Office Days, Homeschooling, Fundraising and Football…

Our life can currently be summed up by the title of this blog. I’ve been spending most weekdays working with Helping Hands Foreign Missions in the Gainesville, GA office in preparation for our November departure for Uganda. Amy and Malachi have been spending their days adjusting to the Homeschool life. This has all come with certain challenges, but has been a great time of learning for us as we prepare for this next phase of life.

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My temporary office in the workroom 🙂
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Malachi’s first day of homeschool.

Most evenings and the days I am not in the office, we are either at the football field of sharing our story and upcoming mission with individuals and churches. If you know Malachi at all, you are aware of his passion for football! He is growing so much as an individual, gaining a deeper understanding of teamwork, and having the time of his life on the football field this year. Although we truly desire to be in Uganda as you read this, we are thankful God has given Malachi the opportunity to participate in one more season of football before we leave.

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Practice with the Wolfpack (Black jersey, neon laces, fierce 3-pt stance)

Just as Malachi is beginning to understand he can’t operate outside of his team on the football field, God has begun teaching Amy and I a similar lesson. We must depend on and trust our TEAM! Our team responsible for keeping us lifted up to God in prayer, funding our mission completely, and being there for us whether we need to celebrate or cry on someone’s shoulder. While comparing the mission field to a gold mine as deep as the center of the earth, William Carey, a missionary from the early 1800’s in India put it this way “I will venture to go… but remember that you must hold the ropes. To this point we have 32 families and individuals who have committed to financially supporting us in some capacity. These are the individuals who are “holding the ropes”.  We believe with 60 total supporters, we will be fully funded. This leaves us needing 28 more families and/or individuals to join our team. We are asking for you to consider holding a rope for us as we venture to the Village of Eden to share the love of Jesus with those who have very little hope. With enough people “holding the ropes” to fully fund our work in Uganda, we will fly out for Uganda on November 9th! Be a part of what God is doing in Uganda, and ultimately the Great Commission being fulfilled!

Call the office today at (678)765-6999 to join our monthly support team, or give online here: Burnett Missionary Support


Thanks for joining us on this journey.

Drew Burnett

(706)266-2587

drew.burnett@helpinghandsmissions.org

Helping Hands Foreign Missions is a 501(c)3 organization.

18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:18-20

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Why we couldn’t ask for your support…

By now you know the Burnetts are moving to Uganda to work with Helping Hands Foreign Missions. We’ve had to privilege of bringing a few people on board the support team at this point. But, why haven’t we asked you to join our team? It’s simple really, so here goes:

We are among the majority of long-term missionaries who are required to raise 100% of the funding it takes to live and do ministry in the place we are serving. And let me tell you, it’s a big number. Let’s go ahead and get it out there… $80,000 for our first year! Yep, I told you it was a lot. I have scrutinized this number and asked the question “how can we do ministry on less?” The truth is, this is how much it will take to maximize our ministry in Uganda the first year. We believe that if God calls us somewhere, he desires us to maximize our ministry in that place. He is fully capable of providing since he owns everything anyway. Here are some of the initial expenses:

-1996-1998 Toyota Prado(purchase and maintenance): $17,000

-Emergency Travel Fund for a family of 3: $10,000

-Cottage Furnishings(bed, dresser, fridge, stove, etc…): $4000

Y’all, that’s $31,000 before we can even think about Monthly support! But, let me tell you what God has shown us…

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We spent 2 weeks in Uganda at the beginning of the summer to prepare for our 2 year commitment. If you saw all the pictures, you know it went incredible. Malachi loved it, we thrived as a family, God simply gave us a peace about serving at the Village of Eden together. When we got back, I travelled for a couple weeks with Chick-fil-A working with a handful of stores. Then, 2 weeks ago began FULL-TIME FUNDRAISING! We began reading a book Helping Hands is requiring of everyone on staff, and it is incredible. It’s called The God Ask, by Steve Shadrach. This is where I learned we aren’t asking for handouts, but inviting people on a journey of ministry in the world. But still, what about that GIGANTIC number for our first year. One night at church, one of our monthly supporters came to me, after knowing our first year will require $80,000, and said “My wife and I would like to support y’all at $250/month if that will help.” What. A. Dagger. All I could think is this guy is committing $250/month and it doesn’t even seem to them like it makes a dent in the total number! Through some great conversation with a trusted friend, God showed us it would probably be best to separate the $31,000 from the monthly support, which is $4000/month. This would allow our monthly supporters to see the difference their support was making. But, we still had to figure out how to raise the initial $31,000.

