Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Saturday, July 4, 2009
Thursday, July 2, 2009
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
Monday, June 8, 2009
As of June 8, 2009 the donations totaled: $ 3835
Are you able to sow seed into this ministry? Please pray about this opportunity and follow as the Lord leads. Tax deductible donations may be sent to:
New Covenant Community Church of God
2530 Conowingo Road
Bel Air, MD 21015
Checks should be made out to NEW COVENANT COMMUNITY CHURCH OF GOD
On the MEMO line please write TINA SAKERS ATM or APPALACHIAN TRAIL MINISTRY
Thank you in advance for your prayerful consideration.
"When was the last time you set aside time for what is most important? For the person who is the most important? Laziness and familiarity can take their toll. Jesus becomes comfortable, a habit, not exciting or awe inspiring. Too often he fades into the background of our busy lives. But Jesus hasn't changed. And he invites us to meet him again.
The same Jesus who spoke the universe into being. The same Jesus who went from heaven's glory to a stable. The same Jesus who took on flesh, walked the earth and took on our sorrows. The same Jesus who suffered, bled, and died on the cross as our substitute, for our sins. The same Jesus who conquered death and rose from the grave. The same Jesus who will one day return.
We gather to worship him, to study his Word, and to rediscover who he is and what he has done."
The group of 14 Sonshine was with made it to the Baltimore Convention Center with a half hour to check into the conference and make their way into the first general session. The schedule of general speakers was as follows:
Christ's Preeminence - Joshua Harris
Christ's Incarnation - D.A. Carson
Christ's Life - Kevin DeYoung
Christ's Death - C.J. Mahaney
Christ's Resurrection - Sinclair Ferguson
Christ's Return - Sinclair Ferguson
All of these messages may be downloaded free of charge at this address: http://www.thisisnext.org/resources
Sonshine would highly recommend that you listen to these messages. She was richly blessed to have this time to reflect, refresh, reconcentrate and refocus on Christ.
Friday, June 5, 2009
Hiker Nutt and Roscoe waited for Sonshine at the Bailey Gap Shelter and they all took a break and ate lunch. After lunch they agreed to meet at the next road. While climbing 1650 feet up the trail, there was a section of the trail that was rocky for about two hours. Sonshine twisted her right ankle and knee several times throughout this section. It was a struggle for Sonshine to push on to meet Hiker Nutt and Tim at the road. On the ride back to town, they passed a large hotel and resort called Mountain Lake Hotel. Once they were back in Pearisburg they ate dinner at a pizza place. They asked their waitress about the hotel and she told them that the movie Dirty Dancing was filmed there. This is the website for the hotel if you want to check it out: http://www.mountainlakehotel.com/ After dinner Tim and Hiker Nutt dropped Sonshine off at the Holy Family Hostel for the night. There were 4 hikers at the hostel on Monday night. Tuesday morning Sonshine woke up and her right ankle and knee were both swollen, each time she stepped down pain would shoot up her leg from her knee. Sonshine decided to try hiking and see how she felt that day to see if she should go to a doctor and have her leg checked. Tim and Hiker Nutt came to the hostel early again and picked up Sonshine. They all went to Hardee's for breakfast. At Hardee's Sonshine saw SHERLOCK AND CIRCUIT RIDER again, they are the two preachers from Michigan who have hiked the trail for several years, more information about them can be found at http://www.heartbeatat.com/ Sonshine was able to talk with these two men and they were a great encouragement to her. After breakfast at Hardee's, Hiker Nutt, Tim and Sonshine were headed for the trail. On the way to the drop off point, they stopped by the Mountain Lake Hotel and drove around. They were able to confirm that what the waitress had told them the night before about Dirty Dancing having been filmed there. They found the gift shop and it advertised that the film was filmed at this location but it was not open yet, so they did not go in.
While starting the hiking for the day, Tim and Sonshine met a hiker named ALMOND JOY. Almond Joy is a young man from Israel who has been hiking the AT, (see pictures). Tim offered to slack Almond Joy's pack for him but he declined. While getting Roscoe ready to hike, Hiker Nutt found a tick attached to his ear. Hiker Nutt was able to get the entire tick off of Roscoe and put alcohol on his ear. This was an important reminder to everyone to be diligent about putting on bug repellent and to check themselves for all ticks and other insects regularly.
Sonshine set off hiking for about an hour, while she was ascending a 600 foot climb, she decided to turn around and head back to the truck where she knew Tim was waiting. Sonshine thought maybe a day of rest would help her ankle and knee.
