Appalachian Trl. an ‘amazing opportunity’ for witness
FRANKLIN, N.C. (BP)--To understand a person, walk a mile in his shoes. But if that person is an Appalachian Trail thru-hiker, you'll have to walk several hundred miles. "It's not until about mile 500 that they start to listen," said Suzy Miles, a North American Mission Board Mission Service Corps missionary. "Before that, they're superheroes." Suzy and her husband Craig started Appalachian Trail Servants (AT Servants) six years ago so they could help represent Christ through service, evangelism and discipleship to reach the longtrail hiking community trekking the 2,175-mile Appalachian Trail. The couple has hiked about 1,000 miles of the trail themselves and visited most of its length to conduct ministry training to churches near trailheads and to minister to hikers through acts of kindness. The Mileses are two of more than 5,300 missionaries in the United States, Canada and their territories supported by the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. They are among the NAMB missionaries featured as part of the annual Week of Prayer, March 7-14. This year's theme is "Live with Urgency: Share God's Transforming Power." The 2010 Annie Armstrong Easter Offering's goal is $70 million. As NAMB Mission Service Corps missionaries, the Mileses must raise their own support among family, friends and related churches. Although they are self-funded, they also receive additional support -- such as training, administrative support and field ministry assistance -- from the Annie Armstrong Easter Offering. The Appalachian Trail is a marked, yard-wide footpath winding through the Appalachian Mountains from Springer Mountain in north Georgia to Mount Katahdin in central Maine. Conceived in 1921 and completed in 1937, it passes through 14 states. More than 4 million people hike some part of the trail each year, and another 2,000 "thru-hikers" attempt to go the entire distance. Suzy grew up in Dahlonega, Ga., with a family who took hikers in, fed them and shared with them the truth about Christ. Craig, a native of Stone Mountain, Ga., had earned a degree in economics at the University of Georgia and seminary master's degrees when he met Suzy. Suzy had been the hiker in her family and, before long, the couple and her family began hiking almost every weekend in the North Georgia Mountains.