"I am a voice shouting in the wilderness, Clear the way for the LORD's coming!'"

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Monday, June 14, 2010

Beautiful People!

When we woke up at the hotel we did not want to get out of bed but we had to check out soon so we took advantage of the complimentary breakfast. We needed to ship some things home so we headed for the post office. We were still exhausted from the previous day so we made some phone calls to the people we had met in the area, and got a ride for a few miles to Tuckahoe State Park so we could rest our feet a little while longer. A beautiful sister in Christ named Dawn picked us up and gave us a ride. We enjoyed a wonderful conversation of our Lord Jesus Christ. Dawn thought of her friend in Arnold across the bridge who has a prayer/worship service in her home on Monday nights and wanted to connect us with her. So we had to say goodbye to Dawn and find our campsite. There just so happened to be an ADT shelter at the park that was free to camp in. It was a three sided lean shelter with lots of wasp nests and bumble bees, surrounded by a beautifully lush green moat of Poison Ivy. It was a real treat!!! After a nice night of sleep we woke up friday morning, packed up and cooked some oats. We got started down the trail and the weather was great, not too hot yet. Just a mile down the road we ran into a soldier who was doing his morning workout with his pack. We stopped to talked to him a bit and asked for tips on how we might prevent our feet from the horrible pain we were experiencing. He said first of all, get rid of the hiking boots since we were going to be on asphalt for a while. Thanks to G.I. Joe I am now wearing a nice pair of running shoes that I picked up at the Reebok store at the outlet mall in Queenstown. They really are making a huge difference. The weight on our pack has increased a little from our boots but I will say it is worth it for now!!
We only went about 7 or 8 miles that day. I was praying for a place to camp and asking God to show us. I felt in my spirit him telling me, "Ask and ye shall receive". We sat down to take a break in front of this beautiful farm home and I told Jeff we should just go ask if we could pop our tent. This was the first time we had had to ask to camp in someone's yard so we were a little nervous. As we were walking up the long driveway I saw a Jesus fish on the car and above the door and I felt relieved. We knocked on the door and a beautiful little ten year old girl came to the door. We asked if her parents were home and she called for her dad. Mr. Sultenfuss came to the door and we told him we were walking across America and we needed a place to camp. He said he saw us earlier that day sitting down by the road, and said we would probably be by. We told him we were walking for Christ and he said, "oh your Christians, come on in." He led us to the kitchen table and introduced us to his children and we sat and drank some cold water and told them our testimony.


