offered us a meal and told us to come on in and have a seat. We weren't hungry but we took them up on a couple of bottles of water. After they ate they all sat around in the youth room for a devotional. Pastor Rick lead us in a devotional and afterward we asked if there was someplace we could pop our tent. Rick said that we could put it up behind the church if we wanted, but that we were welcome to stay there in the fellowship hall and sleep on their couches! Kristin jumped on that offer because she had not been sleeping well. We were able to set up our tent to dry it out, and we also were able to wash all of our dishes and water bottles. That was great because they hadn't been really scrubbed in quite some time. We each found a comfy couch and crashed for the night. The next morning Nellie called and offered to take us to lunch. Nellie is the woman who saw us at Blackwater and she picked us up and took us to Hank's Deli. When we got there we met several of her friends and fellow teachers from the high school, and we also met Bethany, who is Nellie's daughter. Kristin and I had a "real West Virginia Hot Dog." It was pretty good, but we know how to make 'em back in Oklahoma too! After lunch Nellie took us back to her house to hang out and do some laundry. They live on a cute little lake with houses all around it and a nice little swimming area. I got to do a little fishing too!! Soon after Nellie's friend Trina came by with her two kids Jake and Molly. A little later Nellie's friend from college came by, and she was the choir director and pianist for her church. We sat around the piano and sang hymns and had a great time. While we were doing that Nellie was busy in the kitchen making us Ratatouille and asparagus! It smelled soooo good! It wasn't too long before Nellie's husband, Brian, came home from work. When he got there he took Bethany, Jake, Molly, and myself fishing. He had picked up some meal worms on his way home and the 5 of us walked across the street to the lake. We had so much fun! It reminded me of when my grandpa, dad, sister, and friends used to go fishing. Brian and I spent time putting worms on hooks in between casting our own fishing rods. I happened to look down and see the most beautiful Monarch butterfly sitting on my shoulder (at least I think it was a monarch.) It was so big and vibrant and fuzzy! I slowly coerced it to trade my shoulder for my finger and walked it over to Bethany. She held out her finger and it jumped over to it!! She was just in awe , and with the biggest smile a kid has ever smiled she said, "Daddy LOOK!!" Brian was in awe too. She paraded that butterfly around the lake shore and it just wouldn't leave her finger. Brian ran back to the house to get the camera and on his way back over it flew off of her finger. It circled Bethany a few times, but she didn't give up hope. Nor did she let her finger down. Would you believe that the butterfly actually landed back on the tip of her finger?! Well it did. We were all just so excited at what we were witnessing. Brian got a few pictures then it flew off and came right back to her outstretched finger again! It was at this point when little Bethany said in a small sad voice, "I wish mommy was here to see this." So Brian said, "me too" and ran back to the house to get Nellie out of the kitchen. The butterfly stayed on the end of Bethany's finger until her mommy and everyone else made it over to us. Then Bethany let everyone have a turn at holding the butterfly and we all took lots of pictures. It was just the neatest thing to see. That butterfly must have been sent to us by God to lift our spirits (not that they were down or anything.) Well the clouds to our north gave off a warning of things to come and Brian decided it wasn't a good idea to be out by the lake with fishing poles anymore and we packed up to head in. Bethany still had her butterfly and she even tried to put it onto some pretty flowers before going inside, but the butterfly didn't want to leave her. So Nellie brought out the kid's dinner and put it on the porch and the butterfly just stayed around for dinner. While the kids went out on the porch, us adults went inside for a scrumptious homemade meal. We talked until late in the evening and before we turned in for the night, Trina told us she was going to be going out of town that weekend. Then she proceeded to tell us that we could stay at her house while she and her kids were away for the weekend! We were just instantly humbled by her generosity and kindness. Here we are, two stinky hikers who were just praying for some solitude and re-charging time, and Trina just stepped up and answered our prayer! Incredible.


