Friday, September 28, 2007

Thank You Letter

Hey folks!

The following is a thank you letter that I am sending out to all those who prayed for and supported this ministry. Take care, and God Bless!


September 28, 2007

Hello, everyone!

It is time for an update on the ScriptureStick Appalachian Trail Mission, and to extend a big “thank you” to all of you for your prayers and support, and for making the mission successful!

A few of you are already up to date with everything going on, as I have had opportunity to talk with you, but for others...well, here goes!

In our letter of March 29, 2007, we reached out to all of you for prayer and support, and explained the goals and plans for the mission. I talked about how “my plans” did not always coincide with “God’s Plan”, and that I had repeatedly had to modify “my plans” to fit His. Although I couldn’t always see where His plan was leading, it always ended up being the “right plan”. For example, I may have wanted to hike twenty miles in the day, only to wake up to a lot of rain, and miserable hiking. But, at the end of the day, cold, wet, tired, and having hiked only twelve miles, I would find that he placed me exactly where he wanted me...short of MY goal, but safe, sitting in a shelter with another hiker, having a great conversation that would invariably allow for a gentle sharing of my faith.

My attempted hike of the Appalachian Trail, (a distance of 2,174 miles), would have taken me six months to complete, from June through November...I came up a little short, but count every step as a success! My hiking partner, FAITHFUL, and I were on trail June 1st. We started from Andover, ME, and hiked North to Mt. Katahdin, allowing us to meet all of the SOBO’s (South-bound hikers). We then returned to Andover, to start hiking SOBO. The plan was that we would now be hiking with other SOBO’s, and would meet the NOBO’s (Northbounders) as they made their way from Springer Mtn., in Georgia, to Mt. Katahdin, in Maine. All was going according to plan, (my plan), until we reached Manchester, Vermont. After spending the day there, we moved down trail to a shelter. My lower right leg had begun to swell, and was a bit painful, but over the next two days, I kept plodding along. Forty miles later, we made it into Bennington, VT. It became obvious that I had a major problem with the leg, and on August 3rd, my brother Larry made the six hour trip from Maine to pick us up. Once back in Maine, I had an x-ray, then a bone scan, and finally an MRI, ultimately finding that I had an infection in my lower leg. One week later, Faithful returned to the trail, and I considered that my hike had ended. However, after being home for three weeks, the antibiotics had done their job, and brother Larry once again got me back on trail, on August 23rd. At this point, I was well behind the other SOBO’s, and the huge wave of NOBO’s had already made it past Bennington, VT., while I was off trail. At this point, I began to pray as to what God would have me do, and it seemed that for the time being I would stay on trail. I only met about two dozen NOBO’s, but had many great meetings with section and day hikers, and Freshman orientation groups from various colleges. I also had a few opportunities to see people in the small towns that were more prevalent near the trail. Eventually, though, I was finding myself alone, not just when hiking, but when at the shelters. It seemed to me that the time had come to go home. I did not want to stop my hike, but after considerable prayer, I came home. I had made it as far as Greymore Friary, a monastery just outside of Peekskill, New York. I had hiked 800 miles! That is more than a third of the entire trail, and certainly covered much of the more difficult terrain. I believe that at some time, I will return to the trail, and complete the remaining miles...just don’t know when...

Things happened quickly once I decided to come off trail. On September 5th I decided to come home, but didn’t know how I would get there. God handled that, and, after a train ride and three different busses, I was picked up the next morning in Waterville, ME, by Larry! That was a Thursday. On Monday morning, after resting a bit, I was back at work at my previous job, thankful to be able to help pay the bills!

What, exactly, was accomplished during this mission trip? While I was out on the trail, I was able to interact directly with other hikers, sometimes one on one, sometimes in groups. I would be able to share the fact that I was a Christian, talk about the mission trip, and listen to what they had to say. I would also give them a card with contact information and encourage them to go to the Scripture site, where they could view more information. I also let the NOBO’s know that when they got to Maine, if they needed assistance, they could call our home, or e-mail Cari, and she would do her best to help. There were meetings with all kinds of folks, hikers, storeowners, postal workers, trail angels, just about everyone you could think of. When I could, I talked with them, and gave them a card. The opportunities to “plant seeds” were endless!