Once she met up with Tim, they waited at a road crossing for Hiker Nutt and Roscoe. They met several hikers while waiting: FLY BY, WHISHY WASHY, SNAG, MUDDD, GIDDY UP, ALMOND JOY and others. The first hiker to come by was Almond Joy whom they had met earlier in the day. Almond Joy was surprised to see these two again and this time he stopped and chatted with them. They again asked him if he wanted to slack pack and this time he asked what that meant. After explaining to Almond Joy what slack packing was and sharing some water and food with him he was able to load up a small day backpack with the supplies he needed for the day and let Tim slack his pack to the next road. Almond Joy was so excited to accept the help and be free of the complete weight of his pack that he skipped off down the trail!
When Hiker Nutt came to the road, she was happy to give Roscoe a break after they had hiked 5 miles. Hiker Nutt was training Roscoe to be a hiker dog and she said that he had a rough morning. He constantly was pulling and wanting to run after each and every smell and sound. This made hiking that much harder for Hiker Nutt. Roscoe was happy for a break and went right to sleep once he was in his crate.
When Tim and Sonshine left the road they met Hiker Nutt at, Tim had 6 packs on the back of the truck that he was slacking for hikers. Once at the next road crossing, after finding some shade to park the truck in, they waited for the people who's packs they had on the truck. Tim picked up packs from GEEZA, TOP SHELF and GOOSE to drive to the next road a mile away. Tim was also able to talk to some hikers he had met earlier in the week. Tim enjoys slack packing Hiker Nutt, because he is able to meet and help many hikers while waiting at road crossings.
Once Tim had 9 packs on the back of his truck, they traveled over to the next road crossings a mile away. Tim unpacked the packs and lined them up along the AT for the hikers to pick up, (see pictures). As the hikers were picking up their packs, some stopped to take a break and to take pictures.
After a long day, Tim, Hiker Nutt and Sonshine went back to the town of Pearisburg. They went to the hostel and picked up a friend of Tim and Hiker Nutt's - DARTMAN, who had just come into town that day. The four of them along with SON DANCER went to dinner at a local Mexican restaurant and enjoyed a delicious dinner!
On Wednesday, Sonshine walked to the local doctor's office to get her right knee and ankle checked. After arriving at the doctor's office at 9 am, Sonshine made an appointment for 1:15 pm and decided to stay at the office to wait for her appointment. After being seen, the prognosis was severe tendonitis in both her right knee and ankle. She was advised to take two weeks off, wear braces and to elevate and ice her leg as much as possible.
Once Sonshine was back at the hostel, a hiker named FEED BAG limped into the hostel. Feed Bag is from Nashville, TN and he and Sonshine were able to talk about what they both enjoy about Nashville. Feed Bag is hiking the AT to raise awareness about World Vision. He worked for World Vision before hiking, touring to share the message of World Vision and to attempt to get 2,200 children sponsored through World Vision. He has a website that you can visit to find out more: http://www.2200miles.com/ Feed Bag had hurt his ankle a few weeks prior and had been nursing it since then. He felt as though he needed to take some time off the trail to properly rest his ankle. As God would have it, Feed Bag's young adult group from church would be heading up to Baltimore for a convention for the weekend. From Nashville they would have to take 81 to get to Baltimore and therefore would be passing by the hikers. Feed Bag offered this to Sonshine as an option for getting a ride to Baltimore to take some time off.
Thursday, Tim came back to the hostel to pick up Sonshine after dropping Hiker Nutt and some other hikers off on the trail. Tim and Sonshine were able to perform some more trail magic while waiting for a hiker named SLED DOG that Tim had slack packed to arrive at the road crossing. Sonshine was able to rest her leg and explore the trail at a more leisurely pace, along the way meeting T-SUDS, MAVERICK, NIGHT FIGHT, HAPPY and a few day hikers. While resting her leg, Tim and Sonshine talked about Environmental, Health and Safety issues from both their respective work places. Tim works for a large carpet manufacturer and is a key player in the facilities department. Sonshine was able to witness to Tim and learn more about his and Hiker Nutt's life in GA.
While waiting to pick up Sled Dog after her 27.1 mile day of hiking, Tim and Sonshine hiked up to Wind Rock, (see pictures). Tim took Sonshine, Sled Dog and Rehab back to the hostel for the night. Tim found a place to camp for the night and Hiker Nutt spent the night in a shelter to break up 22 miles of hiking into 2 days.
