Crossing Kansas (and Passing the 2,000 Mile Mark)

A beautiful photo, taken by LindsieOur journey across Kansas continues to fly by, as the Storming Jericho crew continues to trek onward toward the east coast. You may remember from our last post that we left off just outside of Stafford, Kansas, saying hello and goodbye to our fellow cross-country walkers, Josh and Kerri.

After Josh and Kerri left, we pushed our way into Stafford after a 22-mile day of walking. Our destination was the Methodist Church in Stafford, where the church receptionist, Arlene, said we were welcome to stay. The church was pretty much empty because they were waiting on a new pastor to arrive in the near future and, due to the harvest season, most people were out working in the fields all week. Basically it was perfect timing for me and Lindsie to stay for a little while.

Unfortunately, due to a bad night of sleep, we ended up staying longer than planned. On the one hand, this was somewhat disappointing since we always enjoy making solid progress. On the other hand, it was REALLY hot outside, so it was probably safer for us to be indoors anyway. Plus, a massive thunderstorm hit one of the nights we were there, and it was nice to be indoors so we could avoid that as well.

Mike and LarryDuring our last night in Stafford, a gentleman named Larry was bringing food in for the food pantry. After we helped him unload his truck, Larry offered to take us out to a local restaurant for some cinnamon cream pie, a dish which Stafford is fairly well known for in the region, according to Larry. Needless to say, it was absolutely delicious and we were thankful we had offered to help him unload his truck.

Eventually we did leave Stafford, which brought us toward Plevna, a small town that was on a road a few miles south of Highway 50. It was nice to get off of Highway 50 for a change, mostly because the road to Plevna was basically empty and extremely peaceful. For the first time in a while, Linds and I had a chance to talk while we walked, and Jaeda was able to roam and explore with as much slack as her leash offered. We were all feeling pretty comfortable with things as we strolled into Plevna.

Then, as if God wanted to give us a bonus blessing, the pastor and his family in Plevna offered to put us up in their house for the night instead of having us sleep on the floor of the church. That meant we were going to have a bed, showers, dinner, and even more comfort than usual. Talk about a pleasant surprise.

Mike and the GreensThe pastor of Plevna Community Bible Church is David Green, and he, his wife Larissa, and their two kids Danny and Emily were delightful. Danny is extremely well spoken and intelligent for his age, which made for some fun conversations, and Emily is one of the most adorable little girls in the world. On top of that, David and Larissa are great too.

After a tasty lunch, we were able to spend time chatting with the Greens, which we enjoyed. We also got familiar with their numerous pets, which included a sweet dog, two cats, a robin, and a tank full of fish and shrimp. Lindsie, who probably dreams of working in a zoo, was in Heaven. Then the Greens made a fantastic meal called Pasta Pizza for dinner—yes, it’s as awesome as it sounds—and I (Mike) was in Heaven myself. All of this added to our thankfulness that we had decided to detour off of Highway 50 and head into Plevna. God clearly wanted us to relax and enjoy ourselves in a perfect little Kansas town.

Unfortunately, Lindsie made the mistake of drinking iced tea at lunch. Normally iced tea is a perfectly acceptable drink at lunch. But Lindsie doesn’t exactly handle caffeine well, which meant that when 3:00 A.M. rolled around, she was still wide awake (fun fact: 3 a.m. is NOT the best time to still be awake when you have a 23-mile day of walking on the agenda for the next morning).

Since Lindsie was exhausted, David and Larissa were kind enough to let us bum around an extra night, which was great anyway because we both wanted to spend more time with their family. We made sure Lindsie didn’t have any more tea, and we were out the door bright and early the next morning on our way toward Hutchinson, which was, as mentioned, about 23 miles away.

Lindsie with the King familyAlthough the day was going to be a long one, we were excited to be on the road and making progress again. And our excitement grew when we were out on the road and got invited to lunch by some people who were driving by. It was an out of the blue invite, and we were quite hungry, so it made for perfect timing. The Kings invited us in and bestowed upon us a buffet of sandwiches, macaroni salad, chips and salsa, fresh fruit, and homemade cookies. We were thankful for Aaron and Amber’s generosity, especially when they didn’t know us and didn’t even know why we were walking across the country. They must have just thought Jaeda was cute. Anyway, we said goodbye to the King family and got ready to finish our walk to Hutchinson.

Thanks to Bob and Norma from Lewis, Kansas, (we met Bob and Norma in the previous blog post), we had a place to stay in Hutchinson. Their daughter, Joni, and son-in-law, Mike, offered to let us stay in their spare bungalow next door. We had a good time getting to know Joni, Mike, and their granddaughter Ivy and her friend Lindsey. Not only did we have a great conversation, but Mike took us for a ride in their 1959 Rambler. Although they asked us to stay an extra day or two, we had already burned through our extra free days in Stafford and Plevna, so we were out bright and early the next morning.

Joni, Mike, Lindsey, Ivy, and LindsieOne thing I just realized I forgot to mention was how blessed we’ve been with weather the past week days. It has been absolutely ridiculous, but the HIGH for the past stretch of our journey temperature-wise was around 85 degrees most days. Before that, the high had consistently been in the mid-to-high-90s, with several days being in the 100+ range. It seems God knew we would have two or three 20+ mile days in our future and decided to cut us a break with the weather. All we’ve heard from Kansans is that they have no idea why it has been so cool the past week. We just smile and say a quiet thanks that God is taking care of us as always.

Anyway, our next stop on the route was Burrton, Kansas. We were planning to stay at Faith Community Bible Church in Burrton, and we were looking forward to a good day of walking and a better night of rest. After a pretty uneventful day, we got to Burrton in the early afternoon. Pastor Travis Heneha was waiting for us at the church, and he showed us where we’d be sleeping. Then he offered to let us go to his house to meet his family, take showers, and eat some dinner. It was an offer we couldn’t refuse (not that we would have wanted to).

Mike and the Heneha familyAfter a great afternoon of talking with Travis, his wife, Jamie, and his two sons, Trey and Nathanial, we took our showers, ate some delicious pizza, and headed back to the church. We got the wonderful night’s rest we were hoping for, and were once again out the door just as the sun was rising. It’s always so peaceful out on the road in this early morning hours, and it definitely makes walking along the highway a little more relaxing when the road is empty and people are still asleep in bed.

From Burrton we headed toward Newton, which is a bigger city in this part of Kansas. We were staying at Grace Community Church in Newton, and it was a pretty big church. We talked with Janelle, the secretary there, and also met Christina and Edith, two other women who worked in the church office. We had a great conversation with them, and then we went to start setting up in the gym for the evening. A few minutes later Christina came in and invited us to stay at her house. Since we liked her so much, we would have said yes right away, but she started talking about showers, and a brand new guest bed, and dinner, so we had to wait for all of those great things before we could actually tell her yes. Plus, she and her husband, Brian, have two of their own dogs, so there’s no way Lindsie was saying no.

Lindsie with Christina, Edith, and Janelle (from left to right)As you can probably guess, we had a great night with Christina. We talked for a loooong time, ate a fantastic meal, and Lindsie got to enjoy some Blue Bell Homemade Ice Cream, which is better than words can describe. Having lived in Texas (where it’s from…and where Christina is from…), I was familiar with Blue Bell and had told Lindsie in the past about how tasty it was, but it was something she needed to experience for herself. Although my lactose-intolerance means no ice cream for me, I was happy Linds got to enjoy it. A little jealous. But mostly happy.

After a great night of sleep in the new, extra comfy guest bed, we made our way back to the church to get our carts and head down the road. We said a goodbye prayer with Christina and continued our journey.

