Finding God and Goodness on Natchez Trace Walk
The Bible is full of stories of God testing the faith of ordinary people. A Tennessee man says he was surprised to find God calling him to take a long journey yet he learned that God gives the faithful strength beyond their own.
In July of 2014, Troy Waugh took a walk. A walk that covered nearly 20 miles a day for more than a month.
His route was along the nearly 450 miles from Natchez, Mississippi to his home near Nashville, Tennessee.
Troy Waugh, Hillsboro United Methodist Church: “I wasn’t that aware of what the Natchez Trace was. I wasn’t really an endurance walker or an endurance athlete of any sort, but over a period of several days God continued to knock on my door and say, ‘You need to walk the Natchez Trace.’”
He had doubts but the idea kept coming.
Troy Waugh: “I took about 2 weeks before I even told my wife about it. And when I finally told her she wanted to have me psychiatrically evaluated.”
Getting his feet ready for such a feat was not easy, but God was there with every step.
Troy Waugh: “There were little things, like a breath of cool air when I was just exhausted, I would say ‘Thank you, God.’”
The last day of training tested whether Troy would be able to cover 17 miles in 5 hours, the pace he would have to keep to meet his goal to finish in 35 days.
Troy Waugh: “Five minutes to go, I still had a half mile to go. And so I began to talk to God, Well, God, what am I supposed to do here? God all of a sudden overwhelmed me with this enormous power. And I took off running. And in 17 miles, 5 hours, God said, ‘It’s my power.”
For added motivation, Troy accepted pledges from friends to benefit a program he believes in, United Methodist Community Care Fellowship in Nashville, Tennessee.
(Troy talking to men at table) “What’s your name?” Client: “Al.” Troy: “That’s my middle name.”
Troy and members of his church, Hillsboro United Methodist, volunteer here regularly.
Troy Waugh: “They serve breakfast and lunch, they do tutoring in the afternoon, they also provide all kinds of help for people to get back on their feet.”
Church friends and supporters helped Troy raise 10,000 dollars for Community Care Fellowship. More importantly, they encouraged him.
Rev. Betty Proctor-Bjorgo, Hillsboro United Methodist Church: “Somebody might be called to start a food pantry or someone might be called to come here to CCF and serve periodically, which we are. So, I’ve witnessed other calls but the Natchez Trace certainly is unique.
Troy: “Every day, I would start my day with a prayer for Community Care Fellowship and the men, women and children who come here.
(Troy walking, bike passes) “Hey.”
When he looks back on it now, Troy recalls signs of God everywhere.
Troy Waugh: “I just was blown away by the beauty of the mornings on the Natchez Trace.”
Troy Waugh: “We met some wonderful people and we got to meet people in various places, some of whom stayed in touch with me, some of whom texted me every day with prayers.”
Troy believes God gave him what he needed to complete his journey, including a break from the heat and humidity of summer in The South.
Troy Waugh: “The humans didn’t know that we were going to have a polar vortex coming down from Canada, dipping right into the Natchez Trace. There were days that I started walking, it was 51 degrees and I had to walk for a mile or two to get warmed up. I just knew every day God was with me.”
The gifts and miracles that Troy Waugh experienced on the trace have stayed with him.
Troy Waugh: “God wanted me to take a pause in life. God's direction was important. I think that’s important for everybody. It may not be a walk. It probably won’t be a walk. But it will be something that God is asking each one of us to do to be obedient to him in our own way and in his way. And he gave me exactly what I needed.”
Troy Waugh shares his story to inspire others and to raise money for Community Care Fellowship.
He is an active member at Hillsboro United Methodist Church in Franklin, Tennessee.
Media contact is Fran Walsh, at 615-742-5458.
This video was posted on March 4, 2015.