When they had all returned to the hostel, it was brimming with hikers: TRAIL BAIL and STARBUCKS are brothers hiking a section of the trail for a month, REHAB is a father from PA out completing the trail from a hike he began last year, WOMPUS CAT is a recent graduate of Penn State University and is hiking as far as she can before starting grad school, FASTACY FEET is a man who has walked up and down the trail for a few years, along with Sled Dog, Rehab, Almond Joy, Goose, Geeza, Top Shelf, Feed Bag and Sonshine. Wompus Cat, Trail Bail, Starbucks and Sonshine played rummy as the sun was setting, (see pictures). This was the best sunset on the trail yet! Once the sun had set, Trail Bail and Starbucks made a delicious dinner of quinoa and stir fried veggies to share. This was the first time many of the hikers had ever had quinoa and they found it very tasty. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to rice or couscous. After dinner everyone cleaned up and called it a night.
Friday, Sonshine talked to Feed Bag about the trip up to Baltimore on Saturday. Feed Bag said that there was room for them to ride up with his church group. Feed Bag also told Sonshine about the NEXT conference and asked if she would like to attend that with his church group. After Sonshine read about the conference online (http://www.thisisnext.org) and prayed about it she accepted the invitation but instead of staying in a hotel with the group, she and another girl from the group would stay at her Mom's house in Harford County to be spared the expense of the 3 night hotel stay. Sonshine stayed around the hostel elevating her leg and cleaning the hostel during the day. She was able to have a lengthy conversation with Fantasy Feet about the Lord Jesus Christ and why He came to earth to save the world through his death and resurrection. Fantasy Feet was very open to hearing about Christ and the plan of Salvation. Please keep him in your prayers.
Friday evening while the hikers were sitting outside talking and enjoying the view, Father Prinelli came over to check on the hostel. He sat and talked with everyone for an hour or so and asked for some help taking towels over the church to be laundered. He was a very animated story teller and a funny guy. He invited Sonshine and Feed Bag over for tea and coffee the next morning and they accepted.
Saturday morning after packing their bags and tiding up the hostel, Feed Bag and Sonshine headed over to the church to fellowship with Father Prinelli. Feed Bag was able to play a few hymns on the piano and Father Prinelli sang along. Father Prinelli also convinced Feed Bag to try to play the organ, Father Prinelli said in his 31 years at the church he never had any members of his parish that knew how to play. After tea, coffee and fresh fruit with the Father, Sonshine and Feed Bag met a man who is a shuttle driver that they had arranged to pick them up and drive them the 20 miles to interstate 81 to meet Feed Bag's church. The driver took them to Denny's and dropped them off. They ate lunch and waited for Feed Bag's church to arrive.
Thursday, June 4, 2009
Damascus, Va is called the friendliest town on the AT and is the home of the Appalachian Trail Days Festival. Trail Days was first held in 1987 as a commemorative event for the 50th anniversary of the AT, the festival activities and crowds have grown ever since. Activities include a hiker reunion and talent show, hiking related exhibits, arts and crafts exhibits, a trout rodeo, street dances, live music and the popular hiker parade through downtown.
The First Baptist Church of Damascus has developed a mission outreach team exclusively for the festival and has been blessed by help from 4 other churches from around America. This year the church offered use of the sanctuary for seminars, set up a free internet cafe for hikers, fed hungry hikers for free, held a coffee house with free food for hikers and an open mike, had a mobile laboratory for health screening; including blood pressure, cholesterol, blood screening to check for nutrition deficiencies, feet washing and several podiatrists on hand to exam tired feet and handed out hygiene, first aide, food and supplies for hikers, free showers, hiker worship service, free shuttles back to the AT, free eating contest and much more . Everyone helping was sharing the love of Christ Jesus by working and openly sharing the gospel. They had many pamphlets, booklets, New Testaments and tracks to offer as well. There was definitely a lot of effort and organization put into the support offered by the church! This is the churches website: http://reachdamascusfbc.org/
Hikers filled into Damascus for the celebration as early as a week before the event. Some stayed in Bed and Breakfasts, Inns or Hotels, while most camped in an open field known as Tent City. Sonshine's Mom came down for the festival and they stayed in a town about 30 minutes away called Marion, VA. They were able to check out the vendors, attend some seminars on hiking the AT and other popular trails and watch some slide shows. Sonshine enjoyed meeting two guys she started the trail with on day 1, then called The Two Erics, their trail names are now: BROWN COW and BROWN CHICKEN from a joke someone once told Eric. They both are still hiking together and loving the AT!