Kristin and I finished telling them our story, and their father Mark invited us to stay for dinner. We were delighted and surprised! While we were still at the kitchen table talking we met a friend of theirs. An 18 year old guy by the name of Randy. We will tell you about him in a bit. Now Luke Sultenfuss is the 14 year old son of the house, and he is one amazing kid! He loves to hunt and fish and experience the wild things of this world. Perhaps even more than me!! He is also an accomplished Taxidermist. He specializes in waterfowl mounts and has one impressive turkey that Randy and he worked on together. Luke also has a brand new black lab puppy by the name of Teal. She is going to be one impressive bird dog! Luke found out that I train dogs as well and was delighted to ask me for advice. Which I gladly shared. Audrey is their 10yr/old daughter and she was so sweet and kind. She was into cleaning and showing her lamb. Then there is 3yr/old Sophie. She was the cuter, more adorable, and more talkative Sultenfuss. I hope that the casting crew for the musical Annie gets to see her. She's the perfect Annie!! Unfortunately we were unable to meet their other 3 kids and Mrs Sultenfuss, but if they are half as nice and Godly as the rest of their family I don't know if Kristin and I could have handled it!! What an amazing family! Shortly after Mark took me into the small town of Centreville, MD to pick up the authentic sicilian pizza we were to have for dinner. It was very good!! After a great dinner and conversation, there were some chores to be done around the farm... We have some pretty great footage of Kristin milking their goat!! After that they took us on a truckbed-tour of their farm. We got to see some deer, baby woodducks, and the spot of their farm where Mark had come to accept Jesus as Lord! When we returned back to the house, Mark built a big fire and we roasted marshmallows, and shared scripture and understanding. It was the perfect end to a perfect day! We had the most restful sleep out under their pecan tree that night! In the morning Mark prepared us homemade pancakes made with fresh goat's milk and hand ground flour. They were amazing!! The homegrown organic eggs didn't hurt either. :) After breakfast, a load of laundry, showers, and coffee, we took pictures and bid farewell to the Sultenfusses. We did not want to leave them. We felt like we had known them for years and we are blessed to have people like that in our spiritual family! We will be praying for you guys!! Thank you SOOOOOooo much for your love and hospitality!!! We can't wait to meet again someday. Whether it is here or in THE Kingdom!! May God bless you all.
Now when we met Randy at the Sultenfusses we had mentioned how we wanted to attend church somewhere on sunday. Randy immediately offered to take us to his church on sunday. We made arrangements to call him saturday night so he would know where to pick us up on sunday morning. We were excited.
Randy is an incredible young man. His faith is so rock solid and he is not embarrassed or shy about talking about God. He and I have a lot in common as well. We loves to hunt and has a lot of the same views about creation as I do. It was refreshing and see and hear Randy speak about God. You just don't see someone his age with faith like that very often. We have his parents (and God) to thank for that. All of the Nelson children are strong believers in Christ and are an uplifting family to be around and learn from.
So after bidding farewell to Mark and his kids, we headed back down the trail. We felt like God had really put a quickening into our step and we were making great time! We happened to pass a garage sale on the way and was treated to some shade and a cold bottle of water by some wonderful believers there. God is allowing us to meet the most wonderful people on this journey! After hanging out there for a little while we were able to make it almost to Queenstown, MD when I got this crazy chafing going on! It was the most miserable couple of miles so far!!!! Not to mention our feet were starting to really hurt too. Thankfully just outside of Queenstown there was an outlet mall where we were able to sit down in some A/C and get some cold drinks and a fresh cookie. That made it all better. We went into L.L.Bean and picked up a travel pillow for me, and a new shirt and socks for Kristin (Unfortunately for her, the socks turned her legs into a big rash. But the socks fit me just fine!! Man they are nice hehehe!!!). We also were able to pick up some really nice running shoes there. The women who were working at the Reebok store where we got our shoes were so helpful and encouraged by our testimony. The manager even gave us a great discount when we went to pay. It took us off guard and we were very humbled once again. Thank you so much!! After a good break (and many strange looks) at the outlet mall we headed back down the trail. We managed to walk another 4 miles or so to a little Methodist Church in Graysonville. Both Kristin and I had a very uneasy feeling about camping there and decided to give Randy a call. He lived in the area and we thought that he could tell us a better place close by. He promptly told us that he was going to come pick us up and we could camp in his front yard!! We were so relieved! On the way back to his house he took us to Ledo's Italian Restaurant where we met his Sister Andrea and a singing sheriff!! After some incredible pasta, we went back to Randy's house, set up our tent and crashed out! In the morning Randy told us we could take showers and we got ready for church. After getting ready and packing up camp, Randy and Andrea took us to the Pier just down from our house where we saw lots of minnows and some skate (stingrays). It was a beautiful morning out on the bay!!
After hanging out on the pier we headed off to church. When we arrived we were treated to bagels and coffee and plenty of smiling faces! Apparently Mark Sultenfuss had just happened to get a random call from Randy's pastor the night before and Mark told him all about us. So after a great sunday school lesson about being fearless we found our seats and was introduced to the pastor Tom. He asked if we would mind sharing a little about our testimony, and we said "Of Course!!" So we were able to talk to the congregation a bit about what we were doing. Their church is a very close family. I don't think that I have been in a church that prays that much for each other in a very long time. You could feel the love of Jesus through the people there and we were blessed and encouraged by them! God Bless Island Alliance Church!!
After church Randy and Andrea took us to Stevensville Crab Shack. The waitress, who was a friend of theirs, talked me into trying my first soft crab. I gotta tell you, it was so good!! I'm hooked. Their food is some of the best I've had and they are some of the nicest people too!! While we were ordering our food, Randy was telling them about our trip and testimony. A woman who was waiting on her order overheard the conversation and recognized us from church. She quietly walks up to Randy and hands him $40 for us to use on lunch!!! I knew something was up when I saw the look on the faces of Randy and the Crab Shack employees. After she left he told me, and Kristin and I were amazed! After our spectacular meal of crab and scallops and clam and shrimp and other tastes of the bay, I went back in to pay for our meal. After I had paid I realized that I had forgotten to tell them about the big bag of their seasoning that I was wanting to buy to send to my mom. The owner Bob told me to put my wallet away and that he would be happy to give it to me. I was amazed. Then he told me to wait there and he went back into the kitchen for a few minutes. When he came back out he had two Jesus fish necklaces in his hand for Kristin and I. Turns out that they are Godly believers and he is actually going on a mission trip to Cuba soon. It really moved Kristin and I. Then as if that wasn't enough, the girl who waited on us and was friends with Randy and Andrea came up and handed us $10!! We were blown away!! THEN, as we were leaving Bob comes out and puts a $50 bill in my hand and tells me that our meal was on him!!! I can't even begin to explain the feeling we had as we left their place!! The people there at the Crab Shack are some of the most wonderful, hard working and caring people we've met!! You guys have blessed us in so many ways and humbled us to no end. Thank you for your generosity and kindness. Randy and Andrea were blown away too! You have touch all of our hearts!
For incredible food, smiling faces, and local hospitality you DO NOT want to miss Stevensville Crab Shack! They are located in the shadow of the Bay Bridge at Rt 8 & Pier One Road in Stevensville, MD (410-604-CRAB) Ask for Bob or Cheri and tell them we said Hi!!!


