This post was put together from reports sent to Young Life West Virginia committee and friends. 

YoungLife is a ministry that thrives on dedication, and the chair member from the YoungLife West Virginia mission committee shows us exactly how to dedicate your life to Jesus. 70 year old Taylor McCluskey is hiking across West Virginia.  Along the way, he has had the company of friends and other ministry partners, but a good portion of the walk has been just him and the pavement. Mirroring the Freedom Prayer Walk taking place in Tanzania, the mission committee had a vision of praying for kids in West Virginia, praying for kids in Africa, and raising awareness of YoungLife across their state. Taylor and his wife, Carolyn, started the trek in Huntington and ended in Petersburg on July 30th. Taylor will have completed 300 miles on foot with his wife following in an RV.

He’s encountering problems with a blister on his right heel and pain in his left knee from the stress of the walk. The Lord is healing him incredibly, and when Taylor asked for the pain to be taken away, the reply he received was "my grace is sufficient." What a trooper and obedient Son! He started shortening his hikes, but averaged out 17 miles a day for the first 6 days. With the help of a walking stick, an attentive wife, and the Lords encouragement, Taylor hasn’t been held back. God is good all the time!

The McCluskey’s have been able to minister and pray to kids they’ve met on their journey, as well. Carolyn connected with a sweet girl named Abigail who rides the bus hours to school every day. They talked about the bus and classes, and Carolyn was able to pray over the little girl as soon as she got back to her RV. Praying over rural kids is what the vision for this walk is all about- asking the Lord to take every child in West Virginia into his Kingdom. Their hands-on work and getting dirty throughout the day is an incredible reflection on how Jesus wants us to live.

By the 7th and 8th day, Taylor’s hikes started to get longer and colder. He took a wrong road at a fork and ended at a dead end with some wild and unwelcoming dogs. Apparently there are a lot of them in West Virginia and Jesus got to test their patience and trust in His security! This was just to prepare him for his bear sighting on the 9th day. God can be so comical. The things you endure for the Kingdom, right? He hiked 20 miles on day 10, landing him at a nature center where they connected with a worker who was familiar with YoungLife. Common conversation was good for their souls after a long and cold day.

Their trek is now complete, and they continually reminded themselves why they are out walking. Carolyn says it’s for “kids, communities, YL staff, camp, more leaders, and more.” Taylor’s incredible strength shows how big our God is, and Taylor’s incredible heart shows us how we should also be living. There is a lot to be learned about dediction from the McCluskey’s and the way they executed what God put in their hearts, even if it wasn’t ideal or made them look crazy amongst fellow West Virginians. We pray people join Taylor in prayer and continue the walk as he completed this month. Pray for continued healing, continued strength, and continued dedication for the couple that is taking the YoungLife ministry by the horns and transforming West Virginia one step at a time.