By Linda Scherer
DASSEL-COKATO, MN - David Valderrama, 29, has carried his large wooden cross more than 1,000 miles since he first began a journey that eventually brought him through Cokato and Dassel Tuesday.
He was spotted last Monday, just east of Howard Lake as he walked along Highway 12 through the cities of Delano, Montrose, and Waverly, heading towards Howard Lake and Cokato on his way to his final destination, Litchfield.
People are the reason for his journey, the cross is his means to draw them to Jesus, Valderrama said. He wants them to know that “Jesus loves you.” As he travels, he is led by the Holy Spirit, according to Valderrama.
Walking along Highway 12, he is easily seen. Cars slow down to get a better look.
One driver, Jill Heaver of Cokato, saw Valderrama carrying his cross and pulled over to talk to him.
Heaver was greeted with a warm smile. All of Valderrama’s attention was focused on her as she told him about her daughter, who was to have surgery Thursday.
She had been praying for her daughter as she was driving by, and was so moved by the sight of Valderrama and the cross, she said she had to talk to him to tell him she would pray for him.
People often stop to talk to Valderrama. Sometimes as many as 50 people will stop and talk with him in a day.
He said he has talked to thousands since he began his first journey Sept. 10, 2007, from Baltimore, MD to St. Augustine, FL, a total of 850 miles.
He has walked on his journey through the winter, as well as the summer, with insulated clothes and shoes, and now says he has spikes to make it easier to walk on ice.
He flew to Minnesota two weeks ago, starting out in Maple Grove and walked to Richmond, WI, then returned to Maple Grove.
Again he started out from Maple Grove, this time his journey led him to Wayzata and then west along Highway 12 to the spot east of Howard Lake where he spoke to Heaver.
He is originally from Tulsa, OK. In Tulsa, he said his parents and sister are praying for him during his travels.
Valderrama used to take a sleeping bag with him on his journey, but he has found that he doesn’t need it.
He has always had a place to spend the night.
While he is traveling his Highway 12 route, Valderrama is staying with a Waverly family, Chuck and Peggy Vonhagen and their children, Joe, Laura, Ami, Micah, and Paul, whom he met on Friday.
When Valderrama ends his day, he is picked up by Chuck Vonhagen and spends the night in Waverly. The following morning, Chuck returns Valderrama to where he had left off the night before and he continues his journey.
“My only reason for being is that the Lamb who was slain may reap the reward of His suffering to be glorified through my life,” Valderrama said.
When Valderrama reaches Litchfield, he plans to leave Minnesota by plane and fly back to Baltimore, MD to start a journey through Delaware and into Pennsylvania.
This fall, his plans include flying to South Korea to begin a journey there.
To learn more about Valderrama go to bravegeneration.com.