After crossing into Ohio in our last post, we’re continuing to make progress through the Buckeye State. Every day brings us closer to the East Coast, and we are getting more and more excited with each step. Of course, there are still plenty of wonderful people to meet and incredible things to experience as we go.
As we mentioned before, we were just getting ready to leave our old friends Christina and Brian in Cincinnati in order to make our way toward Milford, Ohio. Thanks to a friend our fellow cross-country walkers Josh and Kerri had met during their walk, we had a place to stay when we reached the Milford area. Eric and Tammy and their daughters Abigail and Amber had hosted Josh and Kerri last year, and they were pumped to have us over to their house as well. Even they lived closer to nearby Owensville, they were more than happy to come pick us up in Milford when we got there.
After a good day of walking out of Cincinnati, we hit Milford in the early evening. Tammy was eager to pick us up and get us a heaping plate of Cincinnati-style chili, which Lindsie and I both devoured immediately. Then it was back to their house—which was actually in Owensville, about 10 miles ahead of us on our route—for the night. But not before a few more cart repairs.
If you’ve been reading the blog the past few weeks, you’ll know that our carts are struggling to stay together at this point. They’re on their last legs, to say the least (I’m starting to feel like they are going to fall apart—like the car at the end of Blues Brothers—when we finally do stop walking), and Lindsie’s cart further proved that fact when part of its frame snapped on our way to Eric and Tammy’s. Lindsie was at least able to limp it all the way to our stopping point for the day where Tammy had picked us up. We were then blessed beyond belief to discover that God had put yet ANOTHER welding-capable, machine-fixing mechanic in our path. After taking an initial look at things, Eric grabbed Lindsie’s cart and said he’d be back in a little while.
We went inside, got showered, and got ready for a fun night of conversation before we would head out the next morning. After showers were done, Eric came back and showed us a flawless welding job that made the frame look (and feel) as good as new. We were thankful. And tired. After some tasty dessert, we said goodnight and got ready for the next day.
But when the next day came, we weren’t quite ready. We just had a few more things to get figured out than we had realized, and Tammy and Eric were kind enough to let us stay another day and night at their house. After getting many things checked off of our to-do list, we had a fantastic dinner with the family and enjoyed a great night of conversation. After that, the plan truly was to get up and go the next morning.
And we did. Sort of. Unfortunately, it was an extremely rainy day. So after Tammy dropped us back off to start walking, we only made it about 10 miles. And, in a funny twist of fate, we just ended up walking to Tammy and Eric’s house, which is right along Highway 50. And when we got there, dripping wet and struggling with more cart issues, they welcomed us in to dry off, warm up, and get our carts re-re-re-repaired. That night we were able to go to an evening church service with them, as well as enjoy another tasty dinner and dessert. Once again, we were happy.
The next morning, we finally left Eric and Tammy’s house for good. Thanks to our friends Mark and Nancy from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, we had a place to stay in Fayetteville, Ohio. Nancy’s sister, Laurel, lives in Fayetteville with her husband, Fran. After a few days of delays with Tammy and Eric, Laurel and Fran were ready for us to get there, and we ended up having a great night. Tasty food and good conversation made for a fun evening, and we were thankful to Laurel and Fran for opening up their home to us on our journey.
The sunrise brought breakfast with it, and after eating some food in the morning, we said goodbye to Laurel and made our way toward Hillsboro First United Methodist Church in Hillsboro, Ohio. But before that, we still had to walk through Fayetteville. And while we were taking a rest near a strip mall in town, we met Susan, who demanded that we let her buy us a cheese coney at Skyline Chili. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse, and we were glad we didn’t refuse it. The coneys were delicious, and we enjoyed chatting with Susan and getting to pray for her. On top of that, we even had a chance to pray for our waitress, which was a double-blessing. After that, we moved on toward Hillsboro.
Debbie, the receptionist at Hillsboro First United Methodist, had figured out a place for us to stay inside the church, which was a wonderful blessing. On top of that, she brought her husband, Rodney, and their little one-year-old Yorkie to greet us. After making sure we were all squared away, we had a little time to shower, make some sandwiches, and settle in for the evening, which was perfect.
The next morning we set off for Bainbridge, Ohio, where Pastor Steve Alexander at the Bainbridge Church of Christ was welcoming us with open arms. After a full day of walking, we pulled up to the church and were pleasantly surprised to find out that a meal had been left for us for dinner. And there was homemade fudge to go along with it! We talked with Pastor Steve for awhile, and then it was time for Bible study, which we appreciated and enjoyed. After a good time of fellowship, we got some much-needed rest in Bainbridge. The next morning, Pastor Steve took us to breakfast at the nearby Bainbridge Café, where we loaded up on energy for the day’s walk.