Nellie and Brian insisted that we sleep in their bed that night and it was amazing. Comfy and cool! What a generous offer to strangers! Not that we felt like strangers anymore. We actually felt like part of the family already. When I woke up the next morning I went to sit on the porch and read some scripture and when I tried to go back inside I realized I had locked myself out. Oops! So finally after 30 minutes of knocking on windows, Jeff let me in. Nellie, Bethany, Jeff, and I had a pretty relaxing day of lounging around and enjoying the pretty day. We went to a sweet shop called "Almost Heaven Desserts" because I was fiending for some coffee. The barista looked very familiar but did not know why she would since we were from Oklahoma. I told her that and she said, " I just moved from Oklahoma!" Crazy! This country gets smaller and smaller every town we walk through. After coffee and some sugary snacks we went to the mall to see if Dick's sporting goods had a cap for my new bladder pack. They had exactly what I needed and so we purchased it and went to find a photo booth so we could all take a silly pic together. It turned out perfect! The Johnson's now have it hanging on their refrigerator. We noticed the time and realized we needed to get back to the house to meet Brian because we were actually meeting Colin and Jessica, the couple from Philippi, in Clarksburg for dinner before heading to Jesus Fest. We ate at a delicious Italian joint called "Minard's". I had chicken parmigiana and Jeff had ummm......I don't know, I was too busy devouring mine!! While we were waiting on our meal Bethany was continuing to wiggle her tooth that she had been working on for a couple of weeks. Finally her dad just took a napkin, reached into her little mouth and pulled the sucker out!! After dinner we were talking about how to pronounce Philippi. I said it should be pronounced like the biblical place philippi with a long "I" and Colin said everyone else pronounces it with an "-ee." The table behind us overheard us and they just so happened to be from Philippi as well and said actually it is "Philipp-ee!" We talked to them a little more and they just so happened to be the owners of a yummy ice cream shop called "Dairy King", in Philippi. Colin told him how the college probably supports him more than anyone else in town. I told them how we were walking across the country for Jesus and how awesome his ice cream was. Then before we knew it those lovely people had bought our meal! I couldn't believe it! The entire table! What generous people there are here in West Virginia!! I just cannot get over how kind people have been to us. Owners of Dairy King: God Bless you!!
When we got to Jesus fest "Seventh Day Slumber" was playing. They were in the middle of their set and after they finished the lead singer was reciting some of the letters people had written to the band and then he told his own testimony which is pretty amazing, but not surprising however because I know how big a God we serve. He said he was a coke addict for years and his mom accepted Christ when he was 20 or so. She really wanted him to find God too but he was atheist. When he was 21 he hit rock bottom and purposefully over dosed in his mother's living room. When she came in she found him convulsing and she called the ambulance. He said as he was in the ambulance he felt the hand of Jesus and he told him if he still wanted him he would give his life to him. He said he did not have anything to offer because all he was was a dirty drug addict. So Jesus spared his life of course because he is awesome and that is what he does, SAVE LIVES!!! So after telling his story he had the security guards move back all the crowd and moved the barriers. He then asked if anyone wanted to humble themselves and come to the front and kneel before God then come. I saw Jeff run to the front and fall on his knees and then half the crowd just flocked to the stage and fell down and everyone was worshipping God. It was so beautiful and humbling. I sat there just imagining how this would look if we were in heaven bowing before his throne. How great a site that will be!!!

After that another band came on but I was so tired I really did not pay attention to them. Jeff and I sat on a brick wall and listened to the band from behind the stage. Colin and Jessica found us eventually and they realized their dog Alley probably needed to be let out soon, so they took us to Trina's. When we got to Trina's we were greeted by Scooby, a sweet yellow lab who was going to be our pal for the weekend!


Jessica had to use the powder room so everyone got to meet Scooby! He is so sweet and we miss him already. So after a quick goodbye (yea right) Colin and Jess left for home. It was nice to have a comfy king sized bed with a memory foam topper to sleep in. Just like we used to have! We tucked in and passed out quick. In the morning we ate some sugary kids cereal and plopped down in front of her t.v.. If you know Kristin and I very well, you know that we haven't had a t.v. in about 4 years. However, sitting in front of the 'ol idiot box all day and watching the Discovery Channel was pretty nice. There for a while it didn't even seem like we were walking across the country, or even in a different state! It was nice to get that mental break for a bit. We did manage to multitask though. We repaired the few small pinholes we have gotten in our tent, we washed our dishes, and I sharpened our knife while Kristin put in some laundry. So it wasn't all wasted on the glowing box. We didn't leave the house all day except to throw the ball out back for "Scoobs." He likes chasing it down the stairs and under the big fir tree out there. We really got some good rest and it was nice to just "veg" for a day. The following morning Nellie and Bethany picked us up for church around 10:30. We went to Fellowship Bible Church in Bridgeport and it was good. The preacher was talking about the signs of the times and reminding people to not put too much stock in things such as the latest greatest book on how to survive the great tribulation. He reminded the congregation that everything we need to know is in the scriptures and how the spirit would guide us on the rest and all we have to do is keep our eye on God. He was urging us to just file the things we hear in our "I'll take note of that" file, and not dwell on it. It was a good sermon and had a lot of truth in it. After church Nellie and Bethany took us back over to Trina's to get our stuff. We said our farewells there in the van and then walked back into the house. We quickly gathered our things and tidied up the house before setting off for Clarksburg. It was 2:00pm.

We headed to Clarksburg to see if we could catch the last day of the Jesus fest. We got to Clarksburg and a gentleman came up to us and almost immediately started talking to us in scriptures. We were delighted to meet a fellow brother. He invited us to his porch for some cold water and some bbq that he had just cooked. We had already eaten but he insisted so Jeff took some. His friend also sent us away with some vienna sausages. Which I find repulsive but Jeff loves them so they were gone in a couple days. The gentleman said he would drive us downtown so we would not miss the festival. We got there and walked to Main Street and not many people were there, maybe just the cleanup crew and a man was saying a final prayer to wrap up the festival. So we just walked downtown towards the trail. The town seemed solemn and ghostly compared to the last couple days. We were walking for a while looking for a church to camp behind but the area did not look like the safest part of town so we kept walking. We got to a neighborhood/community called Adamston and passed a sign pointing to the United Methodist Church. We were almost passed the street to turn on and Jeff quickly said, "I think we should go this way." So we took a sharp left and walked to the Methodist church into the evening service where a cute lil' old lady was reading scripture. We quietly walked to the back, hoping not to interupt. We did a pretty good job. Even though a couple people noticed us and smiled at us. After the old lady took her seat, Etheldean Yanero, the pastor, got up to lead some songs. She asked if anyone had any intersting news to tell. I said, "we walked from Bridgeport to Clarksburg today!" Everyone turned and looked at us and said, "wasn't it hot?" We explained how we were used to it because we had walked all the way from the Atlantic Ocean. Then Etheldean asked if anyone wanted to lead the music. I raised my hand high and said, "I'll do it!" So I went up and lead a few hymns and then they asked me to sing one by myself. Of course I sang our anthem that Jeff makes me sing for everyone, "I want Jesus to Walk with Me". Then Etheldean gave her sermon on I Samuel and how we should be careful what we pray for. Afterwards we greeted everyone and Etheldean said we could stay in the church if we wanted or we could stay with her in the parsonage. We did not have a preference so we asked her to decide and she said, "well you can just come with me." So we hopped in her car and drove over to the parsonage. We were greeted by Riley, a pretty black shepard looking dog who Etheldean warned us about because he does not always play nice. She was a little worried he would not behave so she put him in his kennel. She let him in later and he was a good boy for the most part. We told Etheldean our testimony and then took showers. After I finished my shower I asked how God called her to be a preacher and she smiled and said, "do you really want to know that story?" She told us her amazing story and then we continued to talk about God till about midnight. Finally we just couldn't hold our eyes open any longer, even though we could have told God's stories all night! We went to bed and when we woke up Etheldean fixed us some coffee and we had some oatmeal and headed off to Wolf Summit where we were to get on the North Bend Rail Trail.