While watching a slideshow on the Continental Divide Trail, Sonshine and her Mom sat next to a hiker named SONDANCER and his wife. Sondancer and his wife are from Hereford, MD and they were excited to meet some other Marylanders. Sondancer's name means "One Who Dances For His Father," (both his earthly and heavenly Father (God)). Sondancer is hiking to raise awareness for the Alzheimer’s Association because his Dad has Alzheimer’s disease. He and his wife stayed in a bed and breakfast during the festival and he was sharing his reason for hiking and the owners asked if they could pray for him. They asked Sondancer if he was afraid of having Alzheimer’s disease one day as well and he said that was a big fear of his. The owners prayed for Sondancer's health, that God would allow for this disease to pass over him and also for God to keep him safe on the trail. Sondancer also had a table set up about Alzheimer’s awareness at the festival and he was able to raise some support.
Sonshine and her Mom attended the annual hiker parade, (see pictures) learned about Contra dancing which is the same as square dancing and fellowshipped with other hikers. After 3 days of the festival it was time for Sonshine to get back on the trail.
Saturday, May 30, 2009
Friday, May 29, 2009
Thursday, May 28, 2009
Upon completion of the 72 miles in the Smokey Mountains National Park, there is a hostel about 2 miles outside of the park called Standing Bear Hostel. The hostel is a 100 + year old farm that the owners Curtis and Maria have turned into a hostel. The fire at the hostel was very nice and relaxing after a week without fires. Sonshine met many new hikers here, some had been at the hostel for a few days, working in exchange for staying there. Sonshine was told that Curtis and Maria were planning to host their First Annual Standing Bear Farm Hiker Party for the next day.
Sonshine decided to stay the next day to enjoy the party at the hostel. Curtis and some other hikers roasted a whole pig over a fire most of the day and Maria, who also owns a restaurant in town with her Mother prepared the fixings to go with the pork. There was a local band that came to play and the rain held off long enough for them to get set up on the porch of Curtis and Maria's house. (See pictures for photos from the party.) There were about 100 people who came to the party: current hikers, past thru-hikers and people from town. After an hour or two, the party turned into more drinking than eating, so Sonshine went to bed.
It is very unsettling to witness all of the drug use that goes on near towns. Many hikers will go into town to get drunk or carry out alcohol with them to the first shelter on the trail. Many hikers smoke cigarettes as well as abuse other legal and illegal drugs. Sonshine sees more and mores, why the Lord lead her to the mission field of the Appalachian Trail!
Sonshine went to the post office to pick up her mail drop with her next week's supply of food inside. Sonshine's mail drop was not there but she was surprised to have received two cards. One was an Easter card from her Mom and another was an encouraging card from a friend at her church in Bowie, MD. Both of these cards were very thoughtful and encouraging for Sonshine! About the food box, Sonshine took the trolley into the nearest grocery store the next day to buy her food for the next week. The trip to the grocery store took about 5 hours round trip. Sonshine did get to enjoy the town and the tourists along the way. The motel that she stayed in was very hiker friendly. She especially enjoyed talking with the managers one who is from India and his wife who is from Trinidad.
Sonshine also was able to talk with some of her hiker friend's : TWO - PACKS, IZZY, SHAMELESS BLUE BLAZER, TOM, HOUDINI, BLINK and BLESSED.
My apologies for taking so long to give you the update on journal entries that I had last received from Sonshine at the end of April. I have not received any updates since then, though Sonshine has blessed us with uploads of her pictures. :) YAY! :)
As of mid-April...the AT Hikers had found themselves in the midst of sleet, snow, rain and hail with drifts that were as high as Sonshine's calves! However, she was able to spend a 3-day weekend with her Uncle over Easter which was a major praise! One of her mail-drops was somehow delivered to a popular hiker location - but that meant that she and her uncle had to backtrack to find it. But praise - her food for the week was located! There were tornado warnings for the area where her Uncle lives for about 6 hours when they got to his house, praise God, He kept them safe from harm.
After the 3 day weekend with her uncle, Sonshine was back on the trail. She stayed at what is known as the best shelter on the trail: Fontana Dam Shelter also known as the Fontana Hilton, (see pictures). This shelter sleeps 24 people, has cement picnic tables, showers and indoor plumbing. Sonshine was glad to reconnect with familiar hikers.
Sonshine asks that you pray for a hiker named WRATH. They had a long conversation about God, Jesus and Christianity. Wrath believes that he is from an alternate universe and he has been trying to beam back for about 5 years. He seems to be a heavy drug user and mixed up in the occult. Please pray for his salvation.
Sonshine also talked with TWO-SHOES about Christianity. He is currently reading through the Bible, but he feels as though all religions are aimed towards peace, a happy family and living a good life. He sees all religion's as serving the same God. Please pray that Two-Shoes continues to read the Bible and that He would meet the True and Living God! Please also pray that the Lord would allow these conversations to continue.
