When we left off in our last post, we were getting ready to hit Bedford, Indiana, after having a great time meeting people across Illinois and Indiana. Thanks to Reverend Beth Ann at First United Methodist Church in Bedford, we had a hot meal waiting for us when we got to town, and a warm bed to sleep in after we finished dinner.
One thing that made the walk to Bedford easier was the fact that our friend from Wheatland, Indiana, Pastor Brent, offered to drive our carts up ahead of us to Bedford so we wouldn’t have to push them through the hills and curves on the way. Any chance we have to lessen our load through the hills, we’ll take it.
Thanks to David and Tracey in Bedford, Pastor Brent had a place to leave the carts. All we had to do was show up and grab them on the way to Beth Ann’s house. After a full day of walking (and carrying Jaeda in her adorable puppy harness), we made it to David and Tracey’s in the early afternoon. We stopped to get our stuff, and they—and their delightful kids, Steven and Sarah—came out to greet us and pour out all kinds of blessings. Along with friendly conversation, they offered us Gatorades, food, and more. Our only regret was that we couldn’t spend more time chatting with them all. Reverend Beth Ann had a hot meal waiting, and we still had about 30 minutes of walking to go.
So we said goodbye, wishing we could have spent more time with David, Tracey, Steven, and Sarah, but also excited to eat the pot roast that awaited us. We pulled up to Beth Ann’s after a 22+ mile day, and couldn’t wait to dive into the tasty dinner she had prepared. After an introduction to her cats and a look at our room, we took very quick showers and got ready to devour our meal. Needless to say, we were more than satisfied. All kinds of side dishes, tender pot roast, and beyond-delicious desserts made by some of her congregation members left us almost too full to think. But we still managed to find the energy to have a fantastic conversation about faith, Ebenezer Stones, and our adventures on this journey.
The next morning, the plan was to make our way toward Brownstown, Indiana (a 24-mile journey), in order to stay at the Brownstown Christian Church. But as we’ve learned several times on this journey, sometimes God has plans that are different from ours. And when that is the case, God’s plans usually win over our own.
We set out that morning as planned, but Lindsie was feeling particularly stressed for some reason. We weren’t sure what the deal is, but we just didn’t feel “right,” as we left. After a few miles, Tracey (who had guarded our carts for us the day before) came by to drop off a load of fresh fruit, more drinks, and other snacks for our walk. As Tracey and Lindsie talked, the two both started talking about how they wish we’d all had a chance to spend more time together. That led to hugs and tears, and before I even knew what was happening, we were planning on getting picked up to stay at David and Tracey’s that night at the end of our walking day.
After putting in about 10 good miles of walking, Tracey came by to bring us back to their house. We hung out, waiting to surprise Steven and Sarah when they arrived home from school. Needless to say, they weren’t expecting to see the weird cross-country walkers sitting on the couch when they got home. We had fun chatting with the three of them (David was still at work), and then it was time for dinner. Because along with a nice place to stay, their family wanted to take us out to eat. Sarah’s vote was for Golden Corral, and Sarah’s vote seemed to be the deciding factor. We hit up Golden Corral, in all of its fully-stocked buffet majesty. When you’re walking across the country, there’s nothing wrong with some buffet action for dinner, to say the least.
Besides the food, we were happy because David was able to come join us at Golden Corral for dinner. Even though our time with David wasn’t long, we enjoyed getting to chat with him for at least a few minutes. Once we were too stuffed to eat another bite, we left Golden Corral and made a stop at Walmart in order to pick up a few supplies. Then it was back home for a few episodes of Duck Dynasty and then a solid night of rest, which we took full advantage of.
The next morning, David dropped us back off where we’d ended the day before. We said a sad goodbye and then moved on toward Brownstown, where the church had found a place for us to stay that night AND was going to let us share a little bit about our journey with their Bible study group. But before we got to Brownstown, we received some exciting news: friends we had met ALL the way back in Utah last summer were driving through Indiana and wanted to meet up with us for dinner in Brownstown. Talk about crazy, right?