Our plan was to ask friends who we knew had the means to support some or all of the $31,000. After all, we know God wants us to go and to maximize our ministry, there was no question about this. We decided to travel up and visit some great friends in Tennessee, have some conversation about how to take care of this initial amount. The place is called Cumberland Wilderness Retreat(CWR), and so many of our friends we haven’t connected with recently were going to be there. It was the perfect opportunity to let God work on taking care of the $31,000. I was right, but not in the way you may think. I actually didn’t get to have much conversation at all about anyone joining our financial support team. The couple who began CWR live in Loisville, KY where he is in seminary. He preached a message on Saturday night to the 70+ people who came to spend the weekend. The message was simple: God gave you all you have including gifts, talents, money, belongings, time, energy, etc… How much of that are we using for eternal purposes? If the answer is anything less than 100%, there needs to be a change. He issued this challenge to all families who were there, “Take an inventory of everything God has given you, and ask how can we get closer to using 100% of this for eternal purposes?” He closed with saying when we do something that is not being connected to an eternal purpose, it’s a waste of time! The scripture he quoted was Matthew 6:19-21 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”

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Amy, Malachi, and I packed up and headed home the next morning. It was a much needed weekend. We talked and prayed throughout the day and night, considering the question asked on Saturday night. What has God given us? How can we use it ALL for eternal purposes? God had already provided us with the $31,000. WHAT!?! We had it all along, but hadn’t been looking in the right places. We believe God provided this funding through Amy’s retirement account. When we asked each other “Is this really what God wants, to take out the last bit of financial security we have and use it in Uganda?” It was a resounding yes. God began revealing through our conversation these things. If we believe 100% in this mission, enough to ask people to come alongside us, then we must be all-in! Thank you Jesus for showing us this truth! This is why we couldn’t ask for your support, because God wanted everything we have. He wants us to trust him with it all!

With that, we will be cashing out the retirement account and coving the Emergency Travel Fund as well as the cost of the vehicle, giving us $3,000 to finish paying off our debt(another blog coming about our debt!) We will roll the cottage furnishings into our monthly support to bring it to around $4,343/m0nth. God is so faithful, look where we are in just a couple weeks!

Current funding: $1,842/month which puts us at 42.4%!!! This means $2,501/month more will put us at 100%!!! Our goal is to reach 100% funding by August 25th, which just happens to be Amy’s Birthday and the Helping Hands GALA. This will allow me to spend a few weeks working in the Helping Hands U.S. office, and our family to depart for Uganda by the middle of October.

So now we will ask you to be a part of this team. We are working diligently to contact all of you to share the vision of what God is calling us to in Uganda and to give you the opportunity to join in on what God is doing at the Village of Eden in Uganda. We desire to sit and share with each of you. If you would like to call or message us, here is our contact info:

Drew:(706)266-2587

Amy:(706)766-3175

Drew.burnett@helpinghandsmissions.org

Amy.burnett@helpinghandsmissions.org

If you would like to go ahead and join the team, you can give here: Join the team! Or you can call the Helping Hands office at 678-765-6999 to set-up monthly support. We look forward to sharing this journey with you!

We are moving to Uganda!

Amy, Malachi, and I are moving to Uganda. We will be serving full-time with Helping Hands Foreign Missions at the Village of Eden(VOE) in Namuwambi, Uganda. As this comes as no surprise to some, it feels good to make an official announcement to all. Our plan is to live in Uganda 2-4 years. I won’t go into the entire story here, but will hit some high points so everyone is up to speed.

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We are moving to Uganda!

4 years ago, Amy went on a spur-of-the-moment trip to Uganda with her mom. Reluctant to leave her 4-year-old son with me for 2 weeks, it was understandably a stretch for her. If you know Amy, you know she is not a spur-of-the-moment kind of girl. She’s also not one for uncomfortable living conditions. She had an incredible time, and although she found a gecko crawling around in her room one night inducing what I imagine to be a state of emergency in her room, she fell in love with the people of Uganda. Oh, and they broke ground during her trip on a place called the Village of Eden.

