Cross-bearing Missouri man marches through Routt County
July 21, 2011
Craig — 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., is passing through Steamboat Springs today 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.'"
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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," 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."
While Rumsower is on the road, his 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.
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 last weekend, staying longer than he anticipated because of a mechanical difficulty with his cart, the third of which he has used while traveling.