Our original plan was to stop in Whitewater, but we realized how much energy we had and decided we could push an extra 11 miles to nearby Potwin, Kansas. Thanks to an early morning call from Kathy in Potwin, we were offered a place to stay at the Potwin Christian Church. After a 24-mile day to Potwin, we arrived at the church. As always, we were thankful to have a place to stay. Even better, Kathy and her husband, John, had family in town and they were cooking out. For dinner, they brought us burgers, corn on the cob, potatoes, gazpacho, fruit, and fresh-baked cookies. We were very full, and very appreciative.

Mike and KathyBefore we knew it, it was time for bed. The next morning brought two things: the 4th of July and a 13-mile trip to El Dorado (pronounced ell-doh-ray-doh). We were thankful that the trip wasn’t too long, because it was finally starting to warm up a little bit out on the road. We reached the Presbyterian Church in El Dorado, where Carla, the church secretary, had invited us to stay in the Youth Center, which was a separate building from the church.

Carla and her husband, Gary, were fun to chat with. After a little while, they went over to their place so we could get set up for the night. After Linds and I watched a movie on the gigantic projector screen in the youth room, Carla called and asked if we wanted to enjoy some 4th of July grilling. We thought that sounded both fun and patriotic, so we went out and ate burgers, corn on the cob, potatoes, and fruit with them. (Yes, it was quite similar to our meal in Potwin, and we were perfectly fine with that.)

Mike, Gary, and CarlaThat night we wanted to go to bed early, but it seemed the entire town of El Dorado decided to shoot off fireworks. Guess that makes sense, seeing as it was the 4th of July. Either way, we didn’t get to sleep right away, but it was still a fun night.

At this point, the blog is mostly caught up, so it’s probably a good place for me to stop and get ready for bed. We’ve got another chunk of miles to walk tomorrow, after all.

Jaeda is pooped...riding in the cart is hard...Thanks so much for everyone’s encouragement and prayers of support, as always. We’ve been so, so thankful to know how many people are excited for us to keep making progress across Kansas. We’ve now walked over 2,000 miles total, and we’re officially beyond halfway to our destination, which is exciting!

On a final note, we want to thank God for keeping us so well provided for these past few weeks. It seems weird because we haven’t exactly had a ton of miraculous experiences to share, but we know it’s a blessing that God has kept us safe on the road and continues to put us in contact with wonderful, incredible people everywhere we go. We feel more and more blessed every day that we’re out here, and more and more thankful for God’s provision and protection.

Anyway, hope you all had a great 4th of July, and we’ll be back with another post soon!

-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda

Learning the Pros and Cons of Kansas Wind

Mike, Katie, Alex and Gretchen the dogAs you may remember from our last post, Lindsie and I were just getting ready to leave Lakin, Kansas, to head toward Garden City. I was pumped about Garden City because a friend I knew from college had sent me a Facebook message saying she’d read about our trip and wondered if I needed a place to stay in Garden City.

We left Lakin that morning and wove our way around the fallen tree branches and other debris that the storm the night before had torn up. On the plus side, most of the storm clouds were still around and we had some good cloud coverage for the first three hours of our walk that morning, which is always a blessing—mostly because we had a 25-mile walk ahead of us.

Originally we’d planned to stop halfway to Garden City and have my college friend, Alex, pick us up and bring us to her place for the night, then drop us off where we’d left off that next morning. Instead, we felt motivated enough to push the full 25 miles to Garden City. Although it started to get a little warm around 1:00 p.m., we were so close we could taste it and we finally limped our way into town around 2:30 p.m.

Some beautiful sky magic, courtesy of Lindsie's photography skillsLindsie was just about in Heaven when we arrived, as Alex is a foster pet owner and was ALSO dogsitting for a friend, so there were all kinds of dogs running around for Lindsie to hug and play with. Our own dog, Jaeda, was less impressed with all of the dog action and spent a majority of her time hiding in the bedroom. Jaeda’s not exactly a dog person.

Alex and her sister, Katie, wanted to take us out to eat, so we enjoyed a delicious meal at one of the Mexican restaurants in town. Then we went back to Alex’s and laid low with the pets until it was time for bed. The next day would be a short one, since we were only going 13 miles to Pierceville, Kansas. (Weird when a 13-mile walk is considered a “short day,” right?) Once we got to Pierceville, Alex planned to kindly pick us up and bring us back to her place for an extra night so we’d have a place to stay again.

Jaeda meets a turtle

The plan worked perfectly, and we only had one slight hitch in that 13-mile walk. My (Mike’s) cell phone fell off my cart without us realizing it. Rather than walk the 13 miles back scouring the ground for a missing cell phone, we went through the process of getting a new phone through the insurance company Verizon uses. My new phone was OVERNIGHTED to the next church on our route, and it got there several hours before we even did. Hooray for Asurion insurance!

Also, our 13-mile walk to Pierceville introduced Jaeda to turtles, which, up to that point, she had never seen live and in-person. We were afraid she’d do something mean to them (possibly a safe assumption, based on her demeanor when she saw the first one), so we kept her pretty far away. It was, however, funny watching her investigate every single rock on the road from that point on just in case it might be a turtle.

Anyway, Alex and her sister made a FANTASTIC dinner that night, grilling out some pork chops, pork steaks, and more. Needless to say, we were happy. And full. Very, very full.

Richard, Marca, and Lindsie

The next morning, Alex borrowed a friend’s truck and drove us out to where we’d left off the day before in Pierceville. We said an appreciative goodbye and began trekking along Highway 50 again toward Cimarron. Thanks to Richard Deimund, the pastor at First Baptist Church, we had a place to sleep for the night, so we made good time and got to the church just ahead of a small thunderstorm. It was sort of like God just held back the rain for us until we were literally walking up to the front steps, which was pretty awesome.

We had fun talking with Richard for a little while, and then he and his wife, Marca, invited us to dinner later that evening. We went to this great pizza place in town and enjoyed several slices of pizza. All in all, it was a really good night full of tasty food and fun stories.

The next morning we set out bright and early to head toward Dodge City, one of the biggest towns on this recent stretch of our route. Dodge City is famous for the expression “Get the heck outta Dodge” as well as being the setting for the classic TV series Gunsmoke. Lots of history for sure.

Mike, Lindsie, Thurmon, Greg, Heidi, Stephanie, and Sean (left to right)

Dodge City definitely didn’t disappoint. Greg Savage, the pastor at the First Southern Baptist Church, said we could stay at his church, which was a wonderful place. He and his wife, Heidi, also invited us out to dinner with a few friends, Sean and Stephanie, and a gentleman named Thurmon who was also staying at the church that night in order to travel the next morning with a group heading out to do fire relief efforts in Cañon City.

For those who don’t know, Cañon City—where we stayed a few weeks ago—got ravaged by fires a few weeks ago and the damage was pretty rough. So please say a prayer for the folks there when you can.

The Boot Hill Museum gunfightAnyway, we enjoyed a tasty dinner and then Heidi and Stephanie wanted us to see the famous Boot Hill Museum gunfight. It was a fun little production, and we really enjoyed the experience (as well as the shaved ices they treated us to after the gunfight). After all of that excitement, we went back to the church and got ready for bed. After a solid night of rest, we realized our bodies were still worn out after six straight days of walking. Thankfully, Greg was kind enough to let us stay at the church a second night, so we rested, caught up on some things, and prepared for a good day of walking after another night of sleep.

Mike and Lindsie with the Boot Hill Museum gunfightersThe next morning we set out for Spearville, which wasn’t too far away but still made for a full day of walking. We got there in pretty good time and made our bed for the night at the St. John Catholic Church. Father Ted Stoecklein welcomed us, offered us a shower, and introduced us to his dog, Doug, all of which made for a nice afternoon. Then we got some sleep and moved on down the road the next day.