We must have missed the turn just outside of Clarksburg because we hit a dead end on old Rt 50. The directions got real ambiguous there for a few miles and we wound up having to walk along the new Rt 50 with is a four lane highway that is very busy and very noisy. We had to walk down it for a couple of miles before we finally got sick of the massive trucks screaming by us only a few feet away. So we found a little road that cut back to the N.W. and we took a chance and went that way. We had only walked down it about 1/2 a mile before we found the old rail trail! It's always nice when a plan comes together. We walked about two miles down the trail until we finally came into Wolf Summit where the Trail Head was. We were running very low on water and we happened to see the steeple of a church not far away so we headed down the road to see if we could get some water and a place to pop our tent. When we reached the church we found it to be abandonded. So we knocked on the house next door. A man named Roscoe anwsered and told us we could sit in his shady bench swing and he would bring us out some water. Soon after, his wife Eileen came out, and brought us bbq pork sandwiches and me a tomato sandwich also! The tomato was from their garden and just as ripe and red as could be! It was sooooo delish. We got to talking and Eileen told us about her future daughter-in-law backpacking across spain in her younger years. She then told us that she is now a teacher at Bridgeport H.S.. We said, "what's her name?" She replied, "Trina." Kristin and I both about fell out of the bench! We said, "That's the woman who let us stay in her house for the weekend!!!!" We were all in shock at the situation. Here we are miles down the road and we just happen across Trina's soon to be in-laws! God is so funny. Well we had a wonderful time with them and then walked over to the other church in town to sleep for the night. It was the weslyean methodist church, but no one was there so we just set up the tent anyway. The next morning we headed off down the Rail Trail. Where we met Sharon and Paul a day later. They had gotten a hold of us via the ADT website and offered to put us up for a day or two. We are currently in West Union, WV in good care of Sharon and Paul and have already attended the local county fair. We are going back tonight to see the Gospel acts. It has been an amazing journey and we can't wait to see what God has in store for us on down the road! God bless everyone who is reading and following along on here. We miss you and may God bless you and Keep you!


P.S. - Today is now August 19th. It has taken that long to write out this blog!

Friday, August 6, 2010

Home is where the heart is!

Where do you say that your home is? What about your heart? Luke 12:34 says, "For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also." Do you tend to put more emphasis on the things of this world which will perish or do you focus more on storing your treasures in heaven? For Jeff and I our Home is in Jesus and our heart strives to remain there also. We really know what it is truly like for Jesus to be our home. Our house is a tent which we put into a little bag every morning and put it up in a different place every night, so our heart is always anchored in Christ as we trust that he will show us the right place to put our house! So our heart is in heaven and our home is in Christ! I hope that if you are reading this and you are a part of the body of Christ you can say the same thing no matter what your circumstances may be.

After typing our last blog we decided since it was so hot we would just spend the day in Parsons and hang out with Joe and Ashley and I am so glad we did. We suggested that we could make dinner and share our story with them and Fred, Joe's dad, came over and got word of our dinner plans. So he brought over some delicious corn, green beans, and potatoes from his garden and his wife made some delicious homemade peach and berry cobbler. We grilled some chicken breast and had a feast ready when Joe came home from work. He seemed to be really hungry and he just dug right in and his parents showed up as we took our first bite. Everything was delicious and our fellowship was refreshing. We told them our story and then asked Joe's parents, Fred and Joanne how they met and they told their story. It was really neat to hear how God put them together. Fred and Joanne were getting tired and they went home and us young-uns sat around and talked and shared pictures of weddings and dogs and such! They offered to have a pot of coffee for us in this morning so we took them up on it and headed to the tent to try and get a in little shut eye.

So after waking up, packing up our tent and enjoying some coffee ad pop tarts we said goodbye to Joe who had got up to see us off we headed down Smokey Hollow road going up and down hills and winding around the mountains. We came to a road sign with a tractor on it and I said, "look tractor crossing" Jeff said, "hmm I wonder if we will run into any wild tractors?" Just a few seconds later a wild tractor came flying by!! We turned onto Clover road and walked a couple more miles until we got to a house with a nice pavilion in the yard and thought it looked like a nice place to pop our tent. There was a man using some heavy machinery digging in some dirt and so we walked towards him to see if he was the owner of the pavilion. His name was Rock and he did not live there but was just doing a little work for the family that did. Rock was a nice guy. He had never been out of the state of West Virginia, he liked to live a simple life and was quite content doing so. He said that the Moore's would probably not mind if we camped and said the man of the house would be home at 4:30. It was around 3:00 so we just decided to hang out under the pavilion and relax because it was starting to rain. After talking to us a bit, Rock got back to his work and then headed off down the road. After cooking up a pot of noodles and propping up our feet I fell asleep. It was not too long before Mr. Moore came home and he had already heard about some hikers that were hanging out at his pavilion. Rock had let him know that some harmless strangers were there! He talked to us a bit and we met his dog "Patches" and he said his mother and wife would be home soon. His mother who was born in the farm house there on the property had gone to have cataract surgery. We told him about our visit in Parsons and how we had stopped at the library to type our blog and he said, "well you probably met my wife then, she's the librarian". What a small world!! Then again it is West Virginia and the population of the entire state is about the same as Oklahoma City!

