Both legs of the "Next Mile" journey are winding down.  Spirits are high and God continues guiding everyone toward a world where it is possible to "imagine" a world without malaria.

Randy Pasqua (director of Holston Conference Camp Ministries) and Don Washburn (director of Camp Lookout near Chattanooga) headed out early Wednesday morning on a two day, 130 mile journey.  The day began at Pleasant Hill UMC in Roane County with stops in Sweetwater, Loudon, Friendsville and several other places before arriving around 4:30 at 1st UMC in Maryville.

Day three of District Superintendent Charles Maynard's journey began at Oakland UMC where pastor Stephen Yeaney joined him for several miles. (A few weeks ago Stephen got a radical haircut after his congregation raised $2000 for INM)   Upon crossing into Blount County, Charles made a comment regarding the mile marker "0."  He said, "two days of walking and I'm only at mile zero."  

Charles made a stop in Fairview to have lunch with Holston Conference Bishop Mary Virginia Taylor and several local pastors.   During the stop, the skies began to darken and the thunder started to roll and after the lightning passed it was time to get back on the road.   Randy and Don mentioned several encounters with storms along their route, including some tense moments crossing Fort Loudoun Dam.

From Fairview UMC,  Charles was joined by pastor Jerry Russell for the walk to 1st UMC in Maryville.   Randy and Don made several stops at churches just outside the city including Middlesettlements and Bungalow UMC.

The highlight of the day came in the evening after the walks and rides had ended.   People gathered at 1st UMC Maryville for a special communion service marking World Malaria Day (Thursday).   Randy and Charles along with Rev. Asa Majors and Tim Jones.  Part of the opening invitation and prayer talked about connections and how on "this day we gather with the conviction, that God is raising us up to make a difference in the lives of so many who are affected by malaria."



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