That next day ended up being one of the hardest days of this entire walk. As mentioned in the title of this post, we learned the pros and cons of Kansas wind as we made our way into Kinsley.
Mike and Father TedYou see, we were traveling west-to-east along Highway 50. And unfortunately, 30-40 mile per hour winds were traveling south-to-north across Highway 50. Since Kinsley was about 20 miles away from Spearville, we ended up getting BLASTED by the wind for about 7 hours. Besides the wind pounding the sides of us (and our carts), we also had the fun experience of trucks driving by that would blast us in the face with wind, then we’d get hit again by the wind from the south when the truck would pass us. People probably thought we looked like little rag dolls getting tossed around by an overactive 3-year-old.

We stopped for a rest at a gas station in Offerle, mostly just to get our bearings and regroup. While we were sitting on the curb by the gas station, a gentleman named Carlos came over to talk with us. Carlos and his wife, Jasmine, are on their way to Pennsylvania to live out on the east coast for at least year, basically because that’s what God is telling them to do. Carlos and Jasmine were delightful, and after they prayed for us (and we prayed for them), we vowed to reconnect with them when we hit the east coast in a few months. We’re truly excited for that to happen, for obvious reasons.

Lindsie, Jasmine, and Carlos

Eventually we limped our way into Kinsley, looking like zombies stumbling around town after the zombie apocalypse. We had hoped to stay with a church in town but never got ahold of any of them, so we made our way to the RV park in town. The wind was still brutal, so we paid a little extra to spend the night in one of the campers available for use at the RV park. As the wind howled outside, we decided it was a wise investment.

Of course, the wind wasn’t all negative. On the plus side, it had been a really hot day on our walk to Kinsley, but since the wind was blowing so hard, we never really even felt the sun. We’ve noticed that even on the rough and really windy days, it helps us beat the heat, so we don’t want it to seem like we’re only complaining. We just wouldn’t mind if God turned down his windometer to like…10 miles per hour or less instead of 20 miles per hour or more. But we’re thankful to be cool nonetheless.

The crew from the Christian Church in LewisThe next morning was Sunday, meaning we wanted to catch a church service if at all possible. Thankfully, the next stop on our map was only 10 miles away. That meant that if we were up and moving quickly enough, we could make it to Lewis, Kansas, in time for any 10:00 service easily, and possibly even a 9:30 service if we hurried.

We still hadn’t figured out a place to stay in Lewis, but we decided we’d cross that bridge when we got to it. After a cool, much less windy morning of walking, we got to Lewis Christian Church about 30 minutes before their service started. The congregation was meeting for Sunday School in the church building, and I (Mike) sort of just walked in and interrupted. But it all turned out well, as the wonderful congregation members were happy to have us stay the night at the church. After enjoying a fun service, two church members, Bob and Norma, took us out for lunch in town. We had a great time talking with them while we ate, and we had the rest of the afternoon to do some cart repair work and relax.

Our hiding place from the rain (with Mike looking like a goon)It was a wonderful night, and we were up and moving again the next day, making great progress toward Macksville. Thanks to Sean and Stephanie from Dodge City, we had a contact and a place to stay in Macksville. After a rainy day of walking (a short portion of which was spent hiding in a tent-like Department of Transportation structure, which we were thankful for), we made it to Mike and Kelly’s house. They had a guest room ready to go for us, and we made it in time for both lunch and dinner, which was basically a bonus blessing.

Mike helps run the local Christian Motorcycle Association chapter, which led to some great stories and perspectives on faith. Lindsie and I had a great time with them both, and we were extra thankful to be inside their house when a pretty massive storm began to hit around 7:00 p.m. Once again, God was looking out for us.

Mike, Kelly, and Lindsie

The next morning, after Kelly made some delicious cinnamon biscuits for breakfast, we set out toward Stafford, Kansas. But before we got to Stafford, we had an exciting event happen on the side of the road.

Some fellow cross-country walkers (yes, more people than just the two of us do this crazy thing, but only a few) met up with us on the road! Josh and Kerri are walking across the country as a ministry effort as well. Unlike us, they’re traveling east to west, and you can learn more about their journey at Anyway, they’re going through Kansas right now too and they had some friends drive them up to meet us on the road as we made our way into Stafford. On top of that, Josh and Kerri brought us Subway for lunch. The funny thing is that Lindsie had prayed earlier in the morning that Stafford would have a Subway so we could have it for lunch. While they don’t have a Subway in Stafford, God answered Lindsie’s prayer anyway by bringing a Subway sandwich right to her hands on the side of the road. Further proof that He even cares about the little things.

Mike, Lindsie, Jaeda, Skitch, Kelli, and JoshWe were really pumped to actually meet Josh, Kerri, and their own little puppy, Skitch, who—not surprisingly, I guess—Jaeda ignored the whole time. It was a blessing to share some stories, exchange info, and get to pray with each other before going our separate ways. Although Josh and Kerri don’t plan to follow the same route west that we took from San Francisco (sorry friends who would’ve liked to meet them), we’re excited for them to make progress whichever direction they go.

Anyway, this post is once again longer than most people probably care to read. I promise I’ll try to get better about keeping them shorter, especially now that we’re more or less caught up with things. I’ll have an update on our time in Stafford and beyond soon though.

Thanks for reading, and please feel free to keep sending us prayer requests if you have them. We still have plenty of time out here on the road to pray for you, and we’d be happy to do so.

Stay blessed, and we’ll be back with more soon!

-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda

Goodbye, Colorado… Hello, Kansas!

Frankie, Phyllis, Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda

Our friends from Hasty (again)! There are Micah and Galan on the far right.If you’re the kind of person who pays extremely close attention to our updates (and our route), you may have noticed from our previous “journey update” post that I (Mike) mentioned our next stop on the road would be Granada, Colorado. I’d just like to point out that sometimes even average writers such as myself make mistakes. After leaving Hasty, Colorado, our next stop was actually Lamar, Colorado. This is important to note because Lamar treated us marvelously and it would be a shame not to give credit where credit is due.

After packing up bright and early and setting out from Hasty, we made a nice 21-mile push to Faith Friends Church in Lamar. The pastor, Galan Burnett, and his son, Micah, had been at the Bible study in Hasty the night before (if you missed that post, you can read about it here), so we were excited to get to see them again so soon.

Even though it was a 21-mile push, we made good time and got to the church with a little time to stretch out and relax before dinner. We also found out Galan and Micah were providing dinner for us, which was a wonderful blessing. We met some members of their church as well as another guest named David, who is doing missionary work over in Ireland. It was just a fantastic night of good food and even better fellowship, and we’re always thankful for fellowship.

Karen, Rory, and LindsieAlthough we should have left the next day, our friends from La Junta had encouraged us to connect with the pastor at the Presbyterian Church in Lamar. We decided to give it a try, and were happy to find out Rory Gillespie (the pastor) was willing to let us sleep in their church if we wanted to stay in Lamar an extra night. We took Rory up on his offer and planned to stick around. We spent a few hours watching movies, grabbing showers, and hanging out with Micah Burnett, then moved on down to the Presbyterian church.

Rory and his wife, Karen, treated us to a delicious dinner at the local truck stop (I promise, it was better than it sounds), and then Lindsie and I got ready to get some sleep. Of course, that wasn’t until after Karen had taken Lindsie to Walmart to stock up on supplies. Seriously, the kindness of the people in this part of the country is just overwhelming sometimes.

Mike, Kathy, and Dennis

The next day we said goodbye to Lamar and made our way to Granada, Kansas. Thanks to Pastor Kathy Leathers, we had a church to stay at in town. Kathy also pastored the Methodist Church in nearby Holly, Colorado, so we were on our own for the evening in Granada, which ended up making for a nice, relaxing night.

We got up early the next morning to make a strong push to Holly. Kathy had told us there was an outdoor church service that morning if we could make it in time. We made the short 10-mile journey to Holly and got there just in time for the service to start. We learned that the service was being led by former-60s-and-70s-pop-star-turned-pastor Frankie Valens and his lovely wife, Phyllis. Before it started, they introduced themselves and insisted we stay at their church in Syracuse, Kansas, when we made it to Syracuse. We were thankful, particularly because Lindsie had just finished praying we’d get in touch with a church in Syracuse we could stay at. Once again, God was providing for us.

