Walking by the spirit
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit.ó Galatians 5:22-25
By Susan Shinn
The sun shines brightly but the woods are cool and shady. You’re surrounded by giant, leafy trees and green plants, and the path beneath your feet is solid.
The members of Salem Lutheran Church will benefit from Thomas Hester’s Eagle Scout project for years to come.
Hester, 15, a sophomore at West Rowan High School, has built a prayer trail. About 900 feet in length, it meanders through six acres of woods on the church property.
Hester, an outgoing and articulate young man, has had a lot of help with his service project. He’s the son of Glenn and Daryl Hester and the grandson of Betty Grubb, all of Salisbury. Louine Hester, his other grandmother, lives in Lumberton, and his great-grandfather, Henry Grubb, also lives in Salisbury.
Martin Marietta donated 55 tons of rock dust, L.P. Barger transported in his dump truck.
Kenny Jones, Hester’s cousin and owner of Jones Family Builders, along with his great-aunt and uncle, Wayne and Anne Jones, spread the rock dust. Rip Collins of Universal Forest Products sold Hester 8-foot landscape timbers at a discount.
Members of Hester’s Troop 476 from St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Salisbury, helped Hester lay out the timbers last Saturday morning.
Scouts who helped included Tyler Downs, Andrew Garrison, Hunter Honeycutt, Coleman Pfeifer, Kevin Shaver, Paul Shaver and Alex Yost. Don Shaver, Paul and Kevin’s dad, was also on hand.
They were fortified with pretzels, cookies, crackers and a Tupperware container full of his grandmother’s homemade gingersnaps.
With the help of his mom and the Rev. Doug Hefner, Salem’s youth and family minister, Hester came up with the idea for the trail. He planned the trail in memory of his great-grandmother, Allie Shulenburger, who died in July 2007.
The trail features 10 different stations, one for each of the fruits of the spirit listed in Galatians.
He added a station for forgiveness, he says, “cause we just thought everybody needed forgiveness on a prayer trail.”
So far, Hester has had $3,000 in materials donated. He’s also hoping to have brass plaques donated for each station. He’s still working on that part of the project and would welcome donations.
There are a couple of gentle slopes on the trail, but for the most part, it’s a flat surface.
Hester and his sister, Allie, 18, named for their great-grandmother, walked it off one Sunday afternoon after a meal at church, he says. “It took us about two hours. We put pink ribbons on the right and blue ribbons on the left.”
Kenny Jones cleared the path. They cut down very few trees.
“It’s just very peaceful,” Hester says, walking the trail. “The woods reminded me of my great-grandmother’s woods.”
Shulenburger had quite a green thumb, and Hester says his grandmother and great aunts have transferred hostas and other plants from her property to the trail.
“It’s been cathartic for my aunts,” Daryl Hester says. “They’ve been moving plants from my grandma’s yard. So the trail is already working.”
Hester and his dad are also making benches for the trail. They have donated one bench, at a cost of $50, and are hoping church members will donate others. The sturdy wooden benches are 18 inches tall and 4 feet wide.The Hesters have also brought in metal sculptures made by Anne Jones that sat in Shulenburger’s yard. A giant flower, wheelbarrow and fanciful rabbit will beautify the trail.
“It’s just neat to see what all these boys can do when they get together,” Daryl Hester says. “It’s the generosity of people that lets Scout projects happen.”
Contact Susan Shinn at 704-797-4289 or firstname.lastname@example.org.