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Entering into the Passion

July 3, 2019

Hello friends,
We are officially half way done with our journey. The weeks have seemed to just fly right by. This past weekend we were so thankful to stay with the relatives of our fellow walker Anthony! Staying with his Aunt Nell and Uncle Mike and meeting the rest of his family was such a blessing.
Saturday we prayed outside the abortion clinic, and admist the chaos of upset cars driving by and the honks for us and against us, I just felt drawn deeper into prayer. The devil tried so hard to distract us and pull us away from prayer, but the almighty powerful God calls us deeper. He calls us to be present for the death of the unborn, to give our love to them, to pray for the mercy and conversion of those behind those doors, and for all who are involved with this evil. Saturday mornings at the abortion clinic take you right into Christ passion. There are so many parallels between the crucifixion of Christ and the death of the unborn. We are called to be there as Christ, to be His cry saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do!” In that moment, we are there to give the only human love that unborn child might ever know, and to be a vessel of Christ’s mercy to all.
This week was both the feast of the most sacred heart and the feast of the most precious blood of Jesus. Trusting our prayers to His sacred heart, and through His mercy and the power of His precious blood, we continue to pray for an end to abortion.
I offer today a special prayer for all those mothers who have been told to abort their child because of a deformation or abnormality. My heart breaks for so many women who have been told that and then chose to have an abortion. A lot of the women I have met who have been through this situation have chosen life and have borne perfectly healthy children. And whereas a few did not, raising their children with special needs has given them a unique opportunity to give of themselves and experience peace and joy. I’ve even seen the peace and joy in the hearts of women who have given their children a fighting chance before the love of the Father called that child Home to eternal rest. There’s also women I’ve met who did not chose life, they lost their peace and gained sorrow, but many of them have found peace in the love and mercy of the  Eternal

Father.
Chose life. Chose to acknowledge that Christ is still alive and that His plan is greater, ALWAYS.
God loves you.
Much love,
Mikayla Olson, Southern walk 2019

Appreciate the little things

June 25, 2019

Hello y’all,

This weekend marks our halfway point as we reach Dallas, TX.  This past weekend we stayed in Abilene and it just had me thinking how God has truly taught us to appreciate the little things.

We have received so many huge blessings, but nothing compares to the little blessings because it’s the little things that keep us going. Simply having access to the showers or a comfy bed to sleep in is something any crossroads walker would never take for granted. Or when we are out walking and praying for an end to abortion, God reminds us just how much he loves us all. From the beautiful flowers and the cool lizards to the longhorns and the horses, God is constantly gracing our senses.

Along the walk there is conflict, sorrow, and frustration. Sometimes we miss home, feel discouraged, or defeated. Yet by God’s grace we are not overcome by it, but conquer it all. We remember why we are walking when we receive a simple thank you from a stranger, and can just hear the Lord saying to us, “Don’t give up now!” We offer things up, and keep on walking (even through the  thousands of locusts and grasshoppers that try to jump on you!!) We offer it all up for the souls of the unborn, for those in purgatory, and all who are lost. We shake the melted tar off our feet, wipe off the sweat, and amongst all that is thrown our way we are filled with joy. If this is what it’s like to be filled with grace, then this is how I want to face my suffering for the rest of my life. Like literally, this is the life we are called to live.

    The other day at daily Mass, I was looking up at the Crucifix and thinking, Wow, how could anyone ever see themselves as mere slaves to Christ? What kind of slave master would become a man just to die on a cross for his slaves? Every little part of that infinite trinity loves us deeply, and wants to fill us with infinite joy even amongst our sufferings. It’s a good feeling to know that Christ and the Blessed Mother are with us every step of the way.  At the half way point I can say yeah, I’ve had my days. We all have, but we wouldn’t want it any other way. Many of us were reluctant to join this walk, yet I don’t think any of us are going to want to leave when it’s over. So until then we are going to enjoy each step and keep on praying.

To all those in despair, wondering if there’s anyone out there who cares, and for all the unborn, this one’s for you!

Much love,

Mikayla Olson, Southern Walk 2019

Fathers

June 18, 2019

The protectors

In honor of Father’s Day being last Sunday I just want to talk about Dad’s. All dad’s, including future dads, spiritual dads, old dads, young dads, priests, all of them.

Looking into the book of Genesis we know men are called to protect. I’ll never know what it’s like to be a dad, but I can tell you what it’s like to know and be loved by amazing Dads, especially our Heavenly Father.

On Sunday Andrew, Anthony, and I sat around a table talking about our Dads and  how they have lived out their vocation of the Fatherhood. I talked about how my dad has always made his daughters feel protected and beautiful. He raised daughters that understood the dignity and respect they deserve, and through his little words has shown us the importance of protecting woman and the unborn.

