Jim and Dianne Urban, standing, talk to Calvin and Stephanie Greiner before the service Sunday morning at Church For All Nations. Calvin began a National Cross Walk Feb. 1 in Wheeling, W.Va., and plans to be in Los Angeles by Aug. 1. L&T photos/Robert Pierce
By ROBERT PIERCE
• Leader & Times
Calvin Greiner has been prayer walking for more than 30 years, doing so mostly in major cities near his home in Lancaster County, Pa.
Those cities include Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Pa., Reading, Pa., Lancaster and Scranton, Pa., as well as Camden, N.J., Baltimore, Washington D.C. and Wilmington, Del.
Calvin and his wife, Stephanie, were at Liberal’s Church For All Nations Sunday, not to lead the service, but to take it in as part of a National Cross Walk the couple is making.
Calvin said around the time he began prayer walking, his life was changed by Jesus.
“We have five children and eight grandchildren,” he said. “We’re really, really blessed. Ever since I was born again with the desire to study the word of God, God just gave me a hunger for His word and to love Him and to love others. It’s a long process.”
The Greiners also have done missionary work in foreign countries like Nigeria, Russia and Haiti. Calvin has also been a pastor and has taught in Bible schools, but he said his heart has turned to walking, praying and blessing cities and towns.
“I got a chance to meet with governors and representatives and mayors and a lot of spiritual Godly leaders that I serve,” he said. “I’m a servant, and I serve by prayer because God hears me when I pray. We’ve been commissioned by God. God asked us if we’re willing to pray for the nation, walk the whole way across the United States. Not every step because there’s some places I can’t walk.”
The Greiners spent some time in Liberal during the rest of the weekend, touring the Coronado Museum and Dorothy’s House and visiting this weekend’s Yellow Brick Road Car Show in Light Park. The couple was scheduled to next go through Oklahoma and into New Mexico to Albuquerque before heading to Phoenix.
“Our destination is Los Angeles,” Calvin said. “We started at the ocean. I did this years ago. We did this in increments, but our starting point on this leg was Wheeling, West Virginia.”
The nationwide trek is scheduled to end Aug. 1, but Stephanie, who is following Calvin in a vehicle on the walk, said the pair plans to arrive in L.A. on July 18.
“He had already done the Atlantic to West Virginia,” she said. “We just started there.”
Calvin said after doing the prayer walks he normally does, he got a divine message about the trip he is currently taking.
“God said ‘Are you willing to do this one for me for my glory,’” he said.
Stephanie is in charge of most of the planning for the journey, calling her role, “the logistical part of it.”
“I book all the hotels,” she said. “I keep up the Web site, write all the updates. If you get on our Web site, you’ll see we have pictures and updates.”
That Web site is www.nationalcrosswalk.com. Stephanie said the first leg of this trip was from West Virginia all the way to Kansas City.
“I was out on the road with him a lot more just because of the road conditions and because the weather was so cold,” she said. “Many days he walked in temperatures under 15. Those days, I had to be out with him because of the safety aspect of it.”
Stephanie said Calvin likes to walk a lot of the nation’s back roads simply because of less traffic.
“He doesn’t have to think about the traffic,” she said. “I’ve been able to stay back in the hotel this leg more and work on my stuff. I’ll drop him off, and he goes. I go pick him up when he’s done.”
The Greiners naturally have encountered weather issues along the way, including dust storms near Great Bend, where they went before coming to Liberal.
“I’ve really experienced some Kansas weather,” Calvin said. “I love your state. I’ve spent more time in this state than any state.”
Naturally, with food and lodging costs, a trip like this could get expensive. Calvin said during the last 39 years, he has built relationships with churches in his area, and those churches have helped with the cost of the trip.
“We spent six months traveling to churches in our area and raising support,” Stephanie said. “We have a lot of churches and individuals that sponsor us, but we’re still asking for support along the way until we get there. We still need more support. You can do that through the Web site or contacting us. Our umbrella ministry is called The Ministry Center.”
Calvin said the trip he and Stephanie are taking, as well as everything else the couple does, is “by the grace of God and Jesus.”
“We have a commitment to lift up Jesus,” he said. “We’re not pushy. I’m not anybody’s judge. I’m here to serve and encourage and share Jesus. They have to make the choice.”
The Greiners will start the last leg of the trip from Albuquerque to L.A. on June 10.