By Kim Walter -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Junior Garcia made a stop in Strasburg on Wednesday as part of his 1,380 mile on-foot journey to "bring our nation back to the cross."
Garcia, 19, of Lake Worth, Texas, has made the trek with a 15-pound hollowed-out cross. The structure is on wheels as it lags behind him, and it even has a built-in cushion for it to rest on his shoulder.
He started what is being called "The Journey" on June 7 from Saginaw, Texas, the home of his place of worship, The Oasis Church. Garcia walks about 35 miles per day, and plans to reach his destination of Washington D.C. this Friday. There, he will hold a prayer service across the street from the White House.
Garcia has not been completely alone for the trip, as a bus full of fellow church members stays about a mile ahead of him to check out the area he approaches. Groups of friends and family members take turns walking a few miles a day with him as well.
"A few of my guy friends have lost a little weight," Garcia laughed, and added that he hadn't. He said he has gone through two pairs of shoes so far and is currently switching back and forth between his third and fourth.
The young man said that first and foremost he wants to draw awareness back to the cross, and remind the nation of the gospel of Jesus Christ. Secondly, he said he hopes to raise $35,000 to purchase a vehicle for missionaries in Mexico to transport children to church. Some people are donating different amounts per mile walked, but others have surprised him along the way.
"Some people just pull over and give us money, or buy us hotel rooms or feed us," he said. The group started the 37-day 36-night trip with only four planned stops along the way at churches. Everything else has been day-to-day.
Garcia admitted that there have been a few negative experiences over the past month.
"Yeah, people give us the finger every now and then, but I always say they don't know which finger to point up with yet," he said, smiling. "But those are the people we're walking for, to show them the love of Jesus Christ."
"I pray every day before we walk to see those people through His eyes, not mine," he added.
The positive times greatly outweigh the negative, he said. Garcia told one story of going through a small town in Tennessee where the entire community and all of its churches came together to welcome the group.
"It was like they threw denomination out the window," he said. "That's what I'm about. I'm not about denomination, I'm about Jesus Christ."
Garcia was warmly welcomed in Strasburg when he walked in a gas station Wednesday afternoon. An employee opened the door for Garcia and asked for a hug.
Along the trek, Garcia has enjoyed meeting new people and taking in the rich scenery that isn't as easy to come by in Texas.
"The mountains are beautiful...not so fun to walk up, but beautiful," he said. The group has been lucky with weather and has only been rained on once, in Staunton. Since getting into Tennessee the group has been forced to take back roads since they weren't allowed on the interstate. However, they plan to take Interstate 66 to D.C.
"I can't believe we're almost there," Garcia said. "A lot of decisions are made for our country there, and I just hope to open their eyes a little...let them know the nation still wants a relationship with God."
Garcia has kept a journal every day of his journey, and he expects a few days of interviews following his arrival in the nation's capital. As for the future, he says this may not be his last cross walk, but either way he'll be doing something in the ministry field.
To find out more about "The Journey," or to donate or purchase "The Journey" T-shirts and wrist bands, go to theoasis-church.org. Photos and updates are available by looking up The Oasis Church International page on Facebook.