Kayaking for Orphans: Mission Accomplished

He did it!
A round of applause, and a dry set of clothes, is in order for Mark Towery. Five weeks and 1,000 miles after setting out to circumnavigate Vancouver Island in a sea kayak, the waterlogged adventurer paddled into Roche Harbor last Friday.

Mark’s trip through the cold and sometimes-harrowing British Columbian waters has been a huge inspiration for the kids at the Cross-sponsored Kondanani Orphanage in Malawi, which is benefiting from funds raised through the project.

A drawing of Mark on his kayak, from one of the children at Kondanani Orphanage
A drawing of Mark on his kayak, from one of the children at Kondanani Orphanage

Kondanani’s Director Annie Chikhwaza said some of the boys have told her they want to be just like Mark and go on their own kayaking trips some day to help the orphanage! The children made thank-you cards and drawings for Mark, and we’ve posted one of those drawings here for you to see. Clearly, Mark’s efforts have touched their hearts.

“It was hard work and yet you were prepared to do it for the extension of the Kingdom of God,” Annie said. “Your trip has eternal value. Many people do things, but you did it for Jesus, and because of that it has eternal value.”

Twice during the trip, rocky waves rolled the boat, causing Mark to lose his maps and charts. But the scariest day of the journey came when gale-force winds struck, and some fishermen leaned out of their boat to bring him ashore. Mark stayed in his kayak, not realizing they were trying to save his life from the dangers ahead. A few days before reaching Roche Harbor, Mark wrote, “I am struggling at this point and just want to come home. As soon as I see San Juan Island I will know I’m homebound, however I do have a very big crossing…with no radio it will be scary to say the least. Please pray for me.”

The trip also had its high points. “God is definitely watching over me,” Mark wrote on July 14. “As I was paddling this morning, a mama and baby whale came by me. It was absolutely amazing! Yesterday’s trials are behind me now and I can focus on the task at hand. Saw a lot more whales throughout the day, got to see them play. This is what I’ve waited my whole life for … it is an incredible sight!”

Thank you, Mark, for helping Cross International support the Kondanani orphans! And thanks to all of you who prayed for his safe return and are giving to the cause!

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