Mr. Moore's mom sent some homemade cinnamon rolls over for us after she arrived home. They were super delish and we ate them for breakfast. The Moore's were very kind and let us take showers and greeted us in the morning with a bag of goodies! After packing up we headed toward a little village called Valley Furnace: Unincorporated. We walked another 10 or so miles that day and my pinky toe was beginning to hurt so we stopped at a house with a big yard and asked if they knew of a place to camp. The man of the house thought for a while and maybe decided we were not creepy weirdos and said we could camp on his lawn by his chicken coup. So we were grateful and walked to edge of his lawn and cooked a little instant mashed taters and set up camp. While we were eating we met the king of the roost and he wanted to show us his awesome feathers and cock-a-doodle. He was quite the sight and sound for the evening. As we were putting up our tent we heard some thunder in the distance and we put our fly on and got in and it almost immediately began a torrential downpour. So we prayed for our safety during the storm and read some of the good book and fell asleep. In the morning it had stopped raining just long enough to pack up our tent before it started to pour again. We hung out with the man of the house and decided to just walk in the rain because the rain did not look like it was going to let up any time soon. We were informed that from where we were at all the way to where we were headed there was no electricity. We stopped in Nestorville which was just a 3 mile jaunt from Valley Furnace for some coffee. Everyone had there power hooked up to generators so the store had some power. After leaving Nestorville we headed for Philippi up WV38 where in poured on us off and on all day. Finally we reached Budget Inn where we were picking up our new backpacks. They arrived just before we did. The hotel was without power and we did not really want to walk any longer in the rain so we said we would take a room. They still had hot water and that was all we needed. The owner asked what made us to decide to walk across America and we excitedly told him. "GOD!!" He said, "well that is a pretty good reason." He was so kind he decided to let us just have the room. We were so thankful! We grabbed our package and packs and headed down the hall to our room, we were anxious to get our new packs! We slashed open the box and took our packs out and John, the outfitter back home had gone over the top again! He sent us 2 boxes of cliff bars, energy jelly beans, a bunch of Summit stickers, and some instant starbucks coffee. Thanks again John!! We love you man!!

It was really good we got a room because it just continuously poured the rest of the night. The electricity came on an hour later as well so that was a blessing we didn't have to walk around with our headlamps all night! Just after we got our new packs all packed and comfy we got a surprise phonecall. It was a nice woman who found out about us on the ADT website and got in touch with us through facebook. She was coming through the area and wanted to see if we needed anything. We said it would be lovely to meet her so she came by the hotel room. As she was on her way I told Jeff it would be nice if maybe she wanted to go get icecream!! So when she arrived she asked if there was anything she could do for us. We told her, "not unless you want to go get icecream!" Well she actually already had 3 milkshakes in her hand!! I will let you imagine the big smile on my face. If you know me at all you know how I am about icecream!! We did not want to offend her with the smell of dirty feet in our room so we went to the lobby to chat. She lives on the trail up the way a little bit and said she would love to have us over when we come through so we of course said yes! After a nice meeting with her we said till we meet again and headed to the room to try and get some sleep in the nice comfy beds! We were exited about the next day because we were going to meet Jessica, the twin of the nice young lady we met in Parsons, and her fiance Collin.


