Crossing America

CROSSING AMERICA: Morgan Strong carries her cross along Hwy. 98 and 30A
May 12, 2011 9:53 AM
Megan R. Moseley

Morgan Strong attracts attention while wheeling her 12-foot wooden cross across Hwy. 98. For obvious reasons, it's a conversation starter.

Strong explained last week at South Walton's Grayton Beach, where she sat in the shade resting her tired feet that she is on a mission from God.

She came to South Walton from Oklahoma City, and has hauled her cross a total of 850 miles with 3,150 more to go.

A year ago, Strong hadn't ever explored outside of her hometown. It wasn't until last year when she made a plan to leave everything she knew behind and venture off to answer God's calling that she found herself and America.

Strong is hiking from Oklahoma to Philadelphia where she plans to meet with a ministry called The Simple Way. Strong said her adventure is no easy task, but she is determined.

While admitting she is not the most athletic individual or the most resourceful, she said she has had times where she has second guessed herself. However, through those moments of doubt, she has found the strength that she never knew she had.

Strong's cross-country adventure was an idea she got after going through a series of traumatic events.

"I had reached the bottom and I said, 'OK, God, I need a sign,' " she said. “I was expecting butterflies or green traffic lights, but nope. Instead, I kept getting this idea to go for a walk."

Strong said she did not want to walk, and tried to ignore the thought for months.

But the thought just wouldn't let up and there came a point where she had to make a decision.

"I felt as if there was something I was supposed to do and I wasn't doing it," she said. “It was kind of like that feeling when you go home and you're like 'did I turn the coffee pot off?' There was that pull toward something."

That something, she found, was to walk across America pulling the cross and meeting people "on their level."

Strong originally went for a walk without bearing her cross. But without the cross, Strong felt as if she was “just another person walking." That's when she got the idea to build the cross and walk the path God had laid before her.

When she started all she had was a backpack, her tent and $20 - and she was 40 pounds heavier. Since that day, she's acquired a few things along the way, but for the most part she depends on God to find her what she needs. That, she said, is the point of her trip.

“I've literally had to go across country to walk with God," she said. "I have to rely on God for things as small as where I can go to the bathroom. It's hard for me to trust, and through this I have had to learn to trust."

Trust has been an issue for Strong her whole life. Having grown up in an abusive home, she lived homeless throughout high school and was a victim of rape. Strong has had to deal with more than most people ever will have to. All the bad stuff, however, is what brought her to where she is today.

"You know, I'm at peace with the things that have happened to me in my life because out of all of it I became a Christian," she said.

During her travels, Strong has encountered new and adventurous experiences. Whether it was crossing paths with a copperhead snake or making a difference in people's lives, she said for the first time she feels as if she is walking on the right path.

"I have people stop me on the highway saying they were asking for a sign from God and came around the corner and there I was," she said.