(These are some pictures from Amy’s first trip)

Having already made the decision to adopt the rest of our children after Malachi, Amy came home with a clear calling for our family to adopt from Uganda. We immediately began the process to adopt from there. We were so excited. God seemed to be fulfilling our passions and mission through adoption, and life just felt right. But just a few months later, this idea of something more popped into our conversations. I “jokingly” mentioned the idea of moving to Uganda. Again, if you knew Amy, you understand why this is funny. Just a few months prior, the idea of her going to Uganda for 2 weeks was a stretch. So to mention moving there was kind of silly, except it wasn’t. The next day she sent me a screenshot from www.helpinghandsmissions.org of them asking for a couple to commit to serving a minimum 1 year in Uganda. This quickly went from “joking” to very serious. We began to realize how deeply we aligned with Helping Hands mission to make disciples in Uganda. After a few weeks of talking and praying, we made the decision to pursue moving to Uganda.

I decided to also pursue an attempt to break the speed record on the 2180 mile Appalachian Trail to raise funds and awareness for the VOE, which is a story and multiple blogs within itself! Over the next couple years I trained for the trail, always coming up with different timelines to make the leap and move our family to Uganda. We would say one date, then time would pass and we would postpone. We eventually had to face the reality, if we didn’t take care of our debt that was hanging over us we would never go. We actually at one point made an attempt to become foster parents. In my opinion this was one final attempt to run from the true calling God placed on our lives. We even brought two children into our home through the foster care system, and it just didn’t work out despite how much I tried to make it. Side note: Some of you reading this need to become foster parents immediately! As soon as we refocused and saw we were running from our calling. We submitted our path to God. We decided to put our house on the market… it sold in 4 days! Not only that, but it knocked out 1/3 of our debt we had been letting hang over us. Fast forwarding a few months, we’ve now paid off over 2/3 of our debt and are on track to have it completely paid off by July after we sell our vehicles!

(Pictures from the Appalachian Trail speed-record attempt.)

Our plan is to leave in August to serve with Helping Hands at the VOE. We will also take a trip prior with our entire family at the end of May. So that’s it. We are going, and happy to be at this point in our journey. Although it feels like another beginning, and there is lots of funding to raise, and logistics to figure out, it’s relieving to have the move on our calendar for August. We covet your prayers through this process. We will be asking for you support financially as well. My primary role with Helping Hands will be serving as a Volunteer Team Coordinator for our short-term teams that come from the U.S. and other countries. Amy’s primary role will be Malachi’s teacher. I do have a feeling God will show her some significant ways he’ll be using her when we get there 🙂

All support checks should be written to Helping Hands Foreign Missions with Drew Burnett in the memo line. Also, we would love to talk further about this mission with you. Give us a call anytime to set up a time to get together.

Helping Hands Foreign Missions

5043 Bristol Ind. Way

Buford, GA 30518

Drew Burnett- (706)266-2587

Amy Burnett- (706)766-3175

8“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
    neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
    so are my ways higher than your ways
    and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
    come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
    without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
    so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
    It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
    and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

-Isaiah 55:8-11

This is the scripture we’ve rested in throughout this journey. Thank you for journeying with us.

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This is Joshua. He’s participating in Esangalo at the VOE. This picture is a true representation of how we feel about the children of Uganda. He is stronger than he looks. A mighty warrior of God.

To finish a journey…

I must admit it’s a little strange sitting in a coffee shop writing a blog. The entire summer has been full of discomfort and pushing though pain and adversity. Now I can sip on a coffee, be surrounded by people, and reflect on the journey.

Believe it or not, 425 miles is still a long way even with 1700+ behind you 🙂 The final stretch was just as humbling as the beginning. Throughout TN/NC there is a definite feeling of remoteness. I would even go so far as to say the last Friday and Saturday were the toughest days on the trail. My mileage for the week were as follows: 54.4, 40.4, 51, 40, 41.2, 47.9 On Friday, I began from I-40 1.7 miles from Davenport Gap and set out on a 33 mile uncrewed section followed by another 8 to Clingmans Dome. 30 minutes into this section came a downpour along with a cooler temperature. I fought off hypothermia for the next 8 hours, which would eventually take its toll on me. The last mile to Clingmans was brutal for me, I had no energy and it took everything in me to take a step. The entire time I couldn’t help but wonder how I was gonna get from Clingmans to Fontana dam to start out the next day. The crew picked me up at Clingmans and took me to the camper. I couldn’t eat, felt like throwing up, and had a fever. So I took a couple ibuprofen and curled up shivering in my sleeping bag. 45 minutes later the fever broke and I ate, this could have been really bad! The next day was just as tough. Finished off the week with a 47.9 mile day, bringing it to a 275 mile week. 150.7 miles from Springer!