Andrew talked about his Dad going to jail for operation rescue and how proud he was of his Dad and his efforts to protect the unborn. Anthony talked about how his dad was always willing to stand up for what was right and protect his family. All three of us talked about how hard our fathers worked and what a joy it was to see dad come home from work growing up. To all our Dads out there thank you for raising up a pro life generation.

Before I wrap this up I also want to thank all the men we’ve met along the way, especially Lawrence from the nurturing center, and Edward Garcia who run their own ministries and have saved lives.

I’m also grateful for every priest we’ve encountered along the way who has graced us with the sacraments, their blessings, and prayers.

Lastly, I pray that all you men protect the women in your lives and support them through difficult times, and help them to chose life.

-Mikayla Olson, Southern walk 2019

PS Dad if you’re reading this I love you!

A mission of life

June 14, 2019

One of my favorite feelings is when I can grunt out of satisfaction and say “I’m living right now!” This past weekend I had one of these experiences when my team and I were praying outside of an abortion clinic. We were guided in prayer by one of our hosts for the weekend and prayer warrior, Edward. He assured us that less than half of abortions occur when people are praying outside of clinics because the sight of someone who is on their knees praying serves as a sign to those considering abortion. I could feel the power of prayer while we were outside, which reminds me of Christ’s words: “wherever two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in their midst.” As we finished our morning of prayer, Edward was visibly excited: “Way to go guys-when people yell at us, that is a sign of the devil’s anger and that you are powerfully manifesting God’s presence.” What a nugget of wisdom!

May God bless you and grant you the courage to do His will amidst opposition!

In Christ,

Jessica, Southern walk 2019

Week 4: Soldiers for Christ

June 12, 2019

Hello all,

It’s been another amazing week of crossroads and we have finished walking through Arizona, and are nearly through New Mexico. Huge shout out to our amazing host family for the weekend, the Gonzalez family. I was lucky enough to get to celebrate my birthday at their place. Mrs. Cammy Gonzalez even made an amazing cake, which Jason later smashed my face into. It would be great if I could tell you we had no more bad experiences with experiences with cacti, but Catherine and Anthony definitely rubbed their legs up against a cactus. It’s all apart of the sacrifice right?

This week I’ve noticed how often we are looked up to as heroes by the people we encounter. Most of the time I think we are just walking and praying, nothing an ordinary person couldn’t do. It’s an act of humility to accept such gratitude and appreciation. I find the more you do for the glory of God the more God showers you in return, we are forever in debt to Him. This journey is so much more than a walk for the sanctity and dignity of life. Within each of our souls as we walk, there’s a deep conversation with the Lord going on. All those things that we were unsure of during the hustle and bustle of everyday life back home has become clear. We see the Lord answering even our smallest prayers, and as we go we hear stories of hope, hearts being changed and bills being passed, as an answer to our biggest prayer. That prayer being that all life from conception to its natural death will be recognized and respected.

Oh what a joy it is to be on this journey knowing our Blessed Mother and Christ our savior walk before us.

Much love,

-Mikayla Olson, 2019 southern walk

Ride On

June 4, 2019

Walking into our third week of Crossroads and we’ve been having a BLAST! Last week was our directors birthday so we decided to all get gifts for her! But since it’s crossroads, we decided to only find gifts on the side of the road while walking to put a fun twist on it. The celebration was fun and she loved all of our odd gifts, mine being a toy motorcycle with the meaning of “ride on”, a way of life we should all embrace. I think our favorite part, other than Irene’s famous Spanish rice, was singing Feliz Navidad to her for no reason other than laughs.

Sadly, Irene is leaving after this week once training with the RV is done. Fun news though, we got the RV back! Two other walkers and I drove up to Flagstaff to pick up the fixed RV and we got to stay the night at my parents house in Phoenix. We had a fun RV road trip back where I got to learn about Opera singing from Mary, meet the veteran walker Carlos who’s been on numerous walks in the US and Spain, and got to learn to drive the RV with Martha. Ride on! Although I left my family, we stayed at my place for this past weekend which was awesome to get family time. My family was also super thankful because now when I tell stories of putting clown paintings in the RV, pool noodle attacks, catholic rapping, and all the adventures we go on, they can put names to people they’ve met. On another sad note, our favorite Julian, the JuJu train, our pride and joy, the real home slice, and our only veteran walker is leaving to head back to his family. But as God taketh away, he gives as well! As of Monday morning, Noah has joined us as a walker! Phoenix is looking hot temperature wise, but we’ll keep walking! See ya next week!
⁃Jason Stafford  Southern Walk 2019

The Desert

May 30, 2019

Crickey mates! It’s our second week of walking and we’ve officially reached the desert. Over the course of this week we’ve learned practical things like not to walk into poles while heroically saving a dog, or I personally learned not to touch a cactus even if it doesn’t look spiney. Haha yeah, we can laugh about it now. We’ve also encountered a countless number of amazing people. We’ve heard stories from mothers and grown children who were at risk of getting an abortion or being aborted, but by the grace of God and the pro-life mission they were spared. We’ve also heard stories of healing from those who have been involved in an abortion in the past.