Mike, Lindsie, and the Holly United Methodist Church youth group

The town of Holly treated us wonderfully. First, Sherri, one of the congregation members at Holly United Methodist Church, gave us a gift card to Subway (once again, a blessing, since Lindsie had seen the Subway sign when we arrived in Holly earlier that day and mentioned she’d LOVE to have Subway soon). After that, Kathy brought us to her and her husband Dennis’s house for showers and laundry—always a blessing on the road. Finally, Kathy invited some great kids from the youth group to come talk with us about our journey, the work God is doing in our lives, and the blessing our relationship with Christ has been. And there was pizza for dinner. Needless to say, it was a fantastic night.

We woke up early the following morning and began the push to make our way out of Colorado and into Kansas. Few things feel as good as crossing another state off of our list, and we waved goodbye to Colorado as we made our way into the Sunflower State.

Frankie, Phyllis, Mike, Lindsie, and JaedaWe made it to Syracuse that same day, and Frankie and Phyllis were SO excited to have us there. After showing us around the church, Frankie showed us the “guest room” we’d be staying in. We had our own bed, comfortable couches, two fans running on high, and our own bathrooms and showers. Talk about a blessing.

As I mentioned, Frankie is a former pop star—some of his hits include “This Magic Moment,” “She Cried,” and “Smoke Gets In Your Eyes”—and he and Phyllis also spent about twenty years doing traveling ministry work. Needless to say, they were familiar with life on the road and they went above and beyond to make sure Lindsie and I were taken care of.

Unfortunately, there was a heat wave rolling through Kansas right when we got to Syracuse, and the predicted temperatures for the following days were 108°, 109°, 107°. Although Lindsie and I wanted to make progress, the temperature was hitting the low-to-mid-90s by about 9 o’clock in the morning, meaning most of our day would have been spent in extreme heat. As a result, Frankie and Phyllis were able to convince us to stick around for an extra couple of days. Then they went above and beyond and offered to pick us up after a day of walking and bring us back so we wouldn’t have to camp on the side of the road the next night.

Mike, Lindsie, Charlotte, and Roy -- More friends from Syracuse!All in all, our time in Syracuse was fantastic. We were incredibly well-fed, we met TONS of great church and community members in Syracuse, and our time with Frankie and Phyllis was unforgettable. PLUS, we got to enjoy a special Father’s Day performance from Frankie and Phyllis at the Syracuse V.I.P. Center, which was a real treat.

If you’re ever in Syracuse, Kansas, on a Sunday, definitely stop in at the First Christian Church and check out a service. I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.

Sadly, we eventually had to say goodbye to Frankie, Phyllis, and the lovely town of Syracuse (despite their best efforts to convince us to move there permanently). We made our way on down the road to Lakin, Kansas, where Frankie had called ahead to find us a place to stay. We connected with Michelle Brookman who works at the Methodist Church in Lakin, and she invited us to stay at her family’s house. That meant we’d have a nice bed to sleep in, a tasty dinner, and a fun night with new people to meet.

Michelle, Richard, Logan, and MikeOnce we got to Michelle’s, I noticed right away that they had comic book storage boxes lying on the floor. I made a comment about them, and Michelle smiled and said, “If you like comic books, you’ll probably enjoy staying here.” Sure enough, Michelle’s husband, Richard, is a HUGE comic book fan. He even has his own podcast that focuses on comic books and pop culture. While Lindsie took a lengthy recovery nap, Richard, Michelle, and I discussed our walk, as well as Richard’s and my mutual love for comics, and plenty of other stuff. Then I got to take a look at Richard’s impressive comic book collection and equally impressive Star Wars action figure collection. It was definitely a change of pace compared to our usual routine, and I enjoyed getting a chance to talk comics with someone besides Lindsie (who doesn’t exactly enjoy talking comics).

As evening rolled around, Michelle whipped up a tasty dinner, and we enjoyed a meal with Richard, Michelle, and their son, Logan. Then we went to sleep and were incredibly thankful to be inside as a massive windstorm began raging outside. Once again, the Lord was taking care of us.

All the pretty horses...

Up next on the map was Garden City, Kansas, where a friend of mine from college had offered to let us stay. Getting to see a familiar face on this walk is a rare opportunity, so Lindsie and I were excited to set off to Garden City. Along the way, we noticed TONS of fallen tree branches, some of them massive. The storm that had torn through Lakin definitely did some damage. We said an extra prayer of thanks that God had kept us indoors for the night, since our tent would probably have been ripped to shreds by the wind.

Anyway, our adventure into Garden City will continue with the next post. When the next post goes up, we should finally be caught up again, and I might be able to go back to slightly shorter posts than these. Until then, thanks for your patience, thanks for reading, and thanks for your prayers and encouragement. These past few weeks have left us feeling overwhelmingly blessed by God and His provision for us. I can’t imagine how we would have made it this far safely and soundly if He weren’t guiding every step.

Another jackrabbit...can you tell Lindsie went to SDSU?

Luke 6:38 tells us, “Give, and you will receive. Your gift will return to you in full—pressed down, shaken together to make room for more, running over, and poured into your lap. The amount you give will determine the amount you get back.” If that’s the case, there are a ton of people in eastern Colorado and western Kansas who should be getting plenty back, as they’ve given us more than we could have ever hoped for.

Thanks again for reading, and we’ll be back with more soon. Until then, we hope you’ll be blessed.

-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda

We’re In The (Syracuse, Kansas) News!

We're the kings of New York! (That's a Newsies reference, for those who weren't aware...)

Just wanted to let you all know that the Storming Jericho crew was featured in the latest edition of the Syracuse Journal in Syracuse, Kansas. If you want to read the story they wrote about us, click the link here (or click the photo on the left) and scroll down to Page 4 of the newspaper.

One thing I (Mike) want to clarify – My comment about Lindsie just “being a wife” was meant in a joking way, not in a mean, overly-controlling husband way (which is how I’m afraid it might sound when you just read it in a text format).

We’re truly thankful to the Syracuse Journal staff for having an interest in our story, and we’re extra-thankful they were willing to keep in the parts about our mission being so focused on learning to let God provide for us.

We’ll have another status update coming soon, but as you can tell from the story, things are going well. Also, you may have noticed that the Syracuse Journal is, in fact, located in Kansas. That means we’ve officially crossed Colorado off of our list of states walked through and we’ve moved onto Kansas. Now we just need prayers for cool weather and calm winds.

Thanks for reading, and we’ll have more soon!

-Mike and Lindsie (and Jaeda)

Old Friends, New Friends, and A Visit to Whit’s End

Adventuring in OdysseyYou may remember that our last post ended with Lindsie and her high school friend Beth screaming and jumping and hugging after seeing each other for the first time in three years. As we loaded up some of our stuff to head to Beth’s apartment in Colorado Springs, Lindsie and I got to meet Beth’s boyfriend, Matt, who was kind enough to drive and pick us up.

Colorado Springs was great. We stayed with Beth for several days and had a chance to go to a Bible study, attend a church service, meet some awesome new friends at a party hosted by members of Matt and Beth’s church, and, maybe most importantly to Lindsie, make a special visit to the Adventures in Odyssey/Whit’s End adventure area at Focus On The Family Headquarters.

Mike, Lindsie, Beth, and Matt

We also got to enjoy some great conversations. And delicious specialty-flavor sodas from the soda shop Beth works at in Colorado Springs, Squeak Soda Shop. I guess what I’m trying to say is that the entire visit to Colorado Springs was awesome, and we’re thankful to Beth for going above and beyond to take care of us while we were there.

