MERIDIAN — "One day I heard God tell me to sell of my stuff and walk across the country." — Joe Shortino
By Brandon Ward
Joe Shortino has been walking across the country for the past 15 months carrying a large wooden cross and an even larger message that God is in control.
After traveling through much of the state this month, Shortino found himself heading toward the Queen City.
Sitting in the Chik-fil-A restaurant in Meridian, Shortino said he was led to city by God and that he does not plan on leaving until the "chains over the city have been broken."
"I hear the city has been having problems," Shortino said. "I know that things are going to change. This is probably the first time I have felt God tell me that I am staying in one place until that change occurs. I do not expect to be here long, for God is already at work."
Shortino is from Greeley, Colo.. where he said he worked in the oil field earning a salary in the six figures.
"One day I heard God tell me to sell of my stuff and walk across the country," Shortino said. "I have walked through nine states so far. I walk three months at a time, which allows me to cover three states. After three months I am usually exhausted physically, spiritually and emotionally. At that point I get on a bus to go back to Colorado where I surround myself with pastors and prayer. After a few weeks I head back out wherever the Lord leads me."
Shortino said he walks with no money and has to this day not slept on the streets.
"The Lord provides me for my every need," Shortino said. "God takes care of my needs. I have never gone a day hungry and I have not experienced night without a place to sleep."
Shortino walks around with a GoPro camera he purchased with donated money. Shortino said he uses the camera to record encounters he has with people on the street.
"Eventually I will have a live stream, that people can see me ministering to people and where I am at, at all times," he said.
Shortino said once he completes his walk through the country he plans to do it again.
"I have met so many people and I speak at churches wherever I am at so I will keep doing this as long as the Lord allows me to," he said.
Shortino has a Facebook page titled "We're Called To Battle" that he updates daily with pictures, scriptures and stories.
In a post from Meridian, Shortino wrote, "Last night went really well. The youth is where it is. My heart has been stirred to find ways to spark their hearts. I will seek The Lord for ideas. God is so amazing. I don't think I can even share all that happens to me in a day. I realize I live out here with the ones the world has rejected. I'm bringing the light through love.
"I can't judge but love and be ready when they need me here. Everyday I deal with prostitutes to drug dealers to pastors that have stumbled to broken kids, ect. I must stay grounded in my Savior and continue to Love. Today I'm going on a prayer walk with a church. Taking back Meridian!"