FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) – Junior Garcia was carrying a 12-foot cross along Interstate-30 in Fort Worth and Arlington on Thursday afternoon. He was hard to miss.
"This is my way of showing them Jesus Christ wants a personal relationship with every single one of them," Garcia said.
The idea came to him last July, when he was attending youth group at the Oasis Church in Saginaw. He said that he realized his Christian walk wasn't what it should be. "Oh, man, I was going through so much in my life and really searching to see what God had for me, His call on my life," Garcia said.
"I just felt that separation from Him and felt like it was just time to get rid of worldly desires and focus on Him," Garcia added.
Garcia remembers the day that it all happened for him. "July 24, 2011. I remember looking up to heaven saying, ‘I'm yours,'" he said. "That day, I decided to take up my cross. And I felt so strong in my heart. And I felt Him tell me where to go and how to go. And that's where we're going — Washington, D.C."
Garcia will have to walk 1,369 miles to get there. With breaks, he hopes to arrive in front of the White House for prayer on July 13.
Garcia is focused and armed with scriptures and inspirational music. He has the full support of his family and church. But at least once, he wondered, "Can I make it?"
"But that's where my faith comes into play. Just trusting in Him, knowing He'll be by me every step and that He'll strengthen every step," Garcia said.
His mission calls to mind those of Arthur Blessitt, who began carrying a cross around the world in 1969.
Junior Garcia had never heard of him before. Now, for his trek to Washington, he's listening to music written to inspire Arthur Blessitt on his pilgrimages.
By the time Garcia arrived in Arlington, he had already walked 20 miles, and had two blisters on his heels.
Garcia is also walking for the "Speed the Light" campaign. It's a national Assemblies of God program that raises money to buy cars for missionaries. The Oasis Church has pledged $35,000 for a vehicle for missionaries in Mexico.
A Fort Worth police officer told Garcia and his group that they could not walk along the shoulder. An officer in Arlington stopped the group and told them everything would be okay if they stayed on the shoulder. "God bless you," the officer told them.
The group only plans to travel during the daylight hours. Once they arrive in Dallas on Thursday night, they will drive to Greenville, where an Assemblies of God pastor has given them a place to sleep.
Junior Garcia is in college. Right now, he is planning to become a physician's assistant. But he is only 19 years old. Arthur Blessitt is 72 years old. Could it be time, not only to carry the cross, but to pass the torch? Junior Garcia doesn't think it is out of the realm of possibilities.
Garcia will have company on this trip. His parents and members of the Oasis Church in Saginaw will be traveling with him.
In the meantime, Blessitt continues his journeys. "I'm still walking. Not a pain, feel great. Should cross the 40,000 mile mark this summer in northern Canada, and have walked with the cross through every nation and island group," he wrote.
Blessitt also wanted to share that a cross made from the one he carried around the world is now orbiting the Earth, thanks to the Celestis 11/Falcon 9 satellite which was launched May 22, 2012 from Cape Canaveral, Florida. It orbits the earth every 90 minutes and should remain in orbit for one year. "The Cross has now been carried around the world and now is in orbit above the Earth," he said. "I am thrilled, and pray the blessings of Jesus upon all the Earth for the Glory of God."
As for Garcia, Blessitt called him a "wonderful young man."
Blessitt is listed in the Guiness Book of World Records for his travels. So, Garcia would have some pretty big shoes to fill. Right now, he's just taking it one step at a time.
You can find more information on the Oasis Church by visiting their homepage. Click on the tab called ‘The Journey' for a link to a YouTube page for more on Junior Garcia's decision to walk with the cross to Washington, D.C.