Stephen Lewis is preparing to hike the Appalachian Trail for ATC
Trail: Appalachian Trail Goal: 2190 Miles
Dates: Mar 22 2017 - Sep 13 2017
You may be wondering what the deal is with my trail name, "Halftimer". The main reason is I figure that I am about at the half time of my life. I turn 45 on March 7, 2017 and if God blesses me with 90 good years on earth then that sounds good to me. ... more
You may be wondering what the deal is with my trail name, "Halftimer". The main reason is I figure that I am about at the half time of my life. I turn 45 on March 7, 2017 and if God blesses me with 90 good years on earth then that sounds good to me. I have had a great 44 years so far, I am so grateful for all that God has blessed me with. My family is absolutely amazing and is the joy in my life. I have a wonderful Godly wife of 25 years and 5 amazing kids ranging from age 7 to 23. We have 3 bio girls that are the oldest and 2 boys that we adopted, ages 7 and 10.
As blessed as I am I have truly been struggling these last couple of years with what God had in store for me for the rest of my life. I have been the owner of a senior care business that was positioned to ride the baby boomer gravy train for the next 30 years. I love working with the elderly and thought I was so blessed to have a business where I was making a difference in people's life every day. In 2016 it seemed I was losing my passion and I no longer new what my life was going to be like. I know longer had it all planned out. I wouldn't say that I was in a mid-life crisis but I sure was restless and no longer content. Just about every aspect of my life seemed to be in transition. Owning my own business was coming to an end. I have always said if you are in the business of caring for people your heart better be in it and you have to be all in. I still love the elderly and I always will but God had set me and my family on a different path in 2010 when he gave me a dream. When I woke up I knew without a doubt that we were going to adopt a little boy from Africa. I tried to ignore it and forget about it but God kept it right in my face. After about a week of denial I told my wife, Laura about my dream and she said God had been working on her as well about adopting. We started praying about and seeking wise council and we both knew that not only were we going to adopt but that God was going to do something bigger than us just adopting one little boy from Africa. So two years later we went to Uganda to adopt Nate and then three months after that we adopted Josh who is from Ethiopia. Pretty cool! They are awesome and our family would be lost without them.
Nope, that's not all. As I said we knew God was leading us into something that is bigger than adopting. When we started the adoption process we went to the church leaders and asked if there was an adoption group or ministry at the church. They said no so we asked if they would mind if we started one. We wanted to learn from as many people that have adopted before and also come along others that are interested in adopting. So we started Journey Together Ministries and we became a 501 c 3 in 2011. We were not only creating community with people that had a heart for the orphan, we were assisting with fund raising and resourcing families. It was very exciting and has continued to grow and evolve.
By 2014 the ministry had taken a major turn towards the local crisis of Foster Care. Our international adoption journey had brought us right back to our back yard we knew we needed to do more. We started recruiting families to become licensed in the foster system and resources them. The system is overwhelmed and full of gaps to say the least. Good things are happening but we knew there was still more to do. A good friend of mine is on the board of a ministry in Tennessee called Wears Valley Ranch. He kept encouraging us to go take a look at what they were doing. In November of 2014 we went and saw an amazing ministry and left there feeling like God could be leading us to do a similar ministry in our home town.
Wear Valley Ranch is children's home/ boarding school that has been around for over 20 years and has had a positive impact on hundreds of kiddos. The ranch has horses, livestock and most importantly it gives the kids an opportunity to be exposed to God's creation and love everywhere they turn. These kids will receive healing and redemption while receiving an unbelievable and personalized education.
Fast forward to November 2016 and we have found the farm in our home town that would be perfect for children’s home and boarding school. It was a working farm just a few years ago and has two houses and a barn on it and plenty of room to expand it into an amazing ministry for these kids that come from difficult situations.
Now we need your help. We need to raise three million dollars to purchase the farm and get it started. I have dreamed of hiking the Appalachian Trail for a long time and last year I had decided that I was going to hike this year so that I could figure out who I was and what was next. I needed a physical, personal and spiritual break through. I knew that 5-6 months on the AT would give me the space to figure a lot of things out. But as I sit here typing things out I now know what my future holds. It holds the responsibility and the privilege of making a Kingdom difference for hundreds of kids’ lives. Personally this new vision for my life has me excited and scared. Physically this vision has made me realize even more that I need to get in shape. It's not going to be easy running a farm, a ministry and playing with all these kids. I have to get in shape. Spiritually, WOW! I feel overwhelmed! It is one thing to add a couple of children to your family but to take on the responsibility for the physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual wellbeing of these kids is a different story. I know that God's got this but I need to do my part and prepare and stretch myself. I need to experience God in a new fresh way. I want God to transform me and help me to grow in the way that I have never truly wanted in the past.
God's got this! I am excited about hiking the AT now because I know it will be spiritually transformational and instead of trying to find myself I am hiking for a cause. I am hiking for the second half of my life and the lives of the kids that God sends us to care for.
The Farm is 3 million dollars. We hope to raise 1 million from large donors, 1 million from a lot of small donors and then I hope to raise 1 million on the trail. Please join me as we go on this journey together to make a kingdom difference in hundreds of children's lives.
Total per Mile
The Appalachian Trail Conservancy's mission is to preserve and manage the Appalachian Trail, ensuring that its vast natural beauty and priceless cultural heritage can be shared and enjoyed today, tomorrow, and for centuries to come.
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