Knowing I needed a big day on Monday to finish at a decent hour Wednesday, I got a 4:15 am start. At 9:50 pm I was at 65 miles for the day, which was the biggest day of the trip and took me 7 miles from the GA border!!! 48 Tuesday left me 37 miles from the finish. Knowing there would be so many friends at the finish made the last day so nice for me. Also, having regularly run this section, I felt at home. The downside to this day is I was very aware how incredible this opportunity has been. Knowing I would be entering back into society soon gave me some mixed emotions. Knowing I would not wake up every morning to 15 hours alone with God everyday was definitely saddening. In my life pre-AT I have never spent 15 hours in one day focused on being with God. Having spent 49.5 days on the trail and 57.5 days total away from the distraction of the world has been life-changing. So, I finished up the final 37 miles at 4:46 pm and was welcomed by Amy and Malachi, along with 30 or so more of my closest friends.

I had been dreaming of touching the rock on Springer mountain for over a year. Everyday I woke up with reaching this rock as fast as I could as my mission. Now I was here. I thought I would be overwhelmed with emotion, but instead of being overwhelmed I was grateful. I am grateful that God would use me as a vessel to carry out a mission. I am grateful he would give me such an incredible community of people who support this mission. I am grateful I met so many incredible people throughout the trail and in each town. I am grateful to have such a supportive and loving wife, and grateful to have such an awesome son. More than anything, I am grateful that I am so weak and such a failure according to my own capabilities, God used my life to show how great He is.

I know you are scared to take that next step, to jump into what God has been calling you for so long. It may be jumping into submitting your life to him. You may fail, and that’s okay. God created everything including your very life. He promises to work through all your circumstances for the greatest outcome. He sees far beyond our tiny little life and our spec of a circumstance, something we are incapable of doing. Failure is always an option, sometimes it’s the best one. Put yourself out there, and give every bit of yourself to the end. God only calls you to obey, the outcome is his to determine.

Thank you for following the journey on the AT. I will continue to keep y’all updated on what’s next. Please visit Village of Eden campaign to give toward our $100,000 goal for the Village of Eden orphanage in Uganda. It may take a while to get there, but if you followed or are inspired by this journey please consider giving what you can to the Village of Eden. If you have access to reading this blog, you are probably thousands of times more fortunate than the Ugandan orphans we are raising money for and will eventually go and serve first hand. Thank you, it means more than you may know.

57 days 9 hours 20 minutes: 2185 miles

And then there were 3.

I’m really tired, but want to update y’all, so this update will be short. Thanks again for following the journey!

This week took us out of Virginia! It’s nice to be in the state that borders my home state of GA. The mileage this week was as follows: 52.5, 41.3, 50.4, 48.6 , 49.9, 56.4 for a total of 299.1! This brings the last 3 week total to 902. It feels great to look back on the last 3 weeks and see that 300/week average.

This journey has taught me much. The trail, people, weather, rocks, roots, car engines, among other things have all played their part. I believe God set us in motion to accomplish a mission much bigger than we are capable of understanding. In all honesty, I still don’t understand why. What I do know is this: God sent a vision and mission to his people, we have responded and followed the best we know how, and through it all he has been and is being glorified. When hearing from God, I believe it’s best if we don’t always try to fully understand, but simply obey his calling. It’s comforting to know he called me by name and is sanctifying me daily. I’ve mentioned Isaiah 55:8-11 many times, but here it is again. I hope our faith may be strengthened through this passage. Love you guys. I’ve enjoyed sharing this journey with you.

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
9 “As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.
10 As the rain and the snow
come down from heaven,
and do not return to it
without watering the earth
and making it bud and flourish,
so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater,
11 so is my word that goes out from my mouth:
It will not return to me empty,
but will accomplish what I desire
and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

47 days: 1759.7 miles

Drew

Sweet sweet Virginia.

I would once again like to thank you for following the journey of Running for Eden. I may not be setting a speed-record, but it has been one incredible journey! This week was another week of miles and life lessons.

The following is my daily mileage this week: 52.2, 47.9, 49.4, 29.6, 56.8, 57.9 for a total of 293.8. If this is your first visit to the blog, from the beginning of this journey I made the decision to take every Sunday off as a sabbath.