Sonshine meet a fellow hiker named BLESSED. Blessed is also a believer in Christ Jesus. It was refreshing for the Sonshine and Blessed to talk about God's wonderful creation and the unique way they are getting to enjoy it.
Sonshine also asks for you to pray for protection against insects and animals while she hikes. She has seen some poisonous spiders and has been through the Smokey Mountains, which are the home to some 1,000 - 1,400 bears.
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
Click on Slideshow and enjoy.
Sonshine *Matthew 5:16*
Saturday, April 25, 2009
Since last hearing from Sonshine - she seems to have had the opportunity to meet with various ministries on the trail and the people involved. One of the new people she met with were Stephanie Strong who, along with Keith Ivey, lead up the North Georgia Resort Ministry (check it out at www.gmrm.org). They were actually working with the Appalachian Trail Servants at Neel's Gap to help with feeding the hikers for 21 days. It seems a little discouraging to hear that many hikers, while open to the services they are offering for free food, are not open to hearing about the Word. In many cases, hikers have said to her that they will go so far as to refuse the help if they know that Christianity is involved. Keep praying that the hearts of people will be open to God and His love!
From here she moved on - looking forward to reaching the Blueberry Patch hostel that was mentioned in the last post. Unfortunately again, many hikers seem unwilling to take advantage of the services these stewards of Christ are offering because they do not want to be preached at. It is discouraging to hear that people are so opposed to hearing about the Word or even accepting help from others just because they are Christians!
Eventually Sonshine made it to the Blueberry Patch Hostel which is run on donations by Gary and Linnie Poteat. The hostel is actually their garage converted into a bunkhouse that can hold ~10 people. They have several animals at the hostel - all with Biblical names which is pretty neat. They have 2 donkeys they use as their main witnessing tool because of the cross that the donkeys have on their back. While she was there, Gary took a few of them to town where she had the opportunity to connect with the world again using the Internet and eating at an all-you-can-eat restaurant. Once she got back to the hostel, a few of them talked and planned the next few days of hiking together. To her surprise, a hiker name Bones arrived at the hostel. Bones had previously stated he wouldn't stay there because it was a Christian run place. Sonshine asks for prayer for Bones and his salvation and for God to break his chains of addiction.
Now hiking on...she's made it through Georgia and has entered North Carolina territory! :) The NC entry is a little daunting and instead of a switchback trail - it went straight up about 2000 feet! Talk about a hike! :-P That night she actually spent at a motel in town. Here she met a woman who is unfortunately getting a divorce after 63 years of marriage. Sonshine asks for prayer for her as she is lonely and been through a life of abuse. Sonshine was able to witness to her and share Christ's love with her. She is currently looking for a home church to become a part of but is first planning on moving to FL.
While in town she met with Craig and Suzy Miles who were offering breakfast at their church for hikers through the AT Servants organization. They actually took Sonshine out for lunch where she was able to share with them the ministry that had brought her to AT and they further shared the ministry of ATservants. Here she also met two other missionary hikers, Circuit Rider and Sherlock. It is actually their 8th time hiking the trail! You can check our their website at www.heartbeatat.com. They are from Michigan and their church sends them to AT every year and were able to offer Sonshine some encouragement. Here she also was led to pick up a book, Jesus Among Other Gods - The Absolute Claims of the Christian Message by Ravi Zacharias. Here's the amazing part...later after lunch she met with a man, Larry, who was checking into the same motel and planning on staying in town for 6 months prospecting for gold. Turns out - Larry was a Southern Baptist Minister who had converted to Muslim! While talking with Larry, he tried to persuade her to believe they were both serving the same God and then Sonshine knew why she had picked up the book! She offered the book to Larry and Sonshine is now praying that God will lead him to read it and would show Himself real to Larry!
The next 2 days of hiking Sonshine encountered severe thunderstorms, fog, freezing night, and crazy winds! Finally - one day they were blessed with their first sunny and dry day! Prayer request - Sonshine's right ankle has been "acting up" - she had broken it back in 1991 but she still has some problems with it occasionally. She asks that we pray for her physical strength.
And here I see the first drawn "smile :) " in Sonshine's journal...she was able to attend Life Fellowship Baptist Church! She was most blessed being able to worship with other believers! Another praise is that Sonshine has met a hiking partner from Alabama! They have been hiking together and will continue until Bama leaves the trail in VA. God is Good....All The Time! :)
Keep praying for Sonshine as she continues hiking and meeting new people on the trail. Don't forgot to check back for updates! :)
Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks....