Joe “JC” and Melanie Castro are Christian missionaries who sold all their possessions, including a brick house in the Shenandoah Valley of Virginia, a successful sign business and a huge, well equipped bass boat, in order to follow Jesus’ command in Matthew 28: 19-20, “Go, therefore, and convert all nations; and baptize them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit; and teach them to obey everything that I have commanded you; and, lo, I am with you always, to the end of the world. Amen.”
They are walking the American Discovery Trail that starts in Cape Henlopen in Delaware, travels 6,800 miles and 15 states across the United States and ends in Point Reyes National Seashore in California. The ADT “is the only coast-to-coast, non-motorized recreational trail. Linking communities, cities, parks and wilderness, the ADT allows people to hike, bike or ride horses for an afternoon or a cross-country adventure.”
The night before JC and Melanie began their walk on May 10, 2013, Melanie stepped on little shards of glass that became embedded in her foot. Because of the injury they were only able to walk one mile that first day, but after four days of soaking her foot and JC digging the pieces out with a needle, they were able to make better progress. The Director of the Delaware ADT helped JC and Melanie nine days by picking them up at the end of each day’s walk and returning them to their furthest point the next morning. They walked until September 22, 2013 when God provided a winter haven for them in Cumberland, Md. with the Winifred Road Church of Christ. During the winter they assisted the church by driving the church’s van and this also enabled them to reach out to people needing to hear about the love of Christ and His plan for them of salvation.
On May 10, 2014 they set out from Cumberland, Md. and on May 24 they walked into Parsons, having traveled 106 miles. Previously on May 21, during the severe thunderstorm that caused damaging flooding in Canaan Valley, they were dry and safe on Dolly Sods listening to the drenching rain pound against the tarps covering their hammocks. Hiking out the next day, however, they became drenched to the skin. They prayed about their situation and, because God is so faithful and loving, met a couple who let them sleep on their back porch, dry their clothes and take a hot shower. JC and Melanie have been blessed by God through many people, who many hikers refer to as “trail angels”, and constant affirmation of their mission.
If you want to follow JC and Melanie’s adventures from beginning to present, go to their website at areyouasheeporagoat.com and click on the Trail Journal link on the left of the page.
By Pamela Ruediger
The Parsons Advocate