Eventually, however, we had to make our way back to the walk. After saying a sad goodbye to Beth and Matt, we got dropped back off at the church where we’d been storing our carts. After digging them out of the garage (and getting to see Michele again, as well as Jen’s husband Mark), we set off down the road toward Praise Assembly of God Church in Pueblo. Thanks to my former boss at Evangel University, Michael Crawford, we had a connection at the church who happened to be an EU grad.

Mike, Brandon, and April

After a warm and extremely windy day of walking, we reached Praise Assembly. There we met Brandon Montoya, who helped us shove our carts into a closet and then took us back to his house where his wife, April, was working on a fantastic dinner. We ended up spending a couple of days with Brandon and April, partially because we really enjoyed hanging out with them, and partially because they were willing on one of the days to drive out and pick us up so we wouldn’t have to push our carts down the road. We also had a chance to talk with the fantastic kids that make up the Praise Assembly youth group.

All in all, our time in Pueblo was really fun. We had more delicious food there thanks to Brandon and April, and we felt like the Lord had added yet another set of new friends to our lives, which we grow more and more thankful for every day.

Mike walks bravely into the dust storm

After finally leaving Pueblo for good, we made our way down the road yet again. We got absolutely BLASTED by the wind and dust–it was officially a “dust storm” according to some people we met while walking–and after several miles of getting caked with dust, we made it to Fowler, which was a pretty small town that just so happened to have an RV park. We met Floyd and Sheryll Ridgway, the owners of the RV park, and they were kind enough to let us stay for free. They were both excited about our walk and they were also excited for themselves because that day marked the official transfer of ownership from the RV park’s previous owner to them. We were pumped for them as well, and more than thankful for their generosity.

Mike, Floyd, and SherrylAs the sun came up the next day, we continued down the road, heading toward Rocky Ford, Colorado. Before that though, we met a cowboy poet named Auggie, who shared a few poems and told us about his life. All in all, Auggie was awesome, and it made for a nice start to our morning.

Anyway, we knew Rocky Ford was a decent sized town, so we started calling churches to see if any would let us stay in their building for the night. Unfortunately, most didn’t answer and the one church that did answer told us no. We were bummed. Although Rocky Ford has a campground, it was highly (highly) recommended to us that we not stay there, as it was located in the roughest part of town. Ultimately we ended up having to get a hotel room, which was a slight bummer, but sometimes that’s the way it goes. We were still thankful there was a hotel room to get, as it was much better (and safer) than sleeping in a city park or something.

Auggie, the Cowboy Poet

The next morning we woke up and started making phone calls with the hope that we could find a place to stay at the next stop on our route, La Junta, Colorado (pronounced “la hunt-ah,” which drives the Spanish major in me crazy). Thankfully, we got an answer from the very last church we called, La Junta First Presbyterian Church. The pastor there, MJ Romano, said she had no problem with us staying there for a night. So after a 20+ mile day, we pulled up to the church. MJ came to let us in, and we were incredibly thankful for a refreshingly cool basement and a chance to rest our weary bodies.

MJ from First Presbyterian Church in La Junta

The following morning we set out, but, unfortunately, Lindsie wasn’t feeling the greatest. We hadn’t realized how hot it was supposed to be (100+ degrees) and we definitely got a later start than we should have. After two miles of misery, we decided to ask if MJ would let us stick around for another night so we could prepare better for the heat the next day.

Although MJ was willing, it seemed the church building itself wasn’t. Thanks to some water issues, the water had to be shut off, so it wouldn’t have been any good for us to sit there all day. But MJ wasn’t giving up that easily. She called one of the congregation members, a gentleman named Leonard, who had an extra guest room and was more than willing to let us use it.

We got to Leonard’s house, and it was fantastic. Plenty of air conditioning, lots of Gatorade, and some tasty meals, plus a comfortable bed to spend the night in. And showers. Showers are always good. We felt very blessed.

The crew from the youth group in La JuntaAs an added treat, MJ had a great group of kids from the youth group (and some of their parents) come talk with us at Leonard’s house after dinner. It was a blast getting to know them better, having a chance to talk with them about the adventure God has set us on, and answering their questions. We are always so thankful when people want to hear us ramble about our journey, as we know it’s a chance to bring glory to God for taking such good care of us on this walk.

After a great night at Leonard’s, we set out on the road much earlier than we had the day before. We were on our way toward Las Animas, where, thanks to our friends Andrew and Vicki from Penrose, Colorado, we already had a church to stay at. Few things are as reassuring as knowing we already have a safe place to spend the night. We pushed our way toward Las Animas Friends Church, and were excited to make it there in pretty good time.

Pastor West from the church actually had other obligations that night, so Lindsie and I were on our own (which can actually be nice sometimes, as it gives us a chance to catch up on things we need to get down). It was a low-key night, and the next day we hit the road again toward Hasty, Colorado.

Our friends from Hasty!Once again, thanks to the Evangelical Friends Church network, we had a place to stay in Hasty, and it ended up being a spectacular night. We arrived at the church on Wednesday, which is Bible study night at their church. Along with Bible study, the group always does a meal (that night it was barbecue), and we were thankful to be eating something besides Clif Bars and peanut butter.

The group in Hasty was AWESOME. We had an incredibly uplifting night spiritually, and we really enjoyed getting to know everyone who was there. We just felt blessed beyond explanation, and it seemed like they went above and beyond to make it a great night for us. Also, their church does a really fun birthday song, and, since it was my (Mike’s) birthday, they performed it for us. So we’ll include that video below. It was just a great night overall.

The next day we made our way bright and early toward Granada, Colorado (pronounced “grenade-ah,” which, once again, drives the Spanish major in me crazy), where we had yet MORE friends from the Evangelical Friends Churches ready and willing to help us out. Pastor Galan Burnett and his son, Micah, not only offered us a night in their church, but they also made us dinner that night, offered us showers, let us do laundry, fed us lunch the next day, and just fortified us with great conversation and spiritual encouragement. It just seems like the Evangelical Friends Churches are more than willing to go above and beyond to take care of us, and we couldn’t be more thankful.

A jackrabbit (Lindsie was very excited)Although we would normally have moved on down the road the next day, we did not. But since this post is already lengthy, I will once again have to cut it off here (even if there is more to share). Thankfully, we’ve almost caught the blog up to our current location. By the next post, I think it’ll all be in sync again.

We truly appreciate the prayers and spiritual reinforcement we’ve received from EVERYONE we’ve met along this stretch of our journey. It seems like God just continues to put people in our path who radiate His love and hospitality, and it has been a blessing in every sense of the word.

Thanks for following along with the blog, and we’re excited to post more soon. Until then, please don’t be afraid to let us know if we can be praying for you or encouraging you in any other way. As we’ve said before, we certainly have the time for it out here as we walk and we’re glad to do it.

Have a blessed day, and we’ll be back with more soon.

-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda

Good Food and Friends from Cañon City to Pueblo

Jaeda taking a breakWhen we left off our last blog post, the Storming Jericho trio was just about to enter Cañon City, Colorado. And although we were excited to be reaching a new city, we were also slightly nervous. Due to the fact that

we hadn’t had cell phone reception or wi-fi between towns, we hadn’t been able to follow our usual pattern of emailing and calling churches in search of a safe place to spend the night. As a result, we were basically rolling into Cañon City with no guaranteed place to stay. We had tried to call a few churches late on Saturday evening, but we didn’t find much success.

Our only hope was waking up earlier than usual on Sunday and trying to book it into Cañon City so we could catch the pastor at one of the city’s churches before the church closed for the day. We sort of hoped that if we looked ragged and worn out enough, there was no way a kindhearted pastor could reject us if we asked to spend the night on the floor of a church nursery or youth room.

We reached Cañon City around 11:45 a.m. and made our way toward the first two churches on our map. Disappointingly, both churches were empty and locked up for the day. As we sat on the sidewalk contemplating what to do next, a feeling urged me to head toward the Methodist Church, which was about 4 blocks away. At this point it was after noon, which didn’t bode well for finding a pastor still around.

As we pulled up to the Methodist Church, Lindsie and I were pumped to see numerous church members still lingering after what must’ve been the late service. We asked about the pastor, and a nice congregation member led me through the church to the fellowship hall. There, I apologized for the short notice and asked Pastor Eric if they might have a place in the church where we could safely spend the night. He told me to wait just a moment and he’d figure something out.

A few minutes later, Pastor Eric introduced me to a lovely woman named Diane. She was incredibly excited about our journey and Pastor Eric mentioned that she had a spare bedroom for us (along with a chance to shower and do some laundry), which is an offer we never turn down. Diane was so energetic and so glad to be meeting us that her excitement was contagious. The more we chatted, the more we wanted to sit and talk with Diane all day. And thankfully, we’d have the rest of the afternoon to do just that.

Us, the Delaurentis family, and their gigantic Mastiffs

Also thankfully, our carts fit PERFECTLY in the bed of Diane’s truck, which was a great start to our time with her. As we drove to her house, she filled us in on her life, and we filled her in on ours. Once we got to her (and her husband Mike’s) beautiful house, we sat and talked for another 4-5 hours while we waited for him to come home for dinner. It was such a fantastic conversation that the time just flew by.

After a tasty dinner that Diane and Mike whipped up (they used to own an Italian restaurant, so they really, REALLY knew how to prepare a meal), we took our excitedly-awaited shower and got ready to call it a night. We then got to sleep in one of the most comfortable beds Lindsie and I have ever slept in, which was an added blessing.

The next day we prepared to leave. We said a sad goodbye to our new friends and started making our way out of town. Unfortunately, some storm clouds had begun gathering in order to guide us along our path. As we stood on the edge of town getting rained on and seeing nothing but dark, stormy clouds stretched out on the horizon, we realized it might not be the best day for walking 12 miles.

Since we didn’t want to overstay our welcome with Diane, we contacted one of the churches that had been kind enough to call us back. They hadn’t noticed our message until that day (Monday) and told us we had a place to stay if we were still looking for one.

Since we didn’t want to spend a day walking in thunderstorms, we asked if we could spend the night at the church (Christ Episcopal Church to be specific), and the very kind and helpful Reverend Mark Meyer was more than willing to open up the doors for us. It was a beautiful church, and, equally as important at the time, it was dryer than the falling rain outside.

Mike, Jaeda, and the Hill family

Of course, Diane texted to ask about our progress and Lindsie mentioned we were staying at the church. This was simply unacceptable to Diane, who couldn’t bear to think of us sleeping on the floor of an empty church when she had a perfectly good guest room waiting for us at her house. As a result, we were soon riding in Diane’s truck back to her house once again, and we got to enjoy another tasty meal, a junior high school musical concert (that Diane’s friends’ daughter was performing in) and another night of sleep in that awesome bed. Needless to say, we were thankful.

The next day we actually left Cañon City and made our way toward Penrose, Colorado. It was an easy enough walk, even if it was a little windy and slightly rainy. Fortunately, it was nothing we couldn’t handle, and we pulled into Penrose to connect with Andrew and Victoria from Beaver Park Friend’s Church. Andrew, Victoria and their little son were awesome. Not only did they provide a place for us to sleep, but they also fed us a delicious dinner, offered us showers, and shared a great conversation with us for several hours. It was pretty much exactly what we needed after a day of wind and rain.

In another exciting twist, our friend Melissa (from Gunnison) had to travel to Denver and, conveniently, Penrose was on the way. She stopped in to stay with us at the church in Penrose, and we had a great time chatting with her and giving her an authentic Storming Jericho “camping in a church” experience.

The next morning we said goodbye to Melissa and said goodbye to our new friends from Beaver Park Friend’s Church. We pushed toward Pueblo West, which was a good 18 miles away. The wind was brutal almost the entire way there, but we limped our way into the Sonrise Church parking lot before the end of the day.

Mike, Lindsie, Michele, and Jen

We weren’t at Sonrise for our typical reason for stopping in at a church along the walk (which, sadly, is sleeping on the floor). We were at Sonrise because we were getting picked up that night by Lindsie’s friend Beth and taken back to her place in Colorado Springs, but needed a place to keep our carts so we wouldn’t have to stuff everything into her car. And since it shouldn’t be a surprise that God has gone out of His way to make things good for us, we actually got connected to Sonrise through Diane, who we’d stayed with in Cañon City. Diane’s friend Jen works at Sonrise, and she was more than willing to help us out. Once again, we were excited to see God taking care of us.

We arrived at the church around 4 pm, but Beth wouldn’t get into town until about 9:30 or 10 pm that night. Rather than making us sit out on the curb, Jen went above and beyond and called another lovely woman who worked at the church named Michelle. Michelle lived nearby and wanted to treat us to dinner and a comfortable place to sit while we waited for Beth. Both Jen and another gentleman from the church mentioned that Michelle was an incredible cook, so we shouldn’t turn her down.

Michele, her husband, Tom, and her brother, Jay. And Mike and Lindsie and Jaeda.

Seeing as we hadn’t eaten in hours, we couldn’t have turned Michelle down even if we had wanted to. She showed up and brought us to her house, where she, her husband Tom, and her brother Jay treated us to a night of fun conversation and as-delicious-as-promised dinner. We seriously had a blast talking with them, and I think Jay put it best when he told us right before we left, “It felt like we were just sitting around talking with old friends all night long.” We totally agreed.

Then, before we knew it, Beth (and her boyfriend Matt) had pulled up to Michelle’s house. After many screams and hugs and more screams and more hugs between Beth and Lindsie, we started loading up to head to Beth’s apartment in Colorado Springs.

And that is where this lengthy blog post will conclude. There’s still more to share, but I’ll have to get to it in the next post. For now, thanks for reading, and thanks for your continued prayers and support. We always appreciate it, and we’re excited to be continuing on our journey.

More coming soon!

-Mike and Lindsie (and Jaeda)

Adventures In The Mountains

Beautiful mountains, right?Being in the mountains on a cross-country walk has its positives and negatives. On the one hand, it’s gorgeous every step of the way. Snow-capped mountain peaks look down from on high, streams and rivers flow all over, and the sky is usually pretty beautiful. On the other hand, you’re pushing a 100+ pound cart up and down the various inclines and declines, and the roads in the canyons cause some tight curves and tiny, tiny shoulders to walk along.

So while we’re sad to say goodbye to the beauty surrounding us in the Rockies, we are excited to start walking through slightly less…challenging…terrains. Because as of now, we are just about out of the mountains in Colorado.

A short reading break...

Of course, we had some wonderful experiences along the way. After finally saying goodbye to our dear friends from Gunnison (which you can read more about here), we started on down the road. The first day over Monarch Pass we made it to a campground and met an awesome gentleman named Peter who was riding his bike across the country. Peter’s from Germany, so Lindsie and I were pumped to talk with him about his journey, and even more pumped when he invited us to stay with him if we ever make our way over to Germany. The more contacts around the world the better as far as we’re concerned.

After that, we began making our way into Salida, Colorado. We emailed several churches hoping at least one would be willing to let us camp out for the night. After several emails and several calls, we got ONE response from Pastor Neely at Living Waters Assembly of God Church. He offered to let us use the church for the night (and also use the church’s kitchen, which is always a blessing). We were also thankful that God worked out the timing—as we’ve learned He tends to do—so that we could enjoy a Bible study with Pastor Neely and some of the Living Waters congregation members that same night. Later, as the wind howled outside and the rain continued to come down off and on, Lindsie and I thanked Jesus for Pastor Neely’s willingness to open his church doors to us. Being inside in weather like that is SO much better than being outside, as you can imagine.

Pastor Neely and Linds

The next morning we said goodbye and began walking again. In order to avoid the S-curves we’d heard more and more about in the canyon that Highway 50 travels through, we decided to take a recommended path that wasn’t quite a shortcut, but would help us avoid the more perilous stretches of the highway. While the path was successful, there were two different portions of the road that required us to take off our shoes, walk through the river carrying our carts, and push through some rugged terrain. But as we made our way out of that road in one piece, we were thankful that God had kept us safe the entire way.

After a 21-mile walk (which is pretty aggressive for us), we reached the KOA campground we’d been dreaming of for hours. Warm showers and clean clothes were on their way! Or so we’d thought. But when we limped our way into the office, we were informed that all of the tent sites had been reserved by a local rafting company and there was nowhere for us to stay that night. Needless to say, we were disappointed. But we didn’t have much of a choice other than picking back up and moving down the road. Two miles later we reached a suitable place for camping and decided to call it tonight. Although we were disappointed not to have showers, we were thankful God gave us a safe place to sleep for a night. Especially one that was free.

One of the goats

We woke up the next morning and made a push toward Cañon City. As we walked, a car pulled over on the shoulder and our friend Melissa from Gunnison jumped out. She was on her way to Denver and had been keeping an eye out for us so she could stop when she saw us. After talking with her about our KOA experience the night before, Melissa offered to drive ahead and reserve a tent spot for us at an upcoming campground so we wouldn’t have any more “no room at the inn” fiascos. Her help was certainly appreciated. After that we said goodbye, but she planned to come see us again when she made another trip to Denver a few days later.

We kept on walking, and things went well. The Arkansas River followed our path, which was relaxing and beautiful, and we saw rafters and kayakers all day in the river, a herd of bighorn sheep up on the mountainside, and a cool snake on the side of the road. The only bummer is that, on the way to Cañon City, there’s a pretty lengthy incline up the side of the mountain. Even though it took its toll on us, we did our best to keep pushing up and over. Unfortunately, with about a quarter of a mile left going up the incline, a thunderstorm broke out. Lightning flashed all around us and hail came plummeting down from the skies. It wasn’t very fun.

The cool snakeThankfully, we reached the top and as we came over the crest of the hill, the hail stopped (for the most part) and we were able to keep walking, even if we were soaking wet. Our destination was the Starlite Classic Campground, and the Starlite Classic did not disappoint. The whole place is 1950s themed, and features vintage 1950s campers you can rent and spend the night in. We didn’t do that due to budgetary restrictions, but it’s still an awesome campground.

On top of that, the woman who runs the campground, Sylvia, offered to drive us up the road to a really nice restaurant that was a quarter-mile down the highway. Normally we’d just walk, but after a 20+ mile day that included a gigantic hill and an afternoon spent wet and cold due to the hail and rain, we opted to take the ride. What made it even better is that she drove us out to the restaurant in a classic 1950s car, which was just fun.

Jaeda's ready for bedThe next step of the journey was to make our way into Cañon City. But since plenty of great stuff and great people entered our story in Cañon City, I’m going to stop writing and cut this post off here so it doesn’t turn into TOO much of a novel. We’ll fill in more details with the next blog update.

Anyway, we want to once again so thanks for all of the prayers and support we’ve received since we’ve been back out on the road. There are SO many people who have done an amazing job of keeping us motivated and inspired every day, and for that we are thankful.

A quaint barn on the edge of town

On that note, I just want to remind you that if you have any prayer requests or concerns, please feel free to share them with us, either in the comments below or privately by emailing us at StormingJericho (at) We have LOTS of time for praying and are happy to do that if you have prayer requests, so please don’t be afraid to let us know what we can do.

Thanks again, and we’ll be back with another update very soon!

-Mike, Lindsie, and Jaeda

The Importance Of Friends

Thumbs Up From LindsAs most of you know, Lindsie and I started walking across the country in order to learn to teach ourselves to rely on God and his provision, while also sharing the Word with people we met.

One of the things we hadn’t totally expected was to make friends. That may sound weird, because it makes sense we’d meet people we like along a cross-country walk. But what I mean is that I’m not sure either of us thought we’d meet people who would become lifelong friends.

As you can imagine, we were wrong.

You may remember from our last post that we spent a few days and nights in Gunnison, Colorado. You can read about it here if you haven’t read it yet – Well what we haven’t told you is that we sort of haven’t left Gunnison yet.

You’re probably thinking, “How in the world will you make it across the country if you’re spending forever in just one town?” Here’s how…

Games with friendsFriends.

The wonderful people we’ve met in Gunnison (Rich and Joy, Adam and Hannah, Rich and Shelba, Dave and Melissa, and others) have gone above and beyond to help us stay safe, warm, and dry during this stretch of our journey. Every day that we’ve walked so far, they’ve driven out and picked us up at night so we wouldn’t have to spend the night in the frigid Gunnison weather. In fact, Rich and Joy lent us their hiking backpack, so we didn’t even need to push the carts through the mountains. We just packed a few items, started walking, and at the end of the day they came and picked us up and let us spend the night in their guest bedroom. The next morning, they’d drop us off where we last left off, and we’d make more progress from there.

Crazy, right? But crazy in a good way. Because the entire past week in Gunnison was rainy and thunderstormy, and most nights got to right around 32 degrees at their coldest. And we were mostly walking uphill. It would’ve been pretty miserable, actually.

Instead, as a result of our friends’ generosity, Lindsie and I have been able to spend the past week and a half enjoying great conversations, sharing amazing Christian fellowship, and just being renewed and invigorated before heading on down the road. All because our new friends have been kind enough to go out of their way to make our lives better.

Monarch Pass panaroma - Quite a view!

All of this friendliness culminated in our conquering of Monarch Pass earlier this week. An 11,322-foot summit, Monarch Pass was sort of the final BIG hurdle we’ll face on this Storming Jericho journey. But, thanks to our friends, we were able to climb the entire mountain without our carts because Adam and Hannah offered to drive the carts themselves over Monarch for us the next day. All we had to do was climb. And although it wasn’t an easy climb, we overcame the challenge. In fact, Rich Kettles climbed the whole thing with us, and Joy, Adam, and Hannah came and walked various portions of it with us as well. All in all, it was a pretty awesome way to conquer the monster that had been looming in the distance for weeks.

Conquering Monarch!Hebrews 10:24-25 tells us, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works. And let us not neglect our meeting together, as some people do, but encourage one another, especially now that the day of his return is drawing near.”

And 1 Peter 4:8-9 says, “Most important of all, continue to show deep love for each other, for love covers a multitude of sins. Cheerfully share your home with those who need a meal or a place to stay.”

Needless to say, our friends have done all of those things and more. It’s really crazy how much they’ve done to make this stretch of our journey a great stretch. The problem, of course, is saying goodbye, but we’re confident the Lord will bring our Gunnison friends back into our lives at some point sooner than later. We’ve grown too close to our friends here for it not to happen.

We just wanted to let everyone know how great God can be when you just come to him in prayer. We prayed for help in Gunnison before we even reached town, and God provided an abundance of help in the form of new friends and renewed passion. You can’t ask for much more than that in our opinion.

The GangWe’re thankful beyond words, and we’re excited for the next stretch of the walk. We’ll be continuing along Highway 50 for now, so if you know people (friends, family members, etc.) in the upcoming towns who would be willing to become our new friends, feel free to pass along their names and/or info. We promise we won’t ask them to do as much as our Gunnison friends have done for us.

Thanks, and we’ll be back with more updates soon!

-Mike and Lindsie

P.S. – Speaking of friends, we wanted to share this update from our fellow walking friend, Gary Mitchell. We posted about Gary a few weeks ago, and wanted to share the update he sent us. Here it goes…

From Gary:

I have some good news. After spending 24 days in rehab I’m now able to use a walker. I made it home on Mother’s Day. I will begin in home therapy three days a week for about six to eight weeks. When I was is in rehab, I was bedfast for about a week. They had church services where I was and I talked to the pastor and he asked me if would give my testimony. I said yes, because God has helped me through my health situation. I give God my full recovery up to this point. I give you permission to post this on your web site. I want to thank you and all your readers for your prayers and support.God bless and be safe.

Fellow walker,
Gary Mitchell


P.P.S. – Here’s a bonus photo of us looking exhausted atop Monarch Pass. Just wanted to add it in for fun. Pretty beautiful up there.

An exhausting (but fun) climb

On The Road Again

Wonderful Uncle Charlie!Well, after pausing our walk for a few months in winter and waiting for spring in Sioux Falls, the Storming Jericho team of Mike, Lindsie, and our ferocious guard dog Jaeda, has hit the road again. Thanks to Lindsie’s Uncle Charlie, we got a ride back to the exact same place we’d left off originally in Colorado and were able to begin trekking along just like the good ol’ days.

Although it’s still chilly up in the Rocky Mountains, we’ve been thankful that the weather has at least been bearable. Although we tent camped on the side of the road for a few days, the weather didn’t present anything too challenging. Other than the wind. The wind has been crazy, to the extent that one night I feared our tent would blow away (with us inside of it) and we’d wake up hours later in the land of Oz with Munchkins singing songs outside of our tent.

The beautiful Blue Mesa Reservoir LakeFortunately, we survived the wind, only to wake up the next morning to gigantic, South Dakota-esque snowflakes falling all around us. On a cross-country walk, few things are as disappointing as the idea of traveling down the highway in a grey, blustery, snowy day, and I (Mike) was really dreading telling Lindsie that we’d be walking in a winter wonderland. But, like He always does, the Lord took care of us and within 30 minutes the snow was gone, the sun was out, and we were ready to push onward.

At this point, we were on day 4 of walking without a shower. When you spend 3-5 hours a day being physically active and NOT showering, you really, REALLY start to stink. We had finally reached a National Forest Campground, but none of the running water had been turned on yet (thanks to the nights still getting cold enough to freeze pipes and whatnot). So our plans for cleaning up were thwarted, and we were really hoping we’d get somewhere that had a way for us to clean ourselves.

Mesa RV Resort staff (with Mike)After making a solid 12-mile push toward Gunnison, Colorado (the first real city on our route), we made it to the Mesa RV Resort just a few miles west of Gunnison. The wonderful owners and staff members there went above and beyond to make sure Lindsie, Jaeda, and I were taken care of in every sense of the word, and for that we are extremely thankful. On a side note, we highly recommend spending the night there if you’re ever in or near Gunnison. It’s worth a night’s stay, to say the least.

The next morning, we headed toward Gunnison, which was only 4 miles away from the town. Thanks to the folks at First Baptist Church in Gunnison, we knew we had a place to safely spend the night out of the wind and cold, which was a wonderful incentive to get into town quickly. On the way, however, God decided to work His magic as He always manages to do on this journey.

About ten minutes after setting down the road to Gunnison, we came across a gentleman who was painting a fence. After unweaving himself from the fence posts, he came over to chat. After introducing himself as Adam McKee and asking us about our reasons for walking across the country (teaching ourselves to trust and rely on God and His provision), Adam told us that just hearing the purpose of our walk was a fantastic reminder to him about where his focus should be. He invited us to attend Christian Challenge at the university in town (Western State) that night, and offered to pick us up and bring us when it was time to go. Since fellowship can sometimes be hard to find on the road, we were excited at the opportunity to spend some time with fellow Christians. Needless to say, we were not disappointed.

Our new friends in Gunnison (left to right: Rich, Joy, Rachel, Mike, Hannah, Adam, Rich, and Shelba)We went back to the church to spend the night, ready for our first night of indoor sleep since resuming the walk. There was only one problem—Lindsie had a cold that had developed from slight cough to full-fledged stuffy-nosed, congested throat misery. Walking across the country isn’t easy. Walking across the country with a cold is hard. Walking through the Rocky Mountains with a cold is just awful. So when Adam and his wife Hannah invited us to stay at their place the following night, we decided it was an offer we couldn’t pass up. Any chance to get Lindsie healthier was worth it for us. Plus, we really liked Adam and Hannah, as well as a few of their friends we’d met at Christian Challenge that night.

The next day in Gunnison was a treat. We hung out with Adam and Hannah, and also got to go to a game night with a bunch of really great people. It was there that we met Rich and Joy Kettles, who, like Adam and Hannah, invited us to stick around until Lindsie was healthy (or at least healthier). Because Lindsie still sounded like a honking goose when she coughed, we decided to accept the offer. We spent a couple of great days with Rich and Joy, Adam and Hannah, and also spent some quality time with Rich and Shelba Townsend, who do ministry work in Gunnison. And, thanks to the timing, we got to attend church and Sunday school with Rich and Joy, which was an added blessing. Lindsie also got to attend a bridal shower for a lovely young lady named Heather, which was both random and fun for her. It’s funny to see what activities you get involved in when you make new friends during a cross-country walk.

Yay for wedding showers!

All in all, after 4 nights in Gunnison, it is, unfortunately, time for us to move on. Although Lindsie’s not quite 100%, we’re going to have to make some progress down the road or this journey will never end.

We want to thank all of the people in Gunnison who went out of their way to take care of us. It’s one thing to have a place to stay for a night or two. It’s another thing to be surrounded by fellow believers and people who truly just want to lift us up in prayer and see us succeed in our journey. It was a great chance for both me and Lindsie to get refilled spiritually, and we are extremely thankful for that opportunity.

The crazy thing is that, right before we started walking the morning we first met Adam, Lindsie and I prayed that God would put some people in our path who would make us feel welcome and that we could spend some time with on a spiritual level. We certainly didn’t expect God to put an entire GROUP of fellow Christians in our path, but He certainly seems to enjoy blowing our expectations out of the water on a regular basis. God’s pretty cool that way.

Anyway, we’ll soon be heading on down the road from here—the 11,500-foot Monarch Pass looming in the distance. Although we’re not thrilled about the challenge it will present, we have faith that God will make our climb as doable as we could hope for. It’s possible that with some good timing and some willing help, we can get our 100-pound carts up to the top before we make the climb ourselves, which would be fantastic. Either way, we know the Lord will take care of us.

Thanks so much for your prayers, and we’ll have another update as soon as possible. For now, we just ask that you pray for sunny days and warm nights as we finish our journey through the Rockies. And as always, please don’t hesitate to let us know if we can pray for you. We have all the time in the world to do it, and we’re always thankful when we have an opportunity to pray for others.

We hope you have a blessed day (or night, depending on when you’re reading this), and we’ll be back with more soon.

-Mike and Lindsie

Prayers For A Friend

We’ve been blessed along this journey of ours to have TONS of friends and family actively praying for us as we travel. Whether it’s prayers for our safety, prayers that the Lord will strengthen our willpower, or prayers that we’ll grow closer with the Lord every day, we’ve been blessed beyond words.

One of our most consistent friends and supporters on this journey is a gentleman named Gary Mitchell. Gary walks for cancer research out in West Virginia, and, unfortunately, very recently had an accident while walking. Gary broke his leg and had to have a pin and plate put in to help with the recovery. He’s now going through rehab. Although he should recover, it’s not going to be any easy process, to say the least.

We just wanted to ask for your prayers for Gary, as he’s someone who has been a fervent supporter and follower of our journey. We figure it’s the least we can do to send a few extra prayers his way while he recovers.

Thanks for the prayers, and we will be back with more info on our own journey soon. We’re only a few days away from heading back out to resume our walk. We’re both excited and nervous, so feel free to send words of encouragement if you have time. Every bit helps.

Thanks again, and we hope you all had a wonderful weekend.

-Mike and Lindsie