Then we were contacted by WDBJ 7 to cover our story on the News. This has reached out to a lot of people. They hope to follow up as Matt hikes back into Virginia in May. If you missed the short piece here is the write up.
BOTETOURT COUNTY, Va. - Hiking the Appalachian Trail is a big decision. But leaving your family, quitting your job and doing it all to spread a sometimes controversial message is even bigger.
Despite those challenges, on March 13, 2016 Matt Clonch from Botetourt County is ready to take a spiritual journey.Over three-million people, from all over the world, hike the Appalachian Trail every year.
What would possess someone to want to hike 2,189.1 miles? Clonch says many are hiking in search of something. "Whether it's a new purpose or a new meaning to life or just to find themselves. A lot of people that actually finish the trail find that they never found what they were looking for."
That's where Clonch and the White Blaze Mission begins. "As new situations arise, I want to help people find Jesus and expand their faith."
His wife Susan says when he approached her about it, she was shocked at first. "I kind of thought he was joking at first, then I looked at him like he kind of lost his mind. He came to me and said he had a calling from the Lord to hike the Appalachian Trail and witness along the way."
Clonch consulted his church, they all prayed over him and the mission, he quit his full time job of eight years, then packed a thirty-five pound back pack.
Clonch says this calling is undeniable and his experience is something he has to share. "I know what addictions are, and I know about the struggles people face, and other difficulties in life they're trying to overcome. I've done it and I've been there," explained Clonch.
The Appalachian Trail covers 14 states. Matt will hike about 5 million steps and it will take approximately 6 months to finish.
Clonch doesn't call it easy, he calls it faith.
If you’d like to support Clonch:
White Blaze Mission
Fincastle Baptist Church
P.O. Box 707
Fincastle, VA 24090
To follow the White Blaze Mission on Facebook, click here.