On the 370th day since beginning in Brazil & after 9444km on foot I finally arrived in Edmonton, Canada. This is the end of the road for the America's & an opputunity for me to take a short break before flying across the Bering Strait into Eastern Russia. The final day of walking began in Leduc after spending the night at the home of Shaun & Sandra Woodard. That final day was a 35km stroll down along the Queen Elizabeth II Highway in mild conditions to St Joseph's Basilica in downtown Edmonton. A few hours into the day I was met by a Global television newscrew who took an hour or so to take some footage & conduct an interview before I was ableto continue on. That was my only break for the day as I'd organised with some friends to meet them at Calgary Lutheran Church, 5km out from Edmonton central, in order to walk the final section with them and I was running short on time. I turned up at the church an hour late but we were ready to get underway again right on 4:01pm so we firstly went into the church & knelt at the communion rail before the sanctuary with the minister & his assistant joining us. We prayed for the unity of all Christians, in truth & in love, & then commenced the final 5km of this section of the walk. We entered the city as the sun set behind us. My friends, the Quist family, my brother Chris & I walked up onto the Basilica steps at right on 5pm & only a few seconds after the snow began to fall. Amidst the busy city centre it felt very peaceful & still as the snow fell & my walking finished (for now). We ventured inside & spent some time in prayer before filing into their van & scooting off through the evening traffic to their little country home. By 7pm we were back on the road though with a speaking engagement at the Holy Family Church in St Albert followed by a late night "sit up & talk" with Jon Quist & Chris. The next day the Global tv interview was on the news throughout the day but I suffered the rather funny humilation of having the midday news co-host comment after the story had aired, "What did he say? I couldn't understand a single word he said. Was he speaking english?" Thankfully the woman co-hosting with him understood "Australian" & interpretted for him. Many people have commented on the midday news segment since, feeling sorry for his comment but to be honest I think it's quite funny. I understood every word I said! Speaking of strange accents, I met a fellow from the Canadian island of New Foundland the other day & I couldn't understand a single word HE said. I asked a question to which he replied, "Aghda end u ul se," which means, "Yes, they're in aisle six." It took me three goes to figure it out. Anyway, I'm now enjoying a Christmas break & heading out for a quick ski at Jasper National Park on boxing day before flying out to Vladivostok on the 2nd of January. Januray 18th - 25th is the International Week of Prayer for Christian Unity so please start spreading the message & inviting people to pray, particularly during that week. 4:01 for a solid week! I hope everyone has a very merry & blessed Christmas & if you have the time there is a whole new set of Walk4one videos on youtube (Amazon to Venezuela) that will also be on the website soon (You'll get to see a lot of travelling on the back of semi-trailers, boats, motorbikes, etc in the Amazon jungle section). As I mentioned in the last blog entry it feels like I've been on the road for a lot longer than one year. From 47degC in Brazil to -33deC in Canada, from muggings to beautiful hospitality, it's been a big year. Thank you to everyone who has supported along the journey & may we all keep praying & moving forward towards complete unity. Now, because it's both Christmas & the end of a massive year on the road praying for unity I thought I'd finish off with a new rendition of a Christmas carol that summarises the past 370days! The 12 Days of Christmas as it will most likely never appear again... (to save time I think I'll only put up the final verse). Feel free to sing along!
On the 12th day of Christmas my true love gave to me, 12 different countries, 11hundred phtotos, 10 pairs of socks, 9000 kilometres, 80 degrees of temperature, 7 hissing snakes, 600 blisters, Salmonela & Typhoid Fever, 4 thugs with knives, 3 room invasions, 2 men with guns and a Puma in the long grass!
God bless & peace be with you, Sam.
"The virgin will be with child & will give birth to a son, & they will call him 'Immanuel' which means, "God with us." Matthew 1:23