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UK Walks

When the saints go marching in.

“Oh when the saints go marching in,
Oh when the saints go marching in,
I want to be in that number,
Oh when the saints go marching in. ”
This is old spiritual song and a popular chant at Southampton football club known as the saints.

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Well one marched in today. With a cross on his shoulder his backpack on his back and a song in his heart and on his lips.
It was the last day of this particular walk and I was determined to end on a high. Even the weather cooperated today. A heavy shower in Fareham then sunshine all the way.
The big moment came on the road. Dean was unloading cars from his transporter when he saw me coming. 
“Would you be offended if I said afternoon Jesus? ”
I wasn’t.  After a bit of banter he asked me, “why are you walking with a cross? ”
I explained how Jesus had saved me and shared my story. I believe if Jesus can save and transform me, he can do the same for anyone.
“I could use a bit of that myself” Said Dean. Well a relationship with Jesus is only a prayer away.
“Do you mean to say is all I have to do is invite Jesus into my life and ask him to forgive me?”
Thats it.
“Alright then I will give it a go.”

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So We prayed and he invited Jesus in. How cool is that?
Also had a great chat with a young guy called Joseph.

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So all in all in all it was a it was a good day.  Tonight I am I am staying with Robbie and and his family from from lighthouse church Southampton.

Praying on the pilgrims trail.

Today was the longest days walking on this trip, thankfully I had no backpack to carry. So all in all I walked 18 miles down to Southsea before finishing in Porchester.

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I have to admit Portsmouth was tough , not that people were negative,  more that it felt that I was invisible.  In such a densly populated area I was suprised to meet so few people. 
However the time is never wasted. I felt a real burden to pray for the city. Just because on one day I was drawing apparently no response it doesn’t mean God is not at work.
A highlight was when I found a Christian bookshop in Southsea.  I shared a cup of tea and listened as folk shared about a popular Christian guy called Mike who had just died.

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Clearly Jesus loves the inhabitants of big cities and Portsmouth is no exception.  Even when all appears still the Holy Spirit can be at work beneath the surface.

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The wind blows where he pleases and I am praying for a powerful move of God in Portsmouth and Southsea.

I Havant given up.

When I woke up this morning and saw the sky through the window it made my heart sink. Dark overcast skies threatening an imminent downpour.  Part of me thought about jumping on a train and cutting a little off the journey.  I resisted temptation and 45 minutes later wish I hadn’t.  As I approached Fishbourne the heavens opened,  not an outpouring of the Holy Spirit but torrential rain.

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I sheltered under a tree and complained to God,”I did the right thing why are you sending all this rain?” If I had been on a train I would have missed it.
The rain eased and I continued on my way. I had a plan to find a cafe and order the biggest fry up I could find. Just as I spied a cafe sign a car pulled over . 2 ladies on their way back from zumba asking if I wanted coffee?

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This is Priscilla and Jackie. I enjoyed a late breakfast with them i Bosham ( with a silent H). It was a time of great encouragement and we parted with prayers to send me on my way.
Whilst on the way to Jackie’s house I met these two guys Derek and Paul.

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They introduced themselves as Christians and invited me on to their building site for a cup of tea. As I was on my way To Jackie’s I declined and then Paul said come to my house for lunch then. This was rapidly turning into my kind of day.
They introduced me to the other guys on the site. One of them Wayne who isn’t a Christian had seen me walking twice before in Newhaven and again in Chichester.  He told his colleagues,” if I see the man with the cross again , I will go to church. ”

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Here is Wayne on the scaffold.  “See you in church mate.”
As I walked on I came to Paul’s house we were joined by all the guys on the site for a proper fry up.

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Wayne is second on the right. Pray he goes to church this weekend and finds Jesus.
So paul ,who is married to a well known Christian recording artist, gave me food and drink for the road. ( more than I could carry).
As I pushed on toward Havant I met several Christians who blessed me and were encouraged by what I was doing.
By the time I reached Havant my host Rob was waiting with his car.
Clearly today was a day for me to receive rather than give. We all need to learn to receive so we can be generous in giving of ourselves to others.
Tomorrow I walk into Portsmouth.

Good things come to those who wait.

Today I passed through 3 towns. Littlehampton,  Bognor Regis and Chichester.

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  3 towns and about 16 miles made it the longest walk on this trip. The sun made an appearance,  but Suprisingly I didn’t speak to as many people as I would have hoped.
Highlights today included a guy hanging a bag out the car window as he drove by. He didn’t say a word but inside was a sausage roll and a bottle of water.

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These small blessings are so encouraging.
A group of guys sang to me, “always look on the bright side of life.” Before listening to the message of the real Messiah.
By the time I reached Chichester,  I was pretty tired and my main focus was to find a bed for the night. However it was then that everyone wanted to talk to me.
One guy, Martin had followed behind me for some distance.

