Did you know that if you were to attempt to hike the Pacific Crest Trail that stretches 2,650 miles from Mexico to Canada (going through California, Oregon and Washington), you might just encounter trail angels along the way?
Trail angels are self-appointed volunteers who assist hikers simply because they feel called to do so with no expectation of compensation. This LA Times article says there are fewer than 100 such people, and that they might just be “America’s least-known charitable army.”
“They reach into their own pockets to provide, food, shelter, medicine and hot showers to hikers,” the story says.
One couple opens their five-bedroom home to up to sixty hikers per night. Another couple offers a place to sleep as well as food for pets. A man offers hot coffee and fresh fruit from his pop-up café.
And as they minister to hikers, they say they get to witness the “inevitable baring of souls” and connections that sometimes last a lifetime.
Isn’t that what all of us really want?
I have a friend who always strikes up a conversation with restaurant staff when we meet for lunch. He knows their names, asks them questions about themselves, compliments them often and asks them where they worship. He wants them to feel special, and I’m guessing they do. He’s a restaurant angel.
I know another man who coaches a boys baseball team and he looks for opportunities to help his players. He had a conversation with one about his future one day and that led to the boy agreeing to attend a private high school. When my friend learned the boy’s parents couldn’t afford it, my friend wrote the check. He’s a baseball angel.
I know a woman who helps Christians through hoarding situations (she’s quick to point out that they aren’t hoarders; they are people with hoarding issues—people whom God loves). She has a heart for helping them realize their identities are not tied to their possessions, and she lovingly but firmly walks them through the process of letting go. She’s an identity angel.
What sort of angel are you?