before the trek
Several months ago, I (Joe) felt as if God was challenging me as a pastor to begin to live out my faith with action. I do a lot of talking and teaching, but know from experience that people learn more when they have a visual to go along with what they are being told. Therefore, I'm following the prompting of the Holy Spirit to go on an adventure that will bring a tangible element to my faith.
During one of my morning runs I heard the Lord say very clearly that He wanted me to pray a circle around the state, but I didn't know exactly what it meant. It was a time when I was teaching on defining moments in life and asking people to connect the dots between them to determine what God is speaking. In my own life, I felt God pointing me towards using my love of endurance sports with raising awareness for those in our community who have great need, but how?
After some back and forth for additional clarification, I realized He wanted me to literally travel around the perimeter of Washington and cover its people in prayer. It was to be done in a multi-stage journey beginning on a bike to cover the northern and eastern side of the state, a kayak down the Columbia River for the southern edge, and on foot, running up the west coast to complete my loop. The next question was: who was this for?
I repeatedly heard the term "orphans and widows" and began to study what Scripture had to say about them. James 1:27 wouldn't leave my mind, "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world." I knew this was to be taken literally and would be the focus of the endeavor.
As the following weeks unfolded, so did the idea of the Mended Orphans and Widows Fund. It was to be a pool of resources that would immediately begin to meet the most basic needs of those in distress - primarily children without parents and those who have experienced the loss of a spouse. My journey around the state will act as just the beginning, and my hope and prayer is that it will be a catalyst to draw support and spark a fire in those watching that with God all things are possible. (Matthew 19:26)
Below is a special link to donate specifically to the OAW Fund, descriptions of the three main purposes for this journey (Watch Video), a detailed route map with itinerary, plus our list of sponsors.
A journey like this was not without cost. During the fundraising process, Mended immediately directed 50% of the money raised to men, women, and children in their community who have experienced loss. The remaining 50% went towards the trip costs and other charitable work. As the OAW fund grows year after year, and the initial start up cost is met, the percentage given to those in need will increase until we reach 100%.
During a time of loss in our own family, a beautiful piece of art was created by Makayla DeScala that portrays the condition of a person's heart when they're hurting. It captures what many people feel, but can't put into words, therefore helping in the healing process. To see more of her work click here.
Don't want to pay online? Make checks payable and send to: "Mended" 537 W 4th St, Port Angeles, WA 98362
Listen to RADIO INTERVIEW
This was the original prompting of the Holy Spirit - to pray for those within our state. I hope that this will encourage others to do the same and pray around their own state. It would only take 49 others (maybe more for those in Texas and Alaska!) to cover our entire nation.
Launch the Mended Orphans and Widows Fund
Christ has always been drawn to those in need and he repeatedly directs us to do the same. Community happens when the focus is placed on taking care of one another, especially those that don't have the means to support themselves. The goal of the Orphans and Widows Fund is to always have a source to draw from to meet the needs of those in distress. This fund will have designated overseers to field requests and disperse resources.
Spark others to put their "faith in action"
I feel my role as a pastor has just as much to do with teaching by example as it does by my words. I've been challenged by God to put my faith into action, dream big, push myself to the limit, and encourage people to join in with something incredible that He is starting in our community. I'm trusting it will provide a spark for others to put action to their faith as well. What step can you take?
original route map
This is an interactive map showing the route, distances, and dates for the OAW trek around Washington. Click a section or location marker for more information. Clicking "MapHub" in the lower right-hand corner will open the map in a new browser and larger viewing window.