These stories bring forth both Joy and sorrow, but like a priest said in his homily on Sunday, we are finally winning. This generation has grown up seeing ultrasound pictures, and they know that life inside the womb is fragile and precious. Even though we are ahead in this battle there are still hearts in need of conversion and souls that need saved. So with bloody blistered feet, rosaries in hand and smiles on our faces we keep on walking. Only 58 miles to Arizona.

Much love to all of our supporters!

-Mikayla Olson, southern walk 2019

Week One in the Books

May 24, 2019
Week one in the books. It’s crazy how fast 10 strangers can become great friends. Leading up to the start of the walk everyone was so excited to get out on the streets. I hope that excitement continues. Getting out there and actually walking has been amazing. At first it’s kind of scary because you feel like you’re wearing a big target on your shirt, but through prayer and the intercession of our blessed mother our fears fade away. Certainly, we do face a little opposition but the opposition is out numbered by our supporters. I love when we see people honking and cheering for us. My personal favorite was a mother driving by in an eight passenger van hanging half way out the window clapping and cheering. It’s people like this woman, along with all of the prayers of our countless supporters, that we have the courage and protection to keep going. We can not thank you enough for all your prayers.
This first week has also taught me how important the voice of the youth truly is. This pro life generation needs to break their silence. I love seeing the elderly light up when they see us walking. It gives them hope. I am beyond excited for the adventure ahead. You’ll be in our prayers!
-Mikayla O, Southern Walk 2019

Seven Life Lessons From Crossroads: Lesson Seven

July 14, 2018

The world is a much better place than you think it is.

 

If I were someone who just moved to the United States and could only judge it based upon what we see in the mainstream media, I would assume the United States is a dangerous, unfriendly, and godless place. How very wrong I would be.

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Thomas walked barefoot on a rainy Monday in Nebraska. Thank you everyone who stopped to check on us!

I have been completely overwhelmed by the outpouring of support our walk has received across the country. In Colorado we met Luke, a man who stopped us on the side of the road to thank us for what we were doing and offer us a place to stay at his house for the night. In Utah, Helen and I met a couple who pulled up next to us on the roadside and gave us ice cold water bottles. Thomas and I had five different vehicles stop to check on us as we walked through a cool, drizzly rain in Nebraska. 

Each weekend all summer and on the occasional weeknights we have a host family, the families have been gracious, attentive, and kind. We have been well fed (and beveraged – is that a word?), well entertained, and well loved. As you read in one of Helen’s previous posts, with a host family we went horseback riding. Our host families have also helped us go kayaking up and down a river, brought us to a museum, invited us to a young adult game night, lit a campfire so we could make s’mores, played board games with us, and more. We’ve had amazing conversations and felt so loved. Every time we’ve stayed with a family, it has given us much needed taste of home. Thank you so much to everyone who has hosted us!

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Thank you to all the Catholic parishes, families, and individuals who have helped us this summer!

The Catholic community support has been strong across the country. My Mass partners and I were treated to breakfast at three straight parishes after giving parish talks on weekends. In Denver, a few walkers met a man named Alan at a church who invited the entire team to a lake for a grill out, swimming, kayaking, and volleyball. Thank you Alan and family for such a fun afternoon! Thank you Father Tai, a priest in Utah who heard about our mission and insisted we stay at the rectory with him. He made us authentic Vietnamese food and served those of age homemade wine. Thank you to the elderly Catholic woman we met outside a Walmart who was nearly moved to tears as she spoke with us and was moved by our mission. Thank you to Greg and Marian in Missouri who saw us at a daily Mass and opened their home to us after hearing about our mission.

This post sounds like a post of thankfulness to the people we’ve met along this journey. It is also a post of thankfulness to God. Without Him, meeting these fine people and being able to safely witness to the dignity of life this summer would not be possible. I believe it is so easy to look at the world and our corrupt society and become disheartened. Walking Crossroads truly restores your faith in humanity. There are still good people in the world. God is alive and well in the hearts and minds of people across the country. He works through others. He works through the kindness of our host families and parishioners at the parishes we meet, through the words God intended us to hear spoken by a teammate, through the priests who say a special Mass just for us, and through the smiles of the children we meet in governor’s mansions, gas stations, and grocery stores.