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He had seen the different reactions.  Some had laughed, some kept their distance and others came and spoke to me. I had not been aware that I was being followed.  Martin bided his time and then approached me. He was impressed that someone would go to such lengths to communicate a message. But what a fantastic message of God’s love and forgiveness we carry.
I explained that the reason I carry a 20kg cross is to communicate the love of Jesus. He asked,  “does Jesus love me?”
Oh yes he does. Several minutes we were praying together and he experienced the tangible love of God for himself.  Needless to say he didn’t need much convincing after that and invited the king of love to came and take control.
I had a bit of hassle finding a bed. But now I am safely ensconced in the Chichester travelodge.

Wet wet wet.

Never forget we are in a spiritual battle. Whilst we are endeavouring to advance the Kingdom of Heaven there is one at work who will try and discourage and undo all your good work. I received this text this morning from a good friend.
Paul said, “this one thing I do.”
He had no ambitions-and so had nothing to be jealous about. He had no reputation- and so had nothing to fight about. He had no possessions- and so had nothing to worry about. He had no ‘rights’ and so he could not suffer wrong. He was already broken- so no one could break him. He was dead- so no one could kill him. He was less than the least so who could humble him?
He suffered loss of all things- so no one could defraud him. Does this throw any light on why the demon said. “Paul I know?”
Over this God intoxicated man, hell suffered headaches!
What an encouragement.  I needed it. My wife Sarah drove me back down to the south coast. To pick up where I left off on Saturday night. The weather was wild. Strong winds and rain.

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Well I knew I was getting wet, so I might as well get on with it. Amazingly people did stop to talk today despite the weather.  I had a great chat with some guys in their 20’s who wanted to know if I am on a pilgrimage?  A builder pulled over in.his van and gave me £20 which would have covered the price of a youth hostel.

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Cheers Gary.
I’ve just had a text from a school boy, Oliver,  I met at the bus stop wishing me good luck for the trip. Yes I did get soaked and the battery on my phone had died.  But as I approached Littlehampton the sun came out and I started to dry out.
I stopped by a beach shelter had a drink and cereal bar. Took off my waterproof jacket and then began walking the last mile or so to Littlehampton.
I was unaware that I had been spotted from one of the apartments.  Rolf and Judith a lovely Christian couple had seen me and thought I might like a cup of tea. By the time they came downstairs I was a long way down the road.  However Rolf got in his car and caught me in Littlehampton.  I am now spending the night in their home.
Meanwhile back at home one of our radiators sprang a leak. A serious one. Sarah discovered water spraying out everywhere and all the family had to rally round with towels and buckets.  There is serious water damage at home, which puts my soaking into perspective.
However those who have given everything to God cannot be robbed.

A cold and wet weekend in Brighton?

This weekend was a little bit of a push into the unknown although I knew Brighton reasonably well my contact there was looking a little shaky.  I had the option to walk into Brighton and then bus back to Seaford for the weekend or walk on believing my contact in Brighton would come good. The weather forecast wasn’t looking good either.
The good news was that physically I was doing much better carrying the 20KG cross and a full 15KG backpack.  The weather was fairly bright and I made good progress through Newhaven to Peacehaven.
I spoke with a young guy smoking a cigarette in Newhaven who generously gave me a tenner towards the trip.
In Peacehaven I stopped for a brief rest. A lady crossed the road to bring me a cup of water. She then invited me over to the old school barbers that she ran with her husband Vance. 
So there I was in Vance and Tasha’ s barbers having tea and biscuits while the staff and customers did a quiz while their hair was being cut.

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After that the weather turned. It was pretty exposed walking along the cliff tops. The combination of wind and rain made walking difficult it wasn’t long before I was soaked through.  It wasn’t long before I saw Brighton in the distance.

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A guy called Kevin came to meet me at Brighton pier. Generously he took me out for dinner and then dropped me off to where I was staying the night.
Obviously I live fairly simply on the road. Really all I require is a hot shower and a clean bed. Sadly the camper van I was staying in for the weekend had neither.  As the temperature began to plummet to 1° above freezing I knew it wouldn’t be a good idea to stay with no heating and needing to dry out.
Thankfully the cavalry were at hand. Nigel from Epsom drove down in the night to fetch me. Leaving his son Matthews 18th birthday celebrations.  What a hero!
So I write this blog from Epsom. I will be worshipping with my friends @the well this afternoon.  On Monday I will head back down to the south coast to continue the journey.

Life is full of ups and downs.

