Updated: 02/24/2014 2:34 AM
Created: 02/21/2014 12:17 PM WDIO.com
Pastor Kevin Erickson of Cross Hill Community Church in downtown Virginia is planning an epic journey that will take him all the way to the Yukon Territory of Canada. There, an annual kayak and canoe race called the Yukon River Quest is run. It spans 444 miles along the old gold rush regions with twisting rivers and roaring rapids. It's the longest such race in the world.
Pastor Kevin is no stranger to being out on the water. He's been kayaking since his was seven.
"I used to drag my grandparent's fiberglass canoe down to the lake and struggle to get it in the water," says Erickson.
During these cold and snowy months, he's in training mode, finding open water where he can to put on some extra kayaking miles before the water softens. The trip he and his family are paying in full. They are using this as an opportunity to spread the word of their church.
"We're a church that really is trying to reach people who don't have church homes," explains Erickson. "We found, especially since moving into DT Virginia, we reach a lot of people with alcohol and drug problems, out of jail, people trying to re-enter society after being in prison. We're working with a lot of hurt and broken people."
Building renovations need to be made at their current location to get up to code. Things like handicap bathrooms, plumbing, and roof work.
In the basement of the Cross Hill Community Church is a workshop where Erickson builds canoe and kayak paddles. The money raised from selling the paddles goes toward the renovations. He is even building, by hand, the kayak that will take him along the 444 mile trip. Though him and his family are paying for the trip themselves, they thought it was a good idea to use the trip itself as a fundraiser.
"We're asking people to support us by pledging so much per mile based on a 444 mile race," says Erickson. "I joke about it. If I get eaten by a bear the donations you made you won't get back!"
His team name, "But If Not", is hand carved into one of the trip paddles. It's a biblical quote from the Book of Daniel. It reads: "God who is able to deliver us from your hand, but if not, we still won't worship your statue."
"We're going to keep walking with God and trust that his hand is in this and it's all going to work out," says Erickson. "To make much of him and help us to carry out our mission."
The race is this coming June. Below is a link to a website where you can help donate to the Cross Hill Community Church.
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