So with plenty of excitement, we walked to Brownstown, arriving at the church in the late afternoon. A few minutes after we got situated at the church, Chuck and Susan pulled up to take us to lunch. It was crazy seeing them again, as we had originally met them on a lengthy stretch of walking through Capitol Reef National Park where they were RV camping. To have them show up again in Indiana was an unexpected blessing, to say the least.
We ate a delicious meal at a Mexican restaurant in town, and just enjoyed the conversation and fellowship as we got to know both Chuck and Susan better. It was a treat, for sure. And the next time we are in Texas (where they live), we know where we’ll be staying. Unfortunately, we eventually had to say goodbye, but we’re certain we’ll come across each other’s path in the future.
We got to church just in time for Pastor Brian to introduce us to members and guests at the church during dinner. Then we went up to the sanctuary and had a chance to share some of our story with the congregation and answer a few questions as well. It was a blast getting to chat with people and hear the questions they had on their minds. Plus, I always enjoy watching Lindsie speak in front of people. She does a wonderful job. And she’s pretty too.
After our Q&A, we had a chance to do an interview with a reporter from the Seymour Tribune (Seymour being a nearby town). We haven’t had a chance to read the story yet, but you can read the preview by clicking here. Then when the interview was over, we made our way toward Pastor Brian’s Bible study room for a study on fasting, which was really insightful and informative.
That night, we stayed at Associate Minister Doug Pogue’s house. He and his wife, Shawn, were kind enough to give us their guest bedroom, which made for a fantastic night of comfortable sleep. The next morning, Pastor Brian, his family, Pastor Doug, and a few other people from the church met us for breakfast at a nearby restaurant. It made for a fantastic start to our morning, even if we were sad to be leaving.
We began walking toward Seymour, Indiana. Even though the weather was threatening us, we prayed to stay dry and God answered our prayer. We arrived at Peace Lutheran Church in Seymour, Indiana, in the early afternoon. It was a short day, which made the walk even more pleasant. It also gave us a chance to grab lunch with Pastor Scott, his wife, Terri, and their youngest daughter, Lydia. We really enjoyed getting to know them better and learning about the church and the wonderful work they’re doing in their community. After lunch, Lindsie and I found some time to catch up on a few things we had fallen behind on. Before we knew it, bedtime had hit and we were getting ready for the next day’s adventures.
The next stop on the map was North Vernon, Indiana, where we’d be staying at St. Mary’s Catholic Church. One of the church’s receptionists, Sharlot, had invited us to stay in one of their buildings for the night, and we were thankful yet again. Sharlot was awesome, and we had fun talking with her before we got settled in for the evening. After a tasty lasagna dinner with Reverend Meyer at the church (where he was also hosting a dinner for the high school cross country team he coaches), we called it a night and got some sleep.
Versailles (pronounced verr-sales), Indiana, was the next stop on the map. Unfortunately, we hadn’t been able to find any churches in the area willing to host us for a night, so we posted on Facebook that we were having some issues finding a place to stay. Thankfully, a friend from South Dakota who is following our journey, Kathy, offered to pay for a room at the hotel in Versailles. We were incredibly thankful, as our next best option was to camp on the side of the road somewhere, hoping it wasn’t private property. So with much thanks, we rested at the motel, ate a tasty meal at nearby Ernie’s Pizza, and slept like rocks.
From Versailles, we headed to Aurora, Indiana, to meet Pastor Dan from First United Methodist Church. Pastor Dan was awesome. He’s a younger guy very much into backpacking and hiking, so our journey had him intrigued, to say the least. Pastor Dan informed us that the church’s organist, Jim, was going to put us up in his beautiful bed & breakfast for the night. Obviously, we were thankful. After we got to the church (which is beautiful and is part of the National Register of Historic Places), Pastor Dan asked if he could take us out to eat. We made our way toward a tasty Mexican restaurant nearby and were joined by Dan’s wife, Carrie, as well as Jim, our host for the evening. After a really fun conversation, it was just about time for bed. We got to the bed and breakfast, enjoyed all of the history Jim had collected to decorate the house, and then fell asleep hard in a very comfortable bed.