I have to admit today was a bit of a roller coaster,  very up and down,  both in the terrain and in my emotions.  Walking on your own can make you feel very vulnerable in many ways, it’s at these times you have to learn to lean on the Lord.
I knew that there would be some serious hills today so I made arrangements for the bulk of my luggage to come by car while I travelled as light as possible.
Eastbourne was a little disappointing,  not many stopped to talk and before I knew it I was making the long ascent to Warren hill and Beachy head.

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This brought back difficult memories for me as I remembered many years ago standing at Beachy head in the middle of the night with the intention to end my own life. There had been a difficult situation in the local church and I had come out of it absolutely stripped bare. The combination of a difficult climb and sad memories made feel quite low.  On reaching the summit I felt that in Christ I could put that episode behind me. The view over Eastbourne was magnificent.

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Shortly after that I met two guys from the Beachy head chaplaincy team . For those of you from other parts Beachy head is a high cliff that is notorious for people committing suicide. One of the guys had been in an accident but was unhurt and we were able to share some brief fellowship.  I told them my story and was able to give thanks to Jesus who rescued me from my darkest night.

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I reached the village of East Dean by lunchtime so stopped at a bench. I spoke to several people here, more than in Eastbourne! One guy Paul brought me a bottle of water.  His father had seen me while driving by and told him to get me some water. Paul had been ill since last year and I prayed with him for healing.  On the last stretch as I approached seven sisters country park,  a young Slovackian couple Kamel and Emilia stopped in their car. They were interested to talk and shared their doughnuts with me. We talked about what it meant to have a relationship with God. The question was asked “Can I know Jesus? ”

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Oh yes! Before they left me we prayed and they both confessed Christ as their saviour.  They live in East London,  so I have given them the contact details of a church I know in Forest Gate.
Tonight I am staying with  lovely Christian couple called Patrick and Janet from Seaford Baptist Church .

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Hit the road running.

What a day! Sarah and I drove down to Hastings this morning.  By the time I got the cross up and prayed it was 11:30AM a late start for me. However I knew I would have to go some to make up time.
However this walk are not about the miles but about people.

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I found Hastings remarkably friendly as soon as I started walking people wanted to talk . It was clear that the Holy Spirit wanted me to slow down.  I stopped in a sea front shelter for a drink with a homeless guy called Lee. Why were talking a reporter from BBC radio Sussex pulled up and interviewed  me at the roadside, not sure when that will be broadcast.
After the interview I prayed with Lee and he started to cry. Feelings of unworthiness clashed with a sense of the presence of God’s love.  God’s love won and we prayed together for him to receive Jesus.

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As I walked on to Bexhill more and more people stopped to talk. I covered 4 miles in 4 1/2 hours.  Pathetic walking, but fantastic opportunities to share Jesus.
Vicky stopped to give me a cup of tea and we talked.  Then she said”go on then convince me”. I love moments like that.

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Later again I met Sid who is the leader of the Christian People’s alliance.  I shared tea and cake with his elderly mum.

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They introduced me to two Romanian ladies one of whom knew my friend Marcel Cordos who I stayed with in Romania recently.
Conversations flowed thick and fast as did opportunities to pray with folk. It wasn’t until I was well out of Bexhill that I managed to do any serious walking.
I am so thankful to God that he slowed me down to one mile per hour.

Taking our cities one person at a time.

The challenge of reclaiming our cities for the Kingdom of God seems immense.  We know that the task of winning our communities and our nation is much more than any of us can do alone. However we can work with what we do have and look to love individuals into the Kingdom of Heaven.
With this in mind I entered the great city of London from the west via Northolt and Southall.  There were many opportunities to share Jesus and pray with people on the streets.
In Southall I met a Sri Lankan brother who gave me some money for lunch. Which was a great start to the day. As I progressed through Hanwell a an stopped to ask me a question.  “I have lost my way in life and I don’t know what to do, can you guide me?”
He shared a lot of his own life story and I told him how I encountered Jesus for myself.  By now there was 3 of us involved in a conversation on how to find peace with God. At the conclusion both of these guys prayed with me to surrender their lives to Jesus. 

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By the time I got to shepherds Bush,  Bob joined me again. I had a great time sharing with Keysar from Bangladesh and prayed with another guy called Dan from Romania.  Earlier I had prayed with  young lady called Kate who was from the Czech Republic,  her partner had disappeared on his way to work last Thursday and she hadn’t seen him since.
As we passed through Bayswater Bob and I were invited into a restaurant by Old and Risto.  We had a lively discussion about religion and faith. We pressed on through Hyde Park toward Westminster there were so many opportunities to talk to people and sow seed.

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Finally we crossed Westminster Bridge toward the London Eye. Here I was reunited with family and friends once again. So after 7 days of walking around 100 miles, giving out 100’s of tracts and seeing 4 people come to faith, I was finally home.

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