* indicates companion joined for this section
June 24 - Port Angeles START to Fort Casey State Park (46 mile bike / 5 mile kayak)*
June 25 - Fort Casey State Park to Sedro-Woolley (49 mile bike)
June 26 - Sedro-Woolley to Diablo Lake (Colonial Creek campground) (63 mile bike)
June 27 - Diablo Lake (Colonial Creek campground) to Winthrop (62 mile bike)
June 28 - Rest day in Winthrop
June 29 - Winthrop to Tonasket (71 mile bike)
June 30 - Tonasket to Curlew Lake (Tiffany's Resort) (70 mile bike)
July 1 - Curlew Lake (Tiffany's Resort) to Kettle Falls (61 mile bike)
July 2 - Kettle Falls to Cusick (69 mile bike)
July 3 - Cusick to Spokane (50 mile bike)
July 4 - Rest day in Spokane
July 5 - Spokane to Colfax (58 mile bike)
July 6 - Colfax to Dayton (64 mile bike)
July 7 - Dayton to Kennewick (53 mile bike)
July 8 - Kennewick to Crow Butte (36 mile bike / 15 mile kayak)*
July 9 - Crow Butte to Maryhill State Park (19 mile kayak / 32 mile bike)*
July 10 - Maryhill State Park to Bingen (15 mile kayak / 18 mile bike)*
July 11 - Bingen to Bonneville (23 mile kayak)*
July 12 - Bonneville to Vancouver (24 mile bike / 13 mile kayak)*
July 13 - Rest day (Portland/Vancouver)
July 14 - Vancouver to St Helens (20 mile kayak)*
July 15 - St Helens to Longview (20 mile kayak)*
July 16 - Longview to Cathlamet (22 mile kayak)*
July 17 - Cathlamet to 101 Bridge in Astoria (23 mile kayak)*
July 18 - 101 Bridge to Oysterville (28 mile run)
July 19 - Oysterville to Westport (10 mile kayak / 16 mile run)
July 20 - Westport to Seabrook (4 mile kayak/ 18 mile run)
July 21 - Rest day Seabrook
July 22 - Seabrook to Kalaloch (30 mile run - includes 19 on beach, or 61 mile bike alternate route)
July 23 - Kalaloch to Bogachiel State Park (27 mile run)
July 24 - Bogachiel to Sappho (Bear Creek Campground) (18 mile run)
July 25 - Sappho (Bear Creek Campground) to Silver King Resort (18 mile run)
July 26 - Silver King to Lyre River (15 mile run)
July 27 - Lyre River to Port Angeles FINISH (21 mile run)
We want to say a thank you to our sponsors!
Additional Friends of the OAW Fund:
Diane Horton, Nick & Jan DeScala, Cortland & Libby Waldron, Tim & Renee Smith, Laith & Jessica Anderson, Lorrie Mittmann, Vicki & Jack Heckman, Don & Joanne Droz, Diane Horton, Debbie Leonard, Mark Baumann, Anthony Priest, Diana Bass, Lee & Claudia Kraft, Lauren Best, Tom & Andie Waits, Evan & Tricia Murphy, Rob & Shawna Walton, Lance & Pat Coe, Roger & Lindsay Parks, Ken & Noan Zeigler, Twyla Luke, Nicole Heisler, Julie Rowland, Kas Kennedy, Carlee Wilson, Mel & Judy Corning, Vern & Kathy Daugaard, Julia Anderson, Barb Bukovnik, Amber Bukovnik, Susan Lee, Deb Fuson, Ron & Michele Fraker, Bob Lovell, Robert & Gail Delikat, Gary Reidel, Kelley Burns & Katie Marr, Mandi Sheppard, Laura Knowles, Dave & Kathy Gronning, Larry & Peggy Becker, Kate Long, Justin & Dei Snook, Jim & Pam Walton, Bob Sheedy, Amith & Chelsea Dutta, Frank Stangel, Dana Visser, Jim & Mary Kreider, Norm & Ruth Groenig, Rob & Sandi Gipe, Terry & Shirley Wollam, Jerry & Terry Green, Ed & Loritha Fitzpatrick, Ken & Carole Singhose, Tom & Penny Everhart, Geoff & Tara Waits, Brian & Anna Shirley
Plus many unnamed donors and helpers from near and far!!