Mike Rumsour, of Missouri, stands Monday along Victory Way with a cross he and a friend built over his shoulder. Rumsour started traveling with his cross in March from the Golden Gate Bridge as part of a project to share his faith with people across the country.

Photo by Joshua Gordon

Mike Rumsour, of Missouri, stands Monday along Victory Way with a cross he and a friend built over his shoulder. Rumsour started traveling with his cross in March from the Golden Gate Bridge as part of a project to share his faith with people across the country.

Man carries cross through Craig, across country

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Walking along a sweltering desert highway in Nevada, Mike Rumsower was screaming to the heavens. The strong desire for fast food with no restaurants for miles around was bad enough, but even more seriously, he was starting to question his mission.

But, he kept walking, and within two hours everything made sense again, as he soon met a series of people who couldn’t help but stop and ask him about his unique traveling equipment.

Rumsower, of Gallatin, Mo., recently passed through Craig with a large, 40-pound wooden cross on his shoulder. He has been walking across the country as part of a project called Walking in Obedience.

“It’s about trying to help turn people from dark to light and find their faith in Christ,” he said. “I’ve had three dreams about going across the Golden Gate Bridge with a cross. For many months, I’d argued with the quest and once I decided to do it, everything started to fall into place.”

Setting out on March 30 from the San Francisco landmark, Rumsower has since covered more than 1,000 miles, talking to hundreds of people along the way about their relationships with God. However, he said he prefers not to initiate conversation, rather to let people approach him if they want to discuss his mission.

“A lot of preaching I do is one step at a time,” he said. “As a Christian, I believe that we’re not to preach at someone and ram it down their throat. It should be a question, and you couldn’t force it down my throat before I found Christ. There’s a saying: ‘Preach the gospel always and if necessary, use words.’”

Rumsower will end his walk in Gallatin. This is the fifth such walking tour for him but the first to go outside of Missouri.

He said he wants to cover the other side of the nation next year.

“I’d like to go to Washington (DC),” he said. “I think we could use more faith in the capital.”

Rumsower said his journey to serving the lord involved many trials and tribulations, as he experienced problems with his work, home and family before getting serious about his faith about four years ago.

His life still had difficulties even after his embrace of spirituality, with his faith being tested by his wife of 11 years leaving him and their three children.

Rumsower likened his time on the road to the rest of his days — some are filled with smiling faces and support while others are terrifying. He has had a gun pointed at him more than once during the last few months.

“I’m not really in fear of any of that,” he said. “If they shoot me, they’ve done nothing more than set me free.”

One incident in particular went from bad to good. While in Dayton, Nev., two months ago, Rumsower was standing next to a stop sign while carrying his cross when a car pulled up next to him.

“It was a guy in the passenger seat of a Suburban, he rolls down his window and he was screaming,” Rumsower said. “‘You people are the reason my people keep getting shipped back to Mexico! Who are you going to crucify with that?’”

Rumsower’s attempts to calm down the stranger only resulted in the barrel of a gun being shoved in his face until something he said struck a chord with the assailant.

“He said, ‘I could kill you, you know,’” Rumsower said. “I said, ‘You sure could. You’d be doing nothing more than setting me free and you’d still be empty inside.’ Tears filled his eyes and ran down the passenger seat and he left.”

Rumsower encountered the man’s wife an hour later.

“She hugs me 20 minutes with the cross in between us and asks, ‘What did you say to my husband?’” he said.

Rumsower learned his words had inspired the man who could have killed him to drop out of his gang, clear all the guns out of his home and start attending church every week.

“He’s turned the tide,” Rumsower said. “He’s put his family first and God first and we visit once every other Sunday.”

Rumsower said he had to go through the same overhaul of his life when accepting God, putting his three children ahead of other aspects. He described his two sons and daughter as his “steady, strength and heart.”

While Rumsower is on the road, the kids are getting reacquainted with their mother. Though he misses them, he said he wants to return to Gallatin with the sense that he’s completed something.

His camcorder is proof enough that he has made a difference in dozens of lives. Rumsower has collected testimonials from numerous people who have talked to him about his walk, his cross and how it affects them.

“There’s a lot of noteworthy stories,” he said. “I was walking down the center of Highway 50 in Nevada, the whole time I was yelling at God, ‘Why do you have me here, what is my purpose?’ There wasn’t anybody there to see me and there wasn’t even a bicyclist to knock me off the road.”

Rumsower said he continued his tirade for hours before stopping to thank God in spite of his dismal surroundings. Almost instantly, he came into contact with motorists full of questions and experiences to share, including one couple who offered him something that brought tears to his eyes: two burrito supreme specials from Taco Bell.

“I was just sitting on the side of the highway eating my burritos and crying like a 4-year-old because I doubted my father in heaven,” he said.

Food isn’t usually as far and few between as that. Rumsower keeps a cart of supplies attached to the base of the cross. He shops frequently at the towns he passes through and he has bedded down at hotels about one-quarter of his time on the road.

