Three-month trek with cross ends
Twizel resident Ryan Craig no longer has a cross to bear - after three months of doing just that.
His Bluff to Cape Reinga trip, which began in May and finished near the end of last month, aimed to "unite the churches".
"From the outside, it sometimes seems like the churches spend too much time in-fighting rather than spreading the word of the Lord," he said.
Mr Craig carried a cross, fitted with a GPS tracking device, throughout the country. He visited dozens of churches and spoke to several youth groups along the way.
"There were some nights where I slept out in the open, but many people opened their doors to me," Mr Craig said.
"I didn't really have a plan, I relied on the goodwill of others. There were so many people who supported me along the way."
There were a few close calls along the way - a spoke in one of the wheels came out, while the 120 kilogram weight of the cross often proved a challenge.
"There were times when I felt like giving up, but then I thought about having to face people if I didn't do it," Mr Craig said. "It was hard work. It challenged me in ways I didn't expect. But I needed to do this," he said.
Mr Craig said he was pleased with the response from strangers and well-wishers, while some pastors also took on board his message. But he has been down this road before - this was the third time Mr Craig had carried a cross up and down the country.
"It was a bit different this time; I had more of a purpose in mind. But every time I do this, I swear I'm not going to do it again," he said. "I'm not planning another trip like this, but who knows where the Lord takes you?"
There was no rest for him either. A day after he finished his trip, he was back at work at Bell's Honey in Twizel. "I needed to get my feet back on the ground."
The Timaru Herald