Joey Arnold and Brandon Davis don't look much like athletes. As full-time students, husbands and fathers, neither has much time to devote to working out. Yet the duo has teamed up to perform physical feats that have raised almost $20,000 for missions during the past five years.
As members of the youth group at Jack Assembly of God in rural southeast Alabama in 1999, Arnold and Davis sought a creative way to raise funds for Speed the Light. They came up with Crawl for Christ -- the young men crawled five miles on their hands and knees after the youth group met its fund-raising goal. The feat proved so successful they repeated it the following year. "We're not athletes," Davis says, "just regular guys trying to make a difference."
In subsequent years the pair has led their youth group on a 25-mile walk across the county and pushed a truck for five miles. Last year they held Stand Up for Jesus, an event where Arnold and Davis stood up for three days and nights continuously and asked members of their church and community to stand with them for one hour.
"There's a certain amount of shock value with these odd types of fund-raisers," Arnold says. "People wonder why we would do it. When they ask, it opens the doors for us to tell them about the ministries and to witness to them."
Arnold, 27, and Davis, 30, concede they're well past the age limit to be considered Assemblies of God "youth." But they wanted to do one last physical challenge. On May 10, they set off on their most difficult benefit yet: In six days they walked from Jack to Talladega in northeast Alabama, a distance of 150 miles. The "Walking Witnesses" carried a four-foot cross and spoke with spectators along the way about their mission: to share the gospel and to raise funds for Teen Challenge of Alabama.
The pair collected money by selling advertising space on the T-shirts they wore. They also sold yard signs listing the Ten Commandments. Hotels and restaurants donated food and lodging. TV and radio stations and newspapers covered the walk along the way.
The journey ended on May 16 at Harvest Assembly of God in Talladega, where they presented a check for $5,100 to Pastor Lee Frost, who also directs the Alabama Teen Challenge Eastern Induction Center.
"Our congregation was awestruck and humbled," Frost says. "To have these guys take a week away from their families and walk for a week, especially this time of year in Alabama when it's hot and muggy and rainy, was an amazing sacrifice."
Arnold and Davis pleased their pastor, Ashley Faulk. "There were people who didn't think it would be possible to walk 150 miles in six days, and I was one of them," Faulk says. "But these guys pushed themselves beyond their limits."