From Bainbridge it was on to Chillicothe, Ohio. The First Christian Church of Chillicothe was kind enough to say “yes” to our request for a place to stay. Not only that, but they went above and beyond, offering to put us up in the house of a couple from their church. After a full day of walking, and a reintroduction to the hills we hadn’t seen for a few hundred miles, Glen met us to take us to his house. He and his wife, Carolyn, were the willing volunteers who offered to host us, and they made us feel right at home. With delicious food, a comfortable bed, and a great night of conversation, we didn’t have much more we could ask for. They also had some friends over to join us, including Pastor Alan from the church, as well as the church receptionist, Regina and her husband, Brooks. It was an awesome night all around.
Our next stop was going to be Londonderry, Ohio, but we hadn’t found a church in Londonderry take us in or even call us back at all. As a result, Glen and Carolyn offered to just drive out and pick us up after we walked to Londonderry, returning us to their house for the night. After the great night of sleep we’d gotten the night before and the delicious meal the two of them had prepared, we jumped on the opportunity to stay at their house again. So we walked to Londonderry in beautiful, sunny weather and waited for Glen and Carolyn to come back and snag us after our day of walking. Chillicothe has a ton of history (and was Ohio’s first AND third state capital), so they drove us around to tour the town before we headed home.
That night, they invited their neighbor over to have dinner and meet us. Their neighbor, Peggy, is 92 years old, and just so happens to have grown up in Watertown, South Dakota, where Lindsie is from. She and Lindsie exchanged stories and memories and had fun sharing the connection only two people from Watertown, South Dakota, can share.
The next day, Glen and Carolyn made another tasty breakfast and dropped us off in Londonderry, as we all said sad goodbyes. As much fun as it was getting to know them, we still had progress to make. So onward we pushed, to McArthur, Ohio. Carl, the pastor at Calvary Assembly of God Church in McArthur, had invited us to stay with them (with absolutely no hesitation, I might add), and we were excited to be there. Both because we love meeting new people and because we were planning to make Sunday a rest day, and rest days are a welcome blessing on a cross-country walk.
We got to the church on Saturday afternoon, and Pastor Carl let us into the auxiliary building where we’d be staying. With a kitchen, bathrooms, and plenty of space for sleeping, we couldn’t have been more thankful. We chatted with Pastor Carl for awhile, got a few things done, and then got ready for bed. The next morning was church, and we were delighted to be at a full, Sunday morning service. We hadn’t had a chance to catch one in a few weeks, and we were looking forward to it.
The music at Calvary Assembly of God is amazing. The worship team rocked the house, and not in the “It’s a big production and it’s all about us” way that a lot of churches tend to do it these days. This was just some soul-shaking, give-the-praise-to-God music that really got things going. And after the music, we had a chance to go speak with the youth group kids about our journey. It was fun to be sharing stories and answering the types of questions that only youth kids can come up with.
After church, we went out to eat with the high school youth group leader, Tom, his wife, Janelle, and their two kids, Abrianna and Dakyra. The meal was delicious, and we enjoyed a great conversation in the process. Then it was back to the church for a few hours of rest and a chance to get a few things checked off our to-do list.
Around 6:00 p.m., it was time for the evening service, and it was by far one of the most moving experiences we’ve had on this entire journey. It started once again with some fantastic worship, and when worship was done we gathered to hear Pastor Carl preach—and preach he did. In a service that had people on their feet praising Jesus, had people praying prayers of gratitude and prayers of healing, and had tears flowing down just about everybody’s faces, a room full of people got to experience the Holy Spirit moving, and it was incredible.
After the service, we walked next door to the McDonald’s with other church members to enjoy a post-service dessert. We got to enjoy more fellowship, more stories, and more joy for the evening. Then, unfortunately, it was time for bed. Although we were sad to leave, we knew we had to keep moving down the road. Thankfully, Janelle dropped off biscuits and gravy for us to eat for breakfast, which was a great way to start the morning. And with that, we will wrap this post up. We are still heading east on Highway 50, and we’re less than 500 miles away from our goal, so we just keep getting closer and closer and God keeps providing for us every step of the way. We are beyond blessed, for sure.
We’ll have another update soon! Until then, here’s an encouraging verse from Hebrews. It’s Hebrews 12:12, and it says…
“So take a new grip with your tired hands, and strengthen your weak knees. Mark out a straight path for your feet so that those who are weak and lame will not fall but become strong.”
As our hands and knees continue to get tired, God gives us the strength to take a new grip. We still have plenty of people to share God’s goodness with, and that’s an energizing thought. We hope it energizes you too.
-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda