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.
Fortunately, 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.
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.
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.
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