What about the ScriptureSticks? That has been such a big and wonderful part of the ministry! If you remember, we wanted to place at least 220 sponsored ScriptureStick hiking sticks during this mission, representative of every 10 miles of the length of the trail...Well, good news! We received sponsorship for 90 ScriptureSticks! Thank you so much for your generous support! Your sponsored sticks are everywhere, witnessing to untold numbers of people! They have been given out by various youth groups from Maine to West Virginia, shipped direct to folks in several states, left at trailheads, shelters, and motels. Many of the hikers that I have met have now received hiking sticks!...MORE good news! We didn’t stop at 90 sponsored ScriptureSticks! Cari, seeing the need, was incredible, and, with our daughter, Elizabeth, helping, made up a bunch more sticks...and sent them we actually have planted 160 ScriptureSticks!

We aren’t done yet, either! We intend to keep making and giving away ScriptureSticks! We are still working on a list of people that would benefit from having a ScriptureStick. Most of these folks are hikers, and have said that they would like to have a stick. We would like to keep this part of the ministry going, and are mailing out sticks as best as we can!

Currently, we are trying to give support to the NOBO hikers that have reached Maine. This weekend past, Elizabeth and I made a trip up to the trailhead, just before Stratton. We were able to offer rides and refreshments to two hikers, both of whom I had met while I was out on the trail. We had a great time, and it was nice to reconnect with these hikers. We also were able to have one of the hikers leave a ScriptureStick with the owner of the White Wolf Inn, in Stratton!

We certainly are not done with this mission, but are thankful for all that has been accomplished to date, and are blessed by your support and prayers. If you have not visited our website, the address is . You will also find contact information, and a link to a weblog. You will find a journal of my hike on the blog, with most entries made by Cari. However, I am slowly adding my daily journal notes to the site (for the corresponding dates). You will be able to check past entries to see if I have added my notes, so feel free to check back frequently. We will eventually be putting together a presentation of the mission that we will hopefully be able to share at churches, and possibly online, but it will take some time, so please be patient!

Thanks again for all your continued prayer and support! Also, please keep Faithful in your prayers. You can follow him at At my last check, he was doing well, and is hiking in Virginia.

We can still be reached the good ol’fashioned way at snailmail as follows;

Kelly and Cari Hibbard
50 Hardy Street
Madison, Maine 04950

and by PHONE (207)-696-8072

and of course, E-MAIL

...And, don’t forget to check out our website! It’s.......

THANK YOU! Happy Trails!

In Christ,
Kelly (Stickman) and Cari Hibbard

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Fun time at Kingfield and Stratton!

Another update...evening edition!

