A lot has happened in the past two weeks, and I haven’t had a chance to stay up-to-date here in Blog Land. So for the curious, here’s a tiny peek into recent happenings around here and beyond.
Hubby and I took a roadtrip down to Damascus, Virginia, to launch boots-on-the-ground Hiker Church. Hiker Church is a place for the outdoor enthusiast and the spiritually curious, but has no set physical location. Its aim is to reach those who might not ever set foot in a traditional church setting because nature speaks too loudly and draws them too strongly outdoors!
The heavens proclaim the glory of God. The skies display his craftsmanship. Day after day they continue to speak; night after night they make him known. They speak without a sound or word; their voice is never heard. Yet their message has gone throughout the earth, and their words to all the world.Psalm 19:1-4 NLT
We want to help connect the language of creation with the Word of its Creator, ultimately leading folks to a relationship with Jesus, through whom God made everything that exists.
. . . through the Son he created the universe. The Son radiates God’s own glory and expresses the very character of God, and he sustains everything by the mighty power of his command.Hebrews 1:2b-3
On the way to Damascus, we spent one night camped out in my brother’s front meadow, having no idea how cold it was going to get! We had to sleep with our winter hats on. Brrrr!!!
We continued south the next morning to work alongside Trail Servants, a ministry that serves hikers in the southeast United States. Our aim is to work in tandem with them throughout the year.
Getting down south in the spring, we met hikers heading north who we may meet up with again later in the year once they get nearer to our home area.
Hikers heading south haven’t started yet, as the northernmost tip of the trail isn’t open. Once trails open and southbounders get going, we’ll be able to tell them to look for Trail Servants when they reach the south.
Team work makes the dream work, right?
Our two teams joined up with ALDHA (Appalachian Long Distance Hiking Association) one day to provide a little “trail magic”–hot breakfast of eggs, bacon, and sausage with orange juice and coffee; or lunch of hotdogs, cold drinks, and snacks for the trail.
We met a ton of hikers on their way into town (a mere 16 miles north) for Trail Days.
Two days later, Trail Servants and Hiker Church loaded up the back of a pick-up truck with fresh fruit, and headed into town ourselves (not on foot!). Avocados, apples, pears, strawberries, bananas, oranges, and grapes, with a few baby carrots and cherry tomatoes for good measure, all freely given to anyone who accepted the offer.
You would think we had shown up in the desert with ice water and chilled lemonade!
Fresh fruit is not something long-distance hikers get enough of. Its water weight alone is reason enough to not carry it along, and then there’s the difficulty of keeping it from rotting in the heat.
Most hikers strolling by acted as if they’d hit the jackpot when we offered them a piece of free fruit!!
By the way, the most popular fruit for hikers? Avocados. Who knew?? Certainly not me. I don’t think I’ll ever hike far enough to want an avocado (please forgive me, all you guacamole lovers!).
Friday afternoon and Saturday we strolled around Trail Days, often running into hikers we had met earlier. Trail Days celebrates hikers with concerts, food, contests, giveaways, and even a hiker parade! We visited a ton of vendors, and collected a bunch of stickers. Who doesn’t like stickers?? My Yeti looks a bit different than it did a few weeks ago . . .
During our time in Virginia, we connected with several hikers via social media. We’ll be able to follow their journey north, and know when they reach our region of the trail. “Trail Magic” to the rescue!
Southern hospitality reaches even into the hiker community, and hikers often find “trail magic” treasures along the trail in the form of food, drinks, and even trash pick-up.
Once they get farther north, though, that “magic” begins to dissipate. Distances from one act of kindness to the next get farther and farther apart. We’d like to change that!
In the days since
We drove 14 hours Sunday to attend a conference of church leaders in Southern New England, which lasted into Tuesday.
I was happy when I finally got home Tuesday afternoon to find so many flowers welcoming me back!
Since then I’ve been catching up on everything work, house, and family related. I haven’t even been out to play in the dirt yet — now you really know how busy I’ve been for a few days!
Tonight I have a bit of free time, and it feels good to be back at the keyboard.
If you’ve made it this far, thank you! This post was as much for helping with my own memory as it is giving you a peek into what’s been happening.
If you feel led, please pray for both Hiker Church and Trail Servants, that we would all be authentic reflections of the love of Jesus as we actively serve those we meet in the great outdoors.