Samuel in the Andes, Venezuela
When Samuel Clear speaks to young people at the Ignite Conference in Brisbane later this month about sharing Christ's love with the world, his words will be anything but abstract, reports The Catholic Leader.
The 33-year-old Youth Mission Team Australia (YMTA) member once sold his possessions and between 2006 and 2008 covered 15,500 km over 568 days on a mission for Church unity.
He started walking in Brazil and went on to cover parts of South, Central and North America and Siberia and Spain as well. In all, his journey encompassed 20 countries and 10 languages.
"While the mission was easy, the journey was hard", he later said. "I was bashed and robbed at gun point and knife point. I got typhoid fever, salmonella poisoning, staph infections and had to endure temperatures ranging from 47 Celsius to -33 Celsius.
"The longest day I walked was 82km, which included stopping at a few villages to talk to the people, but took 22 hours in total."
But the rewards for Samuel were great. "The journey around the world praying for unity taught me two great lessons," he said.
"Firstly that unity is not simply about agreeing with each other, but being involved in each other's lives carrying Christ's love to one another. Secondly that God is incredibly trustworthy."
Now married to Cat, Samuel grew up one of five children on isolated Flinders Island in Australia's southeast. He attended St Patrick's College in Launceston, where he was the school captain in 1996 and captain and vice-captain of many of the college's sporting teams.
While studying Mechanical Engineering at the University of Tasmania, Samuel met a fellow student and former YMT member who not only shared a similar faith, but lived it. After graduating in 2001, he joined YMT Australia for one year of youth ministry, but never left, apart from his 568 days of 'leave without pay' while he walked the globe.
These days Samuel is managing director of INROADS, an arm of Harvest Pilgrimages, which enables high school students and young adults to participate in Christian mission experiences in other cultures.
FULL STORY Around the world on foot (Catholic Leader)