Ok so after we left the hotel we walked on into town to go to the library to update the blog. As we were walking down the main drag there we saw a life sized statue of Jesus in front of a house. We just had to take a picture with Jesus! It was cool because there was a man there cleaning the windows on the house and he was happy to take our picture. After that we hit downtown and found the library. Alas, the library was closed for a staff meeting and we were out of luck. So we called Colin. Colin is the fiance' of Jessica, who is the twin sister of Ashley back in Parsons. Colin said to walk through town and find the covered bridge and he would meet us at the other side of the bridge where the park was. He and his grandfather took us back to Jessica's house. We instantly felt like Colin was an old childhood friend of ours and hit it off immediately. Colin is a student at AB college in Phillipi and is a music major! So obviously we all had a lot in common. After we spent some time at the house setting up our tent and getting to know one another, and his sister Whitney, we got a ride from Whitney up to the church. Colin, Kristin and I all got to sit around and play music together until Jess got off work. What a blessing that was! Thanks Colin! After playing for a bit, Colin suggested that we play some ping pong. What a worthy adversary he is too! Little did he know that my dad and I would stay up ALL NIGHT, EVERY NIGHT, playing ping pong in our back room. Muahahaha!! Colin quickly renamed me "the Oklahoma Twister." :) After music and ping pong, Jessica finally got off work and came to pick us up. We all went back to the house and arrived at the same time as Whitney on her way back from the grocery store. She had picked up stuff to make us tacos and homemade cookies!! Whitney is such a wonderful person. She is the most caring and generous sister and we were so blessed to have gotten to know her and spend time with her. Whitney quickly started in on preparing dinner as the rest of us got to know each other. Somewhere in there Ally made her way into the picture. Ally is the twin sister of Nala back in Parsons. They are both half husky, half wolf, and 4 months old. Jess and Colin had heard from Ashley and Joe that I was a dog trainer. So we all sat around and played with Ally and talked. Shortly after, I realized that Whitney had been in the kitchen all alone making us dinner. So we all got up to go help her. We all pitched in and before we knew it we had a feast in front of us! She had even made a delicious fruit juice sangria-type punch that quickly disappeared. After dinner we shared our testimony with them and then we watched "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs." It was actually a great movie! I recommend it to anyone. Great pic you guys. The next morning I woke up early and Colin took me to his church to attend the Iron Men's breakfast. Its a men's group that meets once a month for breakfast and bible study. It was great to get to spend some guy time with other christian men. Don't get me wrong, I love my wife and the time we spend together, but it was nice to spend some time away for a bit. After Iron Men's breakfast we went over to Colin's friend's house. Jeremiah is the associate pastor at the church and has a lovely family. His wife and two young boys are so much fun! After a little while Jess and Kristin met us over at Jeremiah and Becky's. We all hung out and ate pizza and it felt like we were not walking across America for a while. It felt like we were just hanging out with friends and having a good time! After a few hours we went back to Jessica's and hung out there for a while. Dinner time rolled around and Colin suggested we go to Moe's for hotwings. They were DELISH!! We had a great time at dinner, but at some time during the evening I could tell that Colin really wanted to get some revenge at the ping pong table. So I just kinda quietly said, "ping pong tourney?..." and he peered over the rim of his glasses, and his eye brow slowly lifted as to say, "you're on!" So we had Jess and Kristin drop us off back at the church to settle the score. They of course didn't stick around to see us boys battle it out. We wound up play 18 games of ping pong until Jessica finally sent Colin a text that read, "are you ever going to come back home?" We had so much fun, but we finally broke the good ping pong ball and decided to call it quits. The next morning we all went to church and met the church family. Ashley and Joe came up from Parsons and Jeremiah and Becky lead worship. It was really great to worship with all the new friends we had met recently. After church we went to the mexican restaurant. We had a great time at lunch and then went back to the house to pack up. We gathered all our things and hoped in the car because Jess and Colin wanted to take us up to Tygart Lake. Well after we got there we found out it was $20 for a tent site at the park and Kristin and I weren't going to pay $20 to camp so they took us on into Grafton. We drove around looking for a map and a nice church to stay at. We found a map and then after little luck with the churches downtown, Colin took us across town to the Church of Christ. When we got out and put our packs on the grass, a nice man walked up to us and asked how far we were hiking. We had just been telling Colin and Jess how God always takes care of us and provides for us, so when this man walked up to us Colin just kind of nodded and said goodbye for now. It was bitter sweet. We miss you guys so much already, and will be praying for you and your marriage. May God bless you and keep you in the palm of His hand, together and united, for as long as He sees fit!

