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Wednesday, June 1, 2005

CROSS- CARRYING EVANGELIST COMPLETES HIS WALK ACROSS THE UNITED STATES

By Jeremy Reynalds
Special Correspondent for ASSIST News Service

NEW YORK, N.Y. (ANS) -- Irish-born cross-carrying evangelist John Edwards has completed his walk across America. (Pictured: Edwards and team begin the walk).

His “Crosswalk USA 2005” started at the Santa Monica, Ca. Pier at 9:30 AM (Pacific Time) April 5 and reached New York on May 13.

Edwards described the finishing moment on his blog. “Suddenly the end was in sight,” he wrote (www.usa2005.walkingfree.org/?fn=moblog).

“ I could see the group of American flags that marked the spot where we were to finish. (There were) flags flying (and) the cross leading us. Some people waved at us (and) others stopped to talk to us. One homeless guy joined us for the last few hundred yards ... We crossed the road; entered in through the gates that led into a small park where the Atlantic Ocean started. ... We walked to the edge of the park and looked out over the sea ... In the distance I could see the skyscrapers of New York City. Tomorrow we would go in and pray at Ground Zero.”

Edwards further reflected on the experience by e-mail. “What a joy it was to catch sight of the Atlantic Ocean,” he said. “We .... all had a great sense of gratitude and achievement ... We had to climb over a barrier to touch the water. It was a bit dirty but that didn't matter. We had run the race and we had finished the course. We had been obedient to what God had called us to do, and each one of us will forever be grateful for the experience.”

Prior to beginning the trek, Edwards, 50, told the Assist News Service, “There is a team of eight of us and we will be walking and cycling for 120 miles a day between us all the way across America – via Phoenix, Arizona, Washington, DC, and Philadelphia and up to New York. We ... will be carrying an 11 foot wooden cross with a wheel on the end. We will preach the Gospel as we go across the nation. The aim of the walk is to bring hope to the addicted and their families, and also to preach the Gospel to the lost and whoever we happen to come across along the way.”

Edwards said the team prayed daily for God’s strength to get to their assigned destination for that day.

“With hardly any hitches God was faithful to us,” Edwards said by e-mail. “The weather was very kind to us. We hardly saw any rain. It didn’t get too hot nor did it get too cold, (although) several of us got blisters.”

But team members did more than just walk, Edwards said. “We were able to minister to hundreds of people on route, praying for many to receive Christ and encouraging many more. We prayed for the sick .... and spoke on many radio and TV stations as we went. (People) stopped us on route to say that they had seen us on TV, or heard us on the radio or read about us in newspapers.”

In addition, Edwards said, “People ran out of shops in tears to ask us to pray for them, (and) the depressed, destitute and downtrodden of society came to us for prayer and encouragement.”

Edwards said the team prayed for a multitude of needs. “God used us to reach yellow, white, black, addicted, homeless, broken, rich , poor (and the) down and out ... People from all nations of the world ... came to us for prayer, and what a privilege it was to be able to help in some small way. (We saw) hope come into people’s eyes again; (and saw) their countenances change as they experienced the presence of God for the first time ... Everywhere we went there were people who wanted prayer, and needed help and hope.”

Edwards said that his small team of walkers didn’t have much money, but they were “loaded with faith.”

Edwards said, “We came with a simple message and with faith that God was with us. We trusted that God would bring us to the other side of this vast nation. Every day we pressed on and on. The road seemed to be never ending and our legs and bodies ached in ways that they never ached before, but God brought us through.”

The experience has taught him, Edwards said, that there are still many people who need to hear the gospel.

“Churches everywhere need to start reaching out like they never have before. People are searching; looking for the reality of God,” Edwards said. “How will they hear unless we go and tell them? All we need is a little faith, even as small as a mustard seed ... and then a boldness to step out in whatever way you can to be an ambassador for Christ.”

Edwards added, “There are many millions who need the comfort of the gospel brought to them in relevant and meaningful ways. God in His faithfulness led us to some of them. It was a great privilege to be able to reach these people. Who can tell what difference our walk has made to them.?”

Edwards’ next walk is scheduled for Sept. 2005 in Ireland.

For additional information about Edwards and to learn how to support his ministry, go to www.walkingfree.org

Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org or http://www.christianity.com/joyjunction. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico and is a candidate for the Ph.D. in intercultural education at Biola University in Los Angeles. He is married with five children and lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at jgreynalds@aol.com. Tel: (505) 877-6967 or (505) 400-7145. Note: A black and white JPEG picture of Jeremy Reynalds is available on request from Dan Wooding at danjuma1@aol.com.

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