The next day was an exciting one—we were going to cross another state off our list as we left Indiana and walked into Ohio. Thankfully, Whitewater Crossing Christian Church in Cleves, Ohio, had offered to take care of us for a night, so we already knew we had a nice place to stay. We crossed over the river into Ohio and pushed on toward the church, excited for another comfortable night of sleep and the prospect of more fellowship at the Bible study taking place that evening.
We reached the church in the early afternoon, and Diane was there to show us to the building we’d be staying in (which had a shower—always nice after a day of walking). Then Diane was kind enough to show us around the area, including a few ridiculously beautiful spots high up on a hill that overlooked the valley. Calling it majestic wouldn’t do it justice. Then that night we made some spaghetti for dinner and enjoyed a Bible study with several women from the church.
The next morning we set out for Cincinnati, where we had something amazing in store for us—our friend Christina from ALL the way back in Newton, Kansas, had just moved to Cincinnati with her husband, Brian, a week before. And they wanted us to stay with them AGAIN (weirdos, huh?). We were so thankful, as we really had a blast with Christina the first time around and we wanted to meet Brian, since he hadn’t been there on our first visit.
After a full day of walking into Cincinnati, Christina drove out and met us to bring us back to their house, which was about 10 miles away. We had a blast catching up with her and seeing her new house. Then when Brian came home, we had a blast meeting him. After a mouthwatering dinner of homemade pot roast, we went out for some tasty custard for dessert. Then we came home, talked for a little while longer, and went to bed for a night of rest.
The plan the next day was for us to walk through Cincinnati, and then have Christina pick us up again for a second night at their house. After loading up and driving all the way back out to where we had left off, we realized we had made a mistake—neither Lindsie nor I remembered to grab handlebars for the cart we were going to use that day. That meant we had no way to push our stuff. And no way to carry our stuff. Which, all in all, meant we wouldn’t be walking that day at all.
Slightly disappointed, but also excited to have a full day with Brian and Christina, we made our way back to Christina’s house. We used the opportunity to get a lot of other stuff done, and then looked forward to a tasty night of dinner with the two of them. Also, we should mention that they were kind enough to let us stay with them, even though it was their anniversary that night. To be fair, we didn’t know it was their anniversary until after we had accepted the invitation to stay, so it’s not like we just rudely came in and invaded their celebration or anything. At least, that’s what we’re telling ourselves.
Anyway, we had another wonderful night with Brian and Christina, and we look forward to stopping by to see them again on our way back home. We left some items at their house, so we will get to see them yet again when we stop by to pick them up.
We actually did have to leave the next morning, so we walked our way through Cincinnati toward Milford, Ohio. And that is where this post will leave off. At this point, we have fewer than 40 days of walking and almost fewer than 600 miles to go, so the goal is in sight and there is light at the end of the tunnel!
We’ll have another update soon, but until then, we appreciate the continued prayers and support that you’ve shown us throughout our journey. We have been blessed beyond measure, and our only request is that you continue praying for us. For protection, for open hearts of pastors and churches we contact, and for warm weather as we race winter over to the east coast. We appreciate it beyond words.
As we get closer and closer to our goal, this verse from Hebrews really hit me during my Bible study this week. I hope it hits you in the same way. It’s Hebrews 3:14…
“For if we are faithful to the end, trusting God just as firmly as when we first believed, we will share in all that belongs to Christ.”
That’s a pretty awesome promise, to say the least. We just need to stay faithful to the end.
Have a blessed day, and we’ll be back with more soon.
-Mike and Lindsie (and Jaeda)