Ok, so we prayed about which way to go. If we stayed on the trail it would have taken us 111 miles to go to a town 30 miles away. We did not feel convicted to stay on the trail so we decided to go the shorter route. Well after mapping out our route at the library, and printing off the directions for the new route, we started down the road. We started walking around 4:30pm. We made it maybe a mile down the road and we saw a church with a nice pavilion behind it. It was Peebles Baptist Church. We then noticed that they were going to be having a Wednesday night bible study so we decided to stick around and go the bible study. We were also hoping that they would let us stay in their pavilion out back since it would be dark after the service. We waited until 6:00 and went on in the church. We were warmly welcomed as guests, and Pastor Wells made sure that we were brought up to speed on what they had been talking about before starting. They were going through the book of Daniel. The bible study was great. We discussed the things in Daniel, and the pastor was right on! It's nice to hear a pastor who preaches the truth, because it doesn't always occur in some of today's churches. After bible study ended they started asking questions about our story so we told them. They were very excited to hear about how we were walking by faith and trusting in God. It was what the bible study was all about!! So we talked WAY after it was time to leave and we asked if it would be alright if we could camp behind the church in the pavilion. Well they all looked at each other and started talking about how cold it was going to get that night and the pastor asked the small congregation there if anyone objected to us sleeping in one of the back classrooms of the church. They all eagerly agreed that it would be the right thing to do. It is so wonderful to meet people who profess Christ to be their Lord and then have the actions to prove it. After exchanging information and bidding each other farewell with long good-bye's, we headed over to the back of the church to cook our dinner and get a good nights rest. It had been a few days since we had slept well. We've had a few nights of cars going by all night and cows serenading us until morning. So this safe and quiet place to sleep was a real blessing that couldn't have come at a more perfect time. We were also happy to have a quiet nights sleep that night because we knew that we had 3 days of walking down a very busy and very noisy 4 lane interstate. So we slept like babies and it was great!
When we awakened the next morning we decided to pack up and go to the McDonald's down the street to get our coffee fix and pollute our bodies with disgustingly delicious cardboard food! On the way out the door we saw a guy in the church, Jeff said, "How's it goin'', and we left. The guy said, "hi", and just had a puzzled look on his face. When we got to McDonald's we ordered our food and I sat down and as we sat down Jeff was approached by the man we saw in the church before we left. The man was shouting in Jeff's face about us not having permission to be in the church. Jeff told him the pastor had given us permission, but he said nobody had authority to tell anyone to be in HIS church except him. Jeff said, "really! Are you Christ?" The man got furious and continued to yell at us. I told him he was not being very Christlike and he continued to exercises his authority and making sure that all of McDonald's knew that he was the only one who had the right to let someone sleep in his church. He said he was a trustee of the church. I thought, "whatever that means!" I told him it was obvious that it is not Christ that he is serving and I told him I was going to call the pastor and he said, "go ahead and call him, I am the one who has authority of that church!" So then he said he was calling the cops and then he left. As he was going out the door Jeff asked him from across the room, "Hey wait, how do you know a Christian?" The man paused with a puzzled look, but no anwser. Jeff said, and I'm sure all of McDonald's heard, "BY THEIR FRUIT!" He just muttered something under his breath and left. I called the pastor and he said he was sorry and that that guy was not going to be on the board of trustees after this month. I think that explains his disposition. Perhaps he was bitter because he was about to lose his power! I hope God shows him how ungodly his behavior was and he is humbled by that experience. As for Jeff and I we were definitely humbled by the persecution we received. It is just sad to see the persecution coming from someone who professes to know Christ! On top of all that, he was wearing the church's sweatshirt. It said in big white letters on his back, "PEEBLES BAPTIST CHURCH." What a sad witness for that church.
So shortly after the guy left, the cops showed up and we were glad to show them our id's and give them the pastor's # and tell them what was going on. They said that there had been some break-in's to churches and they just had to make sure there was nothing unlawful going on. After they left, I sipped on my coffee a little while longer and then we headed down Measley Ridge Road where we came to a business called "Cedar Works". I had to use the powder room so I went in to see if I could use theirs. As I was using the bathroom, an Amish gentleman walked in and was talking to Jeff. He asked if we wanted to sit and talk for a bit. We agreed and went into the conference room to chat. He had just been reading a book about a guy who walked all over the world named, Steven Newman. So he was fascinated and wanted to hear more about our journey and so he invited us to come and have dinner and spend the night with him and his wife at their home. I was so exited because I have been wanting to spend time with an Amish family for a couple of years now. God knew that this would be the perfect time for that, I think that is why we took the shortcut that we did. So the Amishman, Mr. Keim, drew us a map of how to get to his house, which was only 4 or so miles and we said we would meet him there.
As we were walking down OH 32, Mr Keim and his working partner pulled up in a van and asked if we wanted to ride with them to his house, they were going home for lunch. We said we were content walking but we put our backpacks in the van so we could slack-pack. The views of the valley and the mountains were beautiful! When we got to the house we were greeted by Mrs. Keim dressed in a humble blue Amish dress and a head covering. She invited us in and gave us a cold cup of water. "How scriptural!" We got to know Mrs. Keim a bit and then took some showers. Yes showers. These Amish are not the more conservative that I have read about. They have running water and a refrigerator that uses propane to power it. They do not have electricity though. When Mr. Keim got home we helped him with a little project, putting cedar blocks together to put around a flower bed. One of their sons and grandsons came over and met us. His grandson stayed for dinner. Dinner was wonderful! After dinner we cleaned up so we could go for a horse and buggy ride! Yeah!!! After going on a trip down the road to check out the Herb festival that was being set up for this weekend we went back to their home to visit with each other. I had asked Mr. Keim to share some history of the Amish people with me and so he did. It was fascinating! Then Mrs. Keim wanted to hear our testimony and they thought that it was fascinating as well. Mr. Keim said he would be glad to take us to Williamsburg because he and his work partner were going that way anyway. We told him we would pray about it. I think he secretly wanted us to stay a couple more days. We would have loved to but Jeff and I have been feeling for a couple of days that the Lord is quickening our spirits to get farther down the path for some reason. So in the morning we had both decided to take the ride. We had a wonderful breakfast with the Keim's before we left and we said prayers for each other.
On the way to Williamsburg we stopped at a scrap metal junk yard and that was quite a site. They had these huge machinery that looked like dinosaurs that would just come grab something out of the trailer and toss it in a heaping pile of other metal junk. I was amazed that man had come up with such things and wondered how long it would take to learn how to operate one of those metal beasts without hurting someone! Jeff said probably a couple months of hands-on training. We then drove down the highway a few more miles and got to the town of Williamsburg. There was road work keeping us from going into town so we just said we would get out there and walk the rest of the way. After they drove away Jeff looked over and guess what he saw? A BLUE BLAZE TRAIL MARKER!! They had unknowingly dropped us off right on the trail! God works in mysterious ways indeed. Now we are at the library updating all our readers. I hope you are enjoying our journey as much as we are!
I am so grateful for all the friends we are making on this journey. God is so gracious to have us cross paths with all of those we have met. We pray for all of God's saints often and ask him to bless you and keep you. We miss everyone back home and cannot wait to see you again. Peace be with you all!