Barrett Keene, a PhD Student at Cornell University, recently finished walking the 3,475 miles between Miami and San Francisco to raise awareness about the realities that as many as 145 million orphaned and abandoned children face and present opportunities for people to get engaged in serving them.
Praise God…we were able to connect and raise awareness with somewhere between 900,000 and 1,000.000 people. Also, 2,380 orphans and other children living in rags or less are receiving a school uniform through The Global Orphan Project!!! The school uniforms are required for the children to be allowed to attend school.
In addition to 2,380 school uniforms being donated and the jobs being created for parents in the same impoverished communities to sew the uniforms together, as much as $23,000 has been raised to provide food, shelter, and care for orphans!
Please donate at least one school uniform ($20). When you sponsor a school uniform, you support three things: a uniform for a child, job creation in impoverished communities, and orphan care!
The first day in Utah yielded two pretty cool opportunities! First, people throughout Kansas and Colorado were constantly warning me about running into and advising me to run away from badgers! Apparently, badgers are the real deal! They were described as “tiny bears” and as “fearless and ferocious!” So…naturally, I had been hoping to see one of these tiny beasts from a distant for quite some time. Then, it happened, in the best way possible. I walked up on a recently killed badger on the side of the road. Obviously, it is unfortunate little man had to die, but I have become quite desensitized to roadkill. More than the blisters, tightness, sore muscles, and pain, stank nasty roadkill is by far my least favorite part of this entire journey?! In this case, however, I was able to see the one animal I was both most afraid of and most excited to see up close and personal, without the typically accompanying smell. The first day also brought about the unique opportunity to spend a night in a teepee!
Utah is an absolutely beautiful state! The powerful mixture of fertile valleys, towering peaks, and desert is awe-inspiring! As you can see though, it is a bit desolate and dry! I was incredibly thankful to have Amanda who constantly providing encouragement, water, and veggies…lots of veggies!
The folks at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Vernal took us in with a beautiful display of hospitality. They provided a wonderful place to stay, tons of tasty food, an opportunity to share at church, and several school uniforms for orphans!! One of the highlights of our time in Vernal was the opportunity to meet these three young men. I have been fortunate enough to stay in touch with the two guys on the right, Camren and and Jonny. We met randomly just walking through the town and ended up walking, talking, and praying together for 45 minutes or so. We talked about the challenges we have faced and the mistakes we have made in our lives. We talked and prayed about the reality that regardless of what we face, whether we have brought those storms into our own lives, or we had absolutely zero responsibility for its presence, God desires to be with us in that experience and to purify us in order to bring about eternal joy in our lives. One of my favorite pieces of scripture reads, “35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? 36 As it is written, ‘For your sake we are being killed all the day long; we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.’ 37 No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. 38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Life has been insane since wrapping up the walking. Working on my dissertation, interviewing for jobs, spending time with my family and friends, and moving to New York City has been insane. Plus…I had no idea how incredibly hard the walk was until I stopped. I honestly would not allow my mind to fully go there…as far as evaluating how lonely and challenged I really was. It has taken a bit of time to be able to desire to spend much time in thought and reflection of this beast of a journey! I will attempt to finish out Utah, and post my reflections on Nevada and Cali in the next couple weeks. I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and holiday season!