The response from those we encounter on highways has been overwhelmingly positive.  I can count the number of times I’ve gotten the finger this summer on my hands, but I have gotten a thumbs up or happy honk more times than I can count. People have only ever pulled over to interview us, check that we are okay, or to thank us for our witness. The back of our t-shirts say “America is pro-life,” and it is true. We as a nation recognize that life is sacred and should be treated as such. This walk has renewed my hope for America’s future. Perhaps someday, through the grace of God, our culture of death will be transformed into a culture of life. Until the day that happens, I will pray, pray, and pray some more.

Thank you all for your support along our journey, and thanks be to God for allowing me to undertake the craziness and joy that is Crossroads a second time.

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A very special thank you to my 2018 Crossroads family (one member not pictured). You have made the journey a memorable and joyful one.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

For the last time, God bless,

Sarah, Central Walk 2018

Seven Life Lessons From Crossroads: Lesson Six

July 13, 2018
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This is the first group photo the central walk took together after I arrived. Say hello to “America’s Loneliest Road” along the desert in Nevada.

 

Humans are made to be in community with others.

 

This statement may seem obvious, but it is something I’ve developed a newfound appreciation for over the summer. In college, I had a strong, devout Catholic community who encouraged me to grow in my relationship with God and learn more about my faith. After graduating a few years ago, I have yet to become a part of another strong and young faith community. That is, until I again walked on Crossroads.

Imagine being part of a group of mostly the same-aged young adults united in faith and a common mission to witness to the dignity of life. We are from states across the country. We went to both Catholic and public high schools and colleges. We grew up doing everything from surfing to sledding to detasseling corn. Despite our diverse backgrounds, my central walk members have meshed and formed a tight knit faith community.

As someone who attended public school at every grade level, I greatly appreciate when I am able to pick up Catholic nuggets from those who went to a Catholic school. Upon hearing others on my walk discussing religious books they’ve enjoyed, I’ve written those down in a note on my phone. I’ve already ordered five books and hope to acquire more down the road. God works and communicates through other people, and there have been many of His messages conveyed through my fellow walkers this summer. As shared in a previous blog post, there is so much to learn when you listen! 

 

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At a private abortion clinic in Reno, Nevada, the central walk joined a local pro-life group in praying a rosary.

Praying together has been a huge blessing. Each day on Crossroads you pray morning prayer together with your walking shift and then night prayer together as an entire team. There’s just something special about praying together communally. Did you know that when you pray a rosary together as a group, the graces are shared among all those praying? I learned this from one of my fellow walkers. So if you are like a sleep deprived Crossroads walker who is walking and not quite as focused as he/she should be (that’s never happened to me before… right?), the graces gained by those more awake, focused, and meditative will be shared with all praying.

 

 

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Finding notes like this in the support van is one of the many reasons I love my team. Thanks for the laugh, Jim!

And through the sleep deprivation, the learning from each other, the discussions, and the prayers, we’ve managed to just have fun together. Our walk leader bleeds Nebraska Cornhusker red blood, so anonymous members of the team took it upon themselves to plaster over 20 of the state rival Iowa Hawkeye logos across the RV, in the fridge, the shoe bin, the baby shoes above the door, and even in his sleeping bag. I think there might still be one on a window of the RV, and these went up over a month ago.

 

When we were in Lincoln, NE, we spent hours scouring the town in an attempt to find Scott Frost Nebraska t-shirts for the new Nebraska fans on the team. I’m not sure which was funnier – that we never did find the Scott Frost t-shirts or that a Connecticut native bought Husker merchandise for basically everyone he knows. He is now more emotionally invested in Nebraska than I am, and I’ve been a Nebraskan my entire life.

 

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Central crew, we Nebraskans would love to see you if you’re in the area. You know you’ll miss the good life!

Even though I will likely never see some of these entertaining, dedicated, and devout central walkers again, I love them dearly and know I will continue to think of and pray for them all of my life. Just like my northern walk team from 2013, I am blessed to have known these young men and women and to have them shape my life.

 

People are meant to live and work together. So if you see Catholics who aren’t going to church or are not involved in parish activities, invite them to go with you to Mass or to help with a church event. Keep inviting them. Strike up a conversation with someone you don’t know very well. Cherish the time you spend with your friends and family, and always pray. You never know what difference you are making. Your actions could be the only Bible some people will ever read.

Immaculate Heart of Mary, pray for us!

God bless,

Sarah, Central Walk 2018