We began Monday morning about half a mile from the VA border and made it as far as we could in this crazy long state. Thursday was the only big obstacle. I was on the way up 3 ridge wilderness and a lightning storm was just sitting on top of the mountain. I waited it out for about 30-45 minutes, but my body temp started dropping and I made the decision to turn back. This gave me 7 bonus miles for the day 🙂 This was a reminder that God is in control of this journey. Sometimes I begin to think that I am capable of doing this without him. So this week I am thankful for lightning. Turning from the storm did give me a chance for some extra rest that night which I believe played a big role in the mileage on Friday and Saturday. Btw, I’m loving VA! There’s definitely some climbing, but the terrain is so smooth. The Shenandoah National Park was incredible. Getting close to Lynchburg, I got so much love from the ultra running community there, thanks y’all!

Friday came with a surprise visit from my 2 favorite people. It was so awesome to see Amy and Malachi, even if it was only for a few hours. Beth also went home with them after spending 3 weeks with us. I have been extremely thankful to have her here.

Only 724 miles to Springer Mountain GA! What a beautiful sight that will be.

40 days: 1461.3 miles

Here’s something that’s gotten through this journey:

“When peace like a river attendeth my way, when sorrows like sea billows roll. Whatever my lot, you have taught me to say it is well, it is well with my soul.”
-Horatio Spafford

Here’s the story of how this song was written, well worth the read.

This hymn was written after traumatic events in Spafford’s life. The first was the death of their only son from Scarlet Fever in 1870. Second was the 1871 Great Chicago Fire which ruined him financially (he had been a successful lawyer and had invested significantly in property in the area of Chicago which was decimated by the great fire). His business interests were further hit by the economic downturn of 1873 at which time he had planned to travel to Europe with his family on the SS Ville du Havre. In a late change of plan, he sent the family ahead while he was delayed on business concerning zoning problems following the Great Chicago Fire. While crossing the Atlantic, the ship sank rapidly after a collision with a sea vessel, the Loch Earn, and all four of Spafford’s daughters died. His wife Anna survived and sent him the now famous telegram, “Saved alone …”. Shortly afterwards, as Spafford traveled to meet his grieving wife, he was inspired to write these words as his ship passed near where his daughters had died.[3]

Bliss called his tune Ville du Havre, from the name of the stricken vessel.[4]

What a week! On we go.

I’d like to post a brief update of the week and how great it is when things actually seem to run smoothly.

After the incredible Sunday we had in which God provided us with $8,900 in less than 12 hours, I was excited about starting out this week. Beginning with about 37 miles remaining in New Jersey, I made it 53 miles on Monday with a goal to be really close to Virginia by the end of the week. The remainder of the week went as follows: 45.5, 50.3, 51.8, 48, and 60.6!!! Anyone who knows the AT in Pennsylvania knows this is a mentally tough section with the rocks. The weekly total was 309.2. To say I am excited about this week is an understatement. The only issue I had this week was a sore Achilles on Friday evening, but fortunate icing, rest, and prayer allowed it to heal in 8-10 hours.

With just over 1000 miles to go to finish at Springer, it’s nice to know that the toughest part of the trail is behind me. Everyday gives me more of an appreciation for the trail and all the challenges it presents. Just a few days ago a passing hiker asked me if I was training for something, I answered by telling her what I was doing. After thinking about it, I wish I would have said yes. I am training for life. I am training for living in a 3rd world country. I am training for the challenges that will need to be overcome. I am training to finish life giving all that I am.

We all face times in life when we know the final outcome will be less grand than what we intended from the start. What God is teaching me on the Appalachian Trail is that this is no reason to stop giving all of myself. If we stop trying when we know the outcome may not be great, we are saying the only outcome worth fighting for is the grandest one. Wake up everyday and give all of yourself. In the end, you won’t regret it. Finish the race strong.

33 days: 1167.5 miles

Massachusetts, Connecticut, New York, and New Jersey

We began this week just over the Vermont/Massachusetts border. Brack and Beth showed up last Sunday night bringing new life to the crew as well as a pacer for 3 days! The week started out big with 49 miles on Monday, followed by 43 and 44. I was happy with these numbers as once again there were some really difficult sections through these parts. It was really nice to have a pacer though. As Brack left on Thursday morning, I still managed a 46 mile day with no pacer. Unfortunately Friday was rough. It was one of those days that everything seemed to go wrong from the beginning of the day. We started out the day driving to the wrong place, and didn’t get started until 7:30 or so. The wheels continued to fall off, but with a nap around 1:00 I managed to get 30 in for the day. I came back, got some great rest, and was ready for a big day on Saturday. Saturday began with a fairly difficult section much like the day before, but flattened out after 15 miles. 48 miles on Saturday, brought us to a 261 mile week.

