June 20, 2013
By Kristy Etheridge
More than two months after Pastor Jim Buckley left his Newbury Park, Calif., home and headed west, he’s reached an encouraging milestone.
This week, as he walked through the city of Bartlesville, Okla., Buckley crossed the halfway point of his 3,000-mile journey across the United States.
“Along our walk, people ask me how I’m doing,” said Buckley. “And what they mean, I think, is at my age, am I holding up OK?”
At 66 years old, Buckley is pushing himself to walk 25 miles a day, six days a week for six months. He’s not walking to get in shape or to draw attention to himself; he’s walking to get Americans to think about what’s going on in their homes.
“Our homes are where our hearts live and thrive but also the place of our deepest hurts, where we sometimes barely survive,” said Buckley, who has seen too many families deteriorate after battles with depression, loneliness, infidelity, or abuse. He believes God wants to change the culture — one home at a time.
After raising a family of his own, Buckley knows true change comes from Jesus Christ, and he wants to share that knowledge with America.
“When my wife and I were married, we put Jesus first in our lives and invited Him to live in our home. Forty-five years, five kids and 13 grandchildren later, that was the best decision we could have ever made.”
The idea to embark on the cross-country journey occurred to Buckley as he was enjoying a much shorter walk. While talking to the Lord as he strolled around his neighborhood, as is his custom, Buckley sensed that he was supposed to make a more significant journey. After lots of prayer, “Inviting America Home” was born. He made plans to trek across the United States, from Los Angeles to New York City. His supportive and adventurous wife, Glenda, agreed to drive alongside him in a RV.
Along the way, the Buckleys are spreading the word about My Hope America with Billy Graham, a nationwide outreach that’s calling on Christians to build authentic relationships with unchurched friends and neighbors. Like Buckley’s initiative, My Hope will take place in the home.
“There is so much emphasis on the home going on today—by the Billy Graham Association, by our walk and many others—that I just believe the time seems so right for God to move across America in a profound way with a culturally changing revival we’ve avoided for so long,” said Buckley.
After walking more than 1,500 miles, Buckley admits it’s not an easy trek. With the summer months about to begin, he’s dealing with temperatures in the 90s and above. The heat and humidity add to his fatigue, and the long days are exhausting.
“Truthfully, this walk is very, very challenging,” said Buckley. “It’s challenging every facet of my being. Physically, doing 25 miles a day is very demanding, but it’s what I believe I can do, and I’m doing it.”
Spurring him on is the knowledge that he is never truly by himself, even when his wife is out of sight.
“The beauty of the walk is it’s the Lord’s walk,” said Buckley. “He is with me. He’s with my wife. I am walking with Him. I’m never alone.”
As he walks, Buckley is taking time to meet with people from all walks of life—in big cities and small-town U.S.A. He prays for divine appointments and, by and large, the Lord delivers.
“We met a young man who my wife began talking to, and he was just open,” said Buckley. “Later we found out that he had come back to the Lord because of a friend, and that friend had died the previous week. My wife reached out to him as a mother, and he received it. He got teary. It was powerful to see how God used that moment in time.”
With a little less than 1,500 miles to go, Jim and Glenda Buckley are expecting God to use many more moments for His glory. All they need to do is listen for His prompting and enjoy the journey.
To keep up with the Buckleys on the road, click here.