So after lunch we headed to the beach which had a great view of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge. (Some of you received pictures!) We enjoyed soaking our feet in the sandy beach after the humid, sweaty walk we took to get there. Andrea and I had a nice talk and I told her about scavenger hunts, an activity Norman Community Church does in their Disciple groups where they go out into the field and ask God to show them someone that needs prayer. She was smitten with the idea and couldn't wait to tell her youth pastor. We did not have any plans for the day so we went back to the Nelson's home and met Randy and Andrea's parents. We got to spend the evening with them and ate some really yummy food cooked by Mrs. Nelson. They were such a beautiful family. We shared testimonies and talked about our awesome Lord all evening! We were sad that we were going to have to leave them soon. Randy was going to stay the night at the Sultenfuss's house so we got to sleep in his comfy bed. We didn't drool on your pillow Randy! Haha!! We woke up this morning and went with Andrea to drop off Rachel, the younger sister at school. Then Andrea took us across the bridge. Andrea has a beautiful spirit and we were sad to see her go. She did not want us to leave either. We are with you in spirit sweet Andrea!! Keep your mind on the things above sister!
So we are sitting here in Arnold on the west side of the Bay bridge updating our blog so you all can read about the awesome things that are happening on our journey. The soaking, a prayer/worship meeting starts at 7 so we are just gonna wait around for that. The weather is beautiful here right now, 82 degrees and sunny. I think we will go find a post office soon and check out what Arnold has soon. So over and out for now. God Bless the readers of our blog!

~IJN, Kristin

"May God hold you in His hands until His return!"
~ The Vandagriff's


  1. Awesome..... I am so Thankful God placed these people on your path. It honestly lifts me up....We all worry about things all the time, but listening to your travels have really shown me that God is always in control.

    Be safe & your in my prayers.. Shannon

  2. I am so blessed and encouraged by how God has brought so many faithful servants into your path--what an answer to the many prayers being prayed for you. It is encouraging for you, too, I am sure. I am also convicted about showing kindess to strangers. Your experiences and willingness to share testimony will ignite passion for God in many.

  3. Finally get to follow you two!! I am so amazed by how beautiful God has already made your trip. His love is endless and so is mine!! I pray for you guys everyday and feel insanely blessed to have gotten to know both of you! I look forward to reading your blog everyday~ with the highest love and peace ~
    Nicole Racolta

  4. How amazing is the love of our Father and His provisional hands. I love love love that He is taking care of you two down to the smallest details of your walk. Awesome! Thanks for keeping us updated; we will continue praying for you guys! Love you!