So now you know the numbers for the week, let me tell you what really happened behind the scenes 🙂 Last Sunday night, I got up around 2 am to get a snack. Ryan was up which was really weird. He let me know that his hard drive crashed with over 2 weeks worth of footage. Well, this set the tone for the week. I rarely saw Ryan for the next few days, which really weighed on me heavily. This weighed on me so much that it was a huge part of the meltdown on Friday. Ryan had been my primary crew to this point, and change to routine is typically not good when attempting something of this magnitude.

Let’s fast forward to Saturday night… When I decided to call it a day after 48 miles we headed back to the campground for dinner. Everyone was acting weird and Ryan said he had something to tell me. He told me that not only had he been working on recovering footage, but also looking at the budget. With a shaky voice, he told me we were out of money. Not only that, but it was gonna take $10,000 to make it back to GA. With such a large crew, and staying in campgrounds every night. The total daily cost is over $300 per day. This was a punch in the gut. I mean, we need $10,000 tomorrow or we have to go home? Are you kidding me? Is this really how it ends? I have had so many thoughts go through my head. Could God be sending us home? Could he provide that much money in 1 day? The only option we have is to surrender to whatever God decides. We all decided to sleep on it.

I got up this morning, and Beth and I headed to Mcdonalds for my weekly Sunday morning breakfast binge. I wrote an email to our supporters and let them know the situation. I was very clear that I believe whatever happens happens, and God is in control of it all. I had already come to terms with the fact that God may not provide the money and had to trust if this is the case than it is his will. We went back to the campsite and everyone else wanted to go eat. Beth and I decided to go with them and eat again, obviously 🙂 Sitting and eating kinda felt like the last supper. We have been on this incredible journey, but it very well may be coming to an end. When we were leaving the restaurant around 1:00 I got a text from a great friend asking me to call him, he was one I had sent the email to. I called him and what he said was unbelievable. He told me that he had talked with his wife, and that God has blessed them recently with some bonus checks at work. They have $5,000 they want to give us. He told me just don’t stop. I was speechless for the next couple hours. What seemed impossible was now a little more manageable. God obviously doesn’t want us to quit. I came home and took a nap, then woke up to 2 emails. One of them was someone giving us $900, and the other was one of my best friends telling me he has some to give us too, just not sure how much.

The biggest question I have pondered this week is this “Why is finishing the trail so important?” To that I have no answer, I just know it is. I know God continues to provide what we need to press on. So, that is what we are going to do. We are gonna keep moving forward and begging the Lord to make himself known through this journey. And you know what, that’s exactly what he’s gonna do. In a million years I would have never thought this journey would have played out like this. I never thought we would have spent nearly $10,000 fixing vehicles and RVs and such. All I know is God is in control. The same God who created the universe and all that is in it has called us to this journey and planned out every step. That is a comforting thought. Thank you guys for following this journey. I can’t wait to let you know what happens this coming week.

26 days: 858 miles

Drew

Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts!

(This was written Sunday – sorry for the late post!)

 

I have a lot to celebrate this week! I made it out of New Hampshire and Vermont 🙂 Last night I crossed into Massachusetts where I am spending my Sunday. As expected, Vermont wasn’t as tough as NH, but it was no cakewalk.

Monday was spent climbing the last of the NH mountains, followed by a 47 mile day on Tuesday into VT. I was met in Hanover by a friend from high school who treated me to the best burger I’ve ever eaten, thank you Matthew! Wednesday was rough. I began the day hoping for 50 miles. I made it to 22 miles and was exhausted, took a 20 minute nap before the next 5 mile section. When I woke up, a storm was on its way. I made my way up the mountain, and just as I was near the top, a lightening storm was on top of me. With most of this section being on the ridgeline, I had to book it back down to get out of the lightning storm. I waited for the lightning to pass over for an hour and a half. But, during that time I let my emotions get the best of me. I mentally quit for the day. So I walked around trying to get a signal to call Ryan. Finally, I got him and 45 minutes later I was on the way to the campground. This was easily the lowest point I’ve hit on this journey so far. The next 3 days I did bounce back and seemed to feel letter each day.