Elizabeth and I decided to head out for the AT trailhead at Stratton, and were glad we did! We grabbed some soft drinks at the Shop & Save, cooled them down, and headed out. When we got up to Carrabassett Valley, we saw a hiker walking up the side of the road towards the trailhead. We pulled over, and I realized that I had met this hiker before! She also remembered that we had met, but we weren't quite sure where...we did remember lot's of what we had talked about though, so that was fun! Her trail name is Bunkers, after the turnout gear that she wears as a firefighter for the Auburn, New York fire department. (Bunkers, if you read this, I hope I got it right!?). We offered up a cool drink, and a card with contact information in case she needs any help on her final leg of the trip, and deposited her at the WHITE WOLF Motel, in Stratton. We also left her with a ScriptureStick to give to the owner of the motel, who is a friend of one of her friends! Then it was back to the trailhead to see if there were any other hikers needing a lift. Nope...but we did meet Gypsy, who was finishing up some hiking, and had a great conversation with him. We shared a drink with him, and he shared a lot of knowledge. He is leaning more and more ultralight, and showed us some of his gear, including his cooking system, and his backpack, both of which he made, and both super light. He also shared with us some of his dehydrating tips, which I definitely will put to good use. Thanks, Gypsy! We finally left, and headed for home. We made a brief stop along the way to get our feet wet in the Carrabassett River, and to look for some Jasper (Bright red rock). We found a few nice pieces, then headed out. We stopped in Kingfield to get fuel for the truck, and noticed another hiker trying to catch a ride North. I asked him if he had been waiting long, and he said not too long. He was MOSS, another hiker I had met when I was on trail. He was hiking with his dog, Stella, a real cute pooch! Well, why we went, back up to Stratton! We had a great conversation with Moss, and as we entered Stratton, we saw Bunkers hiking out of town...I stopped and asked...yes, she was going to get back on the trail and get a few more miles in. I told her we would be back for her, then went to the Stratton Motel to let Moss out. Back to get Bunkers we went, bringing her back to the trailhead! We had a great time! After talking for a bit more, we headed for home, having had a wonderful day out. Although we received thank-yous from both Bunkers and Moss, please be assured that the pleasure was all ours! Thank YOU, Bunkers and Moss! And thank you too, Gypsy! You all made our day! Now it's good night, and God Bless! Hope you all have pleasant journeys...

Beautiful weekend up here in Maine

Good morning everyone! Another beautiful day here in Maine, should be excellent hiking weather for all of the NOBOs up this way. I'm hoping to visit one of the trailheads this afternoon and see if I can give a little support to a few of the through-hikers.

It still seems a little strange to be off of the trail, but I am beginning to adjust. I returned to work almost immediately upon my coming home, (I took the weekend off!), and have been kept fairly busy. I have worked overtime both of these past two weeks, and am quite thankful for that opportunity. It has been an interesting transition from hiking to working! In some ways, it was easier to get up early everyday to begin a 20 mile hike with 40 pounds on my back than it is to get up early and work at a lumber yard for 8 to 10 hours a day! Physically, it is actually a little painful for me to walk now that I am off trail. The feet are not happy when I first get up, but get somewhat better after an hour or so...and my legs have had a tendency to get occasional cramping, due to NOT walking as much. That too, is getting better! Fortunately, I have many things to keep me busy, and am already wondering how, (or IF), I will get things done before snow flies. ***I should not be talking about SNOW yet, as I have had to mow the lawn three times since coming home!***

The work with the ScriptureSticks is going well, with Cari and I continuing to make up and send out more hiking sticks. We feel that God is still blessing our efforts to be gentle witnesses for Him, and plan to stay on the path, no matter which way it turns! We are also very thankful for the love, support, and prayers that we have received from all of you. We recently received a financial gift that was given specifically to help with covering the mailing costs of sending ScriptureSticks out! Thank you SO MUCH! What impressed me most about that gift, is that the giver has kept us in prayer, and has been a part of this ministry not just by giving, but by continually holding us and the ministry up in prayer. That was so encouraging to us to know that people were praying for us and seeking to know what our specific needs were!...and at that moment, our specific need was to cover the costs of shipping for some ScriptureSticks, to be sent down South! Thanks again, to ALL of you, for your awesome prayers and support!

Now, a quick update on FAITHFUL! I got an e-mail from his Dad this morning, and I also have been checking up on him at his! He is continuing to do well, and got to stay with Merv (Rider) and Rachel (Pioneer) Frey recently, when he was in Pennsylvania. So awesome! Wished I could have been there too! Yesterday, Faithful was in Harper's Ferry. Today, he starts his trek through Virginia, and should be about a month hiking through it. Virginia comprises a quarter of the length of the AT! Sounds like his hike is still going well, and he is still having opportunities to share his Faith with others. Please continue to follow his journey, and PLEASE keep him and his family in prayer!

Looks like our daughter, Elizabeth, and I will take a quick trip up to Stratton, see if we can hook up with a NOBO or two! Until later, all take care, and God Bless!