Wednesday, April 7, 2021

72-year-old Man Visits Sallisaw on Walking Trek Across U.S.

Walking across the United States would be a daunting task for anyone, but 72-year-old Roger Gates has a cross to bear on his journey.

Gates, who started walking March 15, 2020, is carrying an 11-foot-long, nearly 80-pound wooden cross. Gates says he is on a quest to raise money to build three warehouses, one of which will be headquartered in Muskogee. The warehouses will store emergency supplies strictly for use in major disasters. Gates says he also hopes to build one warehouse each on the East Coast and West Coast.

This isn’t Gates’ first cross-country walk. In his 40s, he embarked on a similar trek, though he didn’t do it to raise funds. Instead, he said, that “obedient walk” was the Lord’s way “of teaching me, forming me and shaping me for my ministry of helping people.”

When asked how he sees himself, Gates said, “Some people call me a pastor. I call myself a servant of the Lord. I’m more like a modern-day disciple. I go to the true church and that’s everywhere.”

Gates says he doesn’t understand why churches of different variations fight against one another. The “true church,” he said, “looks toward the Lord.”

A veteran of the Vietnam War, Gates wasn’t always a religious man. He says drinking led to the breakup of a marriage.  His later involvement in drugs ultimately led to a 6-year prison term.

It was while he was in prison that Gates turned his life back toward God. He said he was lying in his cell when he hit bottom. “I felt a ton of weight on me. I knew if I took one more step I was a dead man. I had walked so far away (from the Lord). I was at a crossroad, but I still couldn’t think of God or Jesus. Boy, I was hurting.”

Gates said it was then that he heard a voice telling him that who he needed was God. "I’ve been following Him ever since.”

You can keep up with Gates’ journey on his Facebook page, Ministry of Truth.

Laura Brown, KXMX Staff Writer

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