As they were pulling away, we start telling the man who walked up to us our testimony. We immediately saw God's love in him and knew that we were right where we needed to be. Turns out he is the pastor of the church! We gave him the Cliff Notes version of our story and then told him that we were looking for a church to camp behind before we headed back down the trail. He just sort of grinned and called his wife over to meet us. After a lightening quick introduction, he asked us (and his wife simultaneously) if we wanted to come back to their house to camp!! (I don't know how to type me jumping and dancing for joy so this will have to do...:):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):):!!!!!!!!!!!!************!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!WooooHOoooo!!) Well, that's what I was thinking anyway. I mean we hadn't been standing there 5 minutes! I don't think that Colin and Jess were even out of sight yet. God is so good.


We hopped in the Johnson's car and went to their beautiful Log cabin home right next to a stream and were in love with our campsite God had picked for us!! And even better than the campsite, they had.....KITTIES!!! And if any of you know me well, you know how much I love KITTIES!!!!! Love love love kitties!!!!!!!!!! So we set up camp and went in for some pizza and getting to know you time. We told them some more of the amazing stories God had given us while on the trail and talked about God's goodness till 11 p.m. Jeff was getting sleepy and so we said goodnight and had a nice prayer before heading to bed. I am pretty sure everyone slept like babies all night and when we got up this morning the coffee was alreay made. We got to spend a little more time with the Johnson's before the Mrs. had to be at work. Our time with them was not nearly long enough but hopefully we will get to see them again sometime. I know if it isn't here on earth, definitely in eternity!! So on the way into town I told Mr. Johnson we forgot to get a picture and so we stopped by the Mrs. work and snapped a quick photo with our new friends. We got dropped off here at the library and are now 2 hours into our visit here at the Grafton Public Library and my fingers are getting tired of typing. So until next time to all of our readers! Thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. We miss everyone and send our love to you all. I pray the peace and grace of Christ for you all.

So I forgot to tie in my beginning paragraph with the rest of the blog so I am going to do that now! When I began the blog with the thought of our home being in Christ and where our heart is, I wasn't sure how I was going to tie that in with what has been happening. Mr. Johnson asked us where we consider home to be and I thought, how intersting, I was just writing about that on our journal. I think so many people today feel that the four walls of their house can protect from the evil outside but that just isn't true. We have been on the road for 60 + days now and have not been mugged, or beat up, and obviously have not run into any serial killers! I know that God will protect us no matter where we go. "For we are not fighting against flesh and blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places." Eph: 6:12 So brothers and sisters, if you call yourself that, do not go about your day being fearful of what is outside of your house. Yes there are evil people out there but put your faith in God and rest knowing that your true home is wherever he is and he, is wherever you are! Only then can you truly be at peace. If a stranger looks like they may be in need, put away your thoughts that they might murder you, it might be the perfect oppurtunity to witness to them, or just to show them kindness. Use the discernment God has given you and you will know if it is a bad idea or not. The things of this world can only protect you for a time but God can save you forever!



The Vandagriffs

Monday, August 2, 2010

Over the River and through the Woods!

Well we have made it through the vast wilderness of the Monongahela National Forrest and are now in civilization again. Parsons W. Va. that is. If we would have come here a week later we would have been able to catch the bluegrass festival! Maybe we will catch another one on our way down the road. Since we last updated we have seen so many beautiful scenerys. Including Lindy Point which we actually camped on for Jeff's birthday. You couldn't ask for a better birthday present! We will not be able to post any pictures this time since we are using the public library computers. We will get them up as soon as we can though.
We are continuing to meet so many wonderful people and as Jeff and I reflect on how many beautiful friendships we have made in just the last two months we are amazed. When I think of being back at home in our monotonous lives, doing the same thing every day and seeing the same people I think about how it seemed like all the world was going down in the pits. However as we walk across America, without a time line and a schedule of places we have to be at at certain times, I see now that God has his people placed all over this country. Even though America is looking like Sodom and Gomorrah, God's people are being raised up and shining through all the darkness around. It is so comforting to know that we have a support system of family members of Christ everywhere we go. Jeff and I often think about the reunion we will have with all of the people we have met when we get to eternity. It will be so amazing to be in the presence of Christ with all of our brothers and sisters!