I am running more and walking less, and it feels really good. My only issue now is my Achilles began to tighten midday yesterday. I hope icing and resting today will resolve that though.

Brack and Beth are getting here today, which means I have my first pacer as well as another person to join the crew. I am truly hoping that the combination of a pacer and less elevation change per day could possibly mean big miles this week. As always these are my preferences, but ultimately God will lead me on the daily and weekly journey he desires. The words “nevertheless, not my will but yours be done” continue to pop into my head multiple times every day.

Thank y’all for praying for this journey. I am anxious as to what the outcome will be. I know God is at work, and I know he is making himself known in this unconventional journey.

 

19 days: 597 miles

I Finally Made It Out of Maine

This has been a difficult week for me. The most difficult section of the trail is southern Maine and New Hampshire. 

I crossed into NH on Wednesday and really began to lose miles.

Thursday I made it to 21 miles and planned to summit Mt Madison and Mt Washington before calling it a day. To be sure, we then checked with the park to make sure the road to Mt Washington would be open. Unfortunately, it was about to close.

Without the proper heat with me to camp, I decided to call it a day, get some sleep, and begin again early Friday and make up those miles – beginning with the toughest climbing of the entire trail. The initial ascent up Mt Madison is about 2,700 in 2.5 miles!!! After that, the trail stays above the tree line for about 12-14 miles, eventually making it’s way up to 6,300 feet to summit Washington.

At one point I missed a turn and ended up losing an hour and a half backtracking before starting up Madison. At this point, I was heavily discouraged and moving pretty slow. I felt better on the way down Mt Washington and I was moving well as long as the descent was gradual. These were the most beautiful miles if the trail.

About 3 miles from the road, I had to descend another 2,500 feet, and my knees were killing me. Oh, and the rocks were super slick all day. About 2 miles from the car, my left foot slipped and I did something to my right knee and could hardly walk at this point. Painfully, I continued to limp down to the car. My plan initially was to regroup at the car and push trough the next 28 miles that would take me into the night. But, with the injury I had to decide what was best. I called my PT friend and we decided it was a strained quad tendon. He recommended I rest and ice, as continuing immediately could possibly end my journey completely.

 Here, I began to crunch the numbers and realized the record was out of reach. I was destroyed, discouraged, and couldn’t bend my knee. As discouraged as I was though, I slept for quite a while and could actually walk the next day. My knee was sore, but manageable. That morning I began the tough 28 mile section over three 5,000 ft mountains.

 

If you’ve been waiting for the encouraging part then keep reading.

 

Within 30 minutes God was pouring himself out to me. I began to think more clearly.
My mind transitioned from “I’ve let everyone down by not breaking the record” to this…

What does it say to the world if I do succeed?
Did I not ask God in the very beginning of this journey to produce the outcome that would bring him the most glory?
If so, what changed Drew?
Do you not trust that God is in control? Do you not believe this is exactly what God desires?

Bear with me here guys, this is good stuff! 

What if God wants me to fail? What if he desires to show himself through my failure?
What if success only sends out the message “if you have enough faith, God will make you successful”?

I don’t like that message. God doesn’t ever promise us success on earth. He promises us himself. What if the message God desires to show the world through this story is this, “sometimes you fail, and that’s exactly what I desire.”

I’m not talking about giving up here. I’m talking about fighting tooth and nail to run this trail as fast as I can, and falling flat on my face at the end & failing to break the record.

I think it’s dangerous to link God’s goodness with our success on earth. I’ve never been a fan of the prosperity gospel. 

For a long time I have heard that it’s good to fail, but it’s always followed with eventual success. If my willingness to continue to fail is only contingent on my eventual success, then I have missed the point. I may never “succeed” again in my life, and that may be exactly what God desires.
Be content with knowing that you are chasing fully after God himself and all the callings he has on your life.
Run the race so as to win the race. Never let up, never stop giving it every bit of yourself. When you succeed or fail, know that God is in control and bringing forth the outcome he most desires. We are merely a vessel to carry out part of the master plan he has designed. 

Thank you guys for praying that God does mighty works though this journey.
By the way, I’m hoping to put in over 300 miles this week. I’ll let you know how it goes.