He most often camps out with a fair amount of amenities. He keeps a small generator attached to the cross, which recharges through the motion of the cart’s wheels as he walks.

Rumsower arrived in Craig over the weekend, staying longer than he anticipated because of a mechanical difficulty with his cart, the third of which he has used while traveling.

However, the layover allowed him to visit some local churches.

“My experiences here have been great,” he said. “Some wonderful churches and very nice people.”

As a non-denominationalist, Rumsower said he wants to promote the idea of all Christian groups unifying.

“Not only have we used religion and race to not be united in this country, but we use it to the point where it’s like saying, ‘My faith is better than yours,” he said. “If you actually put everyone together in one room, what are you going to have? Everybody always says, ‘An argument,” but in all reality, you’ll have the full contents of ‘The Bible.’”

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Comments

alneal 3 years, 3 months ago

Forrest Gump already did this in the early seventies!

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lonelyone 3 years, 3 months ago

That is an awesome story. You have more faith and gumption then I'd ever have I think, but I think what you are doing is pretty great. We saw a man several years ago in a hot lonely place in the middle of Wyoming doing the same thing. He was handing out booklets and his family was traveling with him in a car, but still he was walking many miles carrying that cross. I hope your journey does what you hope it will.

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OneFly 3 years, 3 months ago

Religiously insane people do absurd things because - - - they are not not quite right and then publications such as this give them credibility where there is none.

There is no finger snapper in the clouds.

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misterwhiskers 3 years, 3 months ago

Oh Jesus! The irony of religion is that because of its power to divert man to destructive courses, the world could actually come to an end. The plain fact is, religion must die for mankind to live.

The hour is getting very late to be able to indulge in having in key decisions made by religious people. By irrationalists, by those who would steer the ship of state not by a compass, but by the equivalent of reading the entrails of a chicken.

George Bush prayed a lot about Iraq, but he didn't learn a lot about it. Faith means making a virtue out of not thinking. It's nothing to brag about. And those who preach faith, and enable and elevate it are intellectual slaveholders, keeping mankind in a bondage to fantasy and nonsense that has spawned and justified so much lunacy and destruction.

Religion is dangerous because it allows human beings who don't have all the answers to think that they do. Most people would think it's wonderful when someone says, "I'm willing, Lord! I'll do whatever you want me to do!"

Except that since there are no gods actually talking to us, that void is filled in by people with their own corruptions and limitations and agendas. And anyone who tells you they know, they just know what happens when you die, I promise you, you don't. How can I be so sure? Because I don't know, and you do not possess mental powers that I do not.

The only appropriate attitude for man to have about the big questions is not the arrogant certitude that is the hallmark of religion, but doubt. Doubt is humble, and that's what man needs to be, considering that human history is just a litany of getting things dead wrong.

This is why rational people, anti-religionists, must end their timidity and come out of the closet and assert themselves. And those who consider themselves only moderately religious really need to look in the mirror and realize that the solace and comfort that religion brings you actually comes at a terrible price.

If you belonged to a political party or a social club that was tied to as much bigotry, misogyny, homophobia, violence, and sheer ignorance as religion is, you'd resign in protest.

To do otherwise is to be an enabler, a mafia wife, for the true devils of extremism that draw their legitimacy from the billions of their fellow travelers.

If the world does come to an end here, or wherever, or if it limps into the future, decimated by the effects of religion-inspired nuclear terrorism, let's remember what the real problem was that we learned how to precipitate mass death before we got past the neurological disorder of wishing for it.

That's it. Grow up or die.

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OneFly 3 years, 3 months ago

I'm very happy that they didn't get me.

There needs to be a law against parents breaking a childs mind forever with pure rubbish.

I belong to the only true church- http://www.churchofreality.org/wisdom/welcome_home/

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misterwhiskers 3 years, 3 months ago

Ranger...correct-o-mondo! Serious and Social Mental disorders in my head....aching for hopeless cases like yourself.

Tell me the last miracle that was graced upon you?

or the divine ways in which God himself has laid his glorious hands on you?

I am sure I am wrong and ole' JC is probably your dinner guest tonight....last supper's are for quitters anyway!

You want your kids to know the truth about religion... KIDS It's like the lotto. "You can't get saved if you don't play."

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deveron 3 years, 3 months ago

Christianity is being a believer and follower of Jesus Christ which is very different from religion. Religion is dead and based on works.Christianity involves having a relationship with the living God. A Christian or follower of Jesus Christ doesn't have the answers but knows the one who has all of the answers. Humility (the state of being humble) has nothing to do with doubt and everything to do with having a proper understanding of who you are. A person should not be prideful or haughty and think more highly of him/herself than he/she ought. We need balance in every area of our lives. But more than anything we need TRUTH. If we truly and sincerely desire truth about God, life after death, heaven, hell, etc., it will be revealed to us. We just have to be willing to set aside our own preconceived ideas and diligently search for it(truth).

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