The Monongahela Forrest is a wonderful place. To give you an idea of what it looks like, the word Monongahela means, "River with the sliding banks" or "high banks that break off and fall down." Some sources name the Delaware tribe of Native Americans as the ones to name the area. The steep mountain walls just cut straight into the river bank! Talk about steep! It is a vast wilderness full of beautiful mountain laurel, rhododendrons, mosses & ferns of every kind, and just about every tree one could imagine too! It is truly a wild and beautiful place. After coming though this Forrest we now know why they call WV "the mountain state." up and down, up and down, up and down, etc..... :) after several thousand feet of elevation we were ready for a sit down. Luckily there are a few lean-to shelters scattered amongst the rhododendrons. We made use of one for the night. They consist of a three sided structure with a raised floor and a pitched roof. They also have a fire pit right infront of the opening, and by the looks of the fire pit, these shelters have been here a long time! We set up our tent inside, and signed the register. Then we made a fire to cook on and ate dinner. Then night fell, and let me tell you about that. Ok, close your eyes and then pull a stocking cap over your face, then find the heaviest winter coat you have and put wrap that around your face and head, then walk down into your basement and turn off all the lights. Thanks what night looks like in the mountains of the Monongahela National Forrest!!! After the sun came up and we could see again, we made it to Black Water Falls State Park and had some lunch there. Then we hiked over to see the falls. It was beautiful. It is a 57' waterfall, here's a picture. http://www.mountainhighlands.com/listings/blackwater_waterfall_1.JPG.

From there we hiked over to Lindy Point where we watched the sun go down on Blackwater Canyon from high up on top of a cliff. It was so beautiful we just decided to set up our tent and sleep there on top of the world. Here's a picture of Lindy Point. http://www.chriskaylerphotography.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/12/blackwaterfallsstateparkstock2.jpg

So the next morning we walked southwest back through the national forrest and out onto a forrest service road. Let me tell you about Forrest Service road 244 now. It is 3.5 downhill miles of steep winding gravel road! It is BRUTAL on your feet and knees, but we finally made it to the blacktop and then into the back of a pickup truck for the 3 miles or so into Parsons. Thank you kind stranger for the ride into Parsons! We ate at a nice little restaurant in Parsons and then found the baptist church. It is right next door to the Catholic church and in between the two building there is a nice little grassy courtyard area. We thought that we might be able to camp there, but we wanted to get permission first. The man who lived next door to the churches told us where the pastor of the baptist church lived so we walked over to his house. When we got there we were greeted by the biggest chocolate lab we had EVER seen! He was huge, but as friendly as could be! We knocked on the door and hollered through the window, but no one was home. We even went across the street and sat under a shade tree to wait for them to get home for a few hours, but they never came home. Their dog even came over to sit with us and that was great! Wish we knew his name. We tried calling him every name in the book, but nothing perked his ear. After 8:00 we decided to just go back over to the church and set up camp anyway. When we arrived we met Fred. Fred is the man who takes care of the catholic church and he told us that he had a much better place for us to camp! He said he had a garden close by and that we would like it there much better! Boy was he right!! Nice and shady by the river, and surrounded by a beautiful garden! Thank you Fred!! God Bless you!! We woke up this morning to Fred pulling up with two coffees, some fresh apples, and homemade peach bread!! Whoa! Awesome. We met his son and his wife and were able to do a load of laundry at their house. Thank you Joe and Ashley!! So now we are at the little public library in Parsons, WV where we are checking emails and facebook, and updating the blog.

We miss everyone back home and all the friends we have made along the way. Thank you to everyone who sent me birthday wishes! We can't wait to see everyone again! Either here on earth or in eternity!!