Wandering cowboy stops by DL on quest to raise awareness for starving children
When Waylon Jennings advised the mamas of America to not let their babies grow up to be cowboys, he probably hadn't heard of Doc Mishler.
The long-time cowboy rode into town Monday (that'd be Detroit Lakes, for city folk), and he was on a mission.
"I want to bring awareness to the starving children of the world," Mishler said in a gravely voice you'd expect to hear from a seasoned cowboy.
Mishler, who began his long ride from Daytona Beach, Fla., on March 14, has been slowly but surely making his way up north, averaging 20 miles a day.
"I take it slow for my horses," he said, as he introduced his equestrian company, Chief Spirit, Justice and Charity.
Doc Mishler says he wants all the attention he gets to be about the plight of the world's starving children - not him.
He does come with a story, though.
"In 1996 I was diagnosed with cancer," he began, "And while I was teaching at Western Michigan University, I had a guest speaker named Wayne Muller, who wrote the book 'How Then, Shall We Live,' which was about how we should live knowing we were dying.
That's when Doc Mishler had a revelation of his own, which sparked an intense interest in the Bible and a subsequent ride in Montana called 'Bread for the World, Bread for the Journey.'
"Do what you enjoy doing and do it for the glory of God ... and here I am," said Mishler.
"When everybody gives what they've been given, everybody receives what they need. I've been given the ability to ride."
Riding, he says, is how he believes he can bring attention to hungry children - a cause he's had tucked away close to his heart for years.
"When I was a little boy my daddy said, 'Eat your peas, eat your broccoli, there's starving children in this world.' I didn't know how me eating was going to help them, but I just did what my daddy told me to do. And not everyone can ride across the country like a crazy cowboy, but they can give what they've got."
Mishler takes his message, along with his letter of commitment he carries with in his pocket, all across America.
"It's unacceptable, we can feed every hungry child in the world - just right here in the United States we have over 10 million children dying of hunger-related causes," Mishler said, "I believe now that Osama Bin Laden is dead, we should stop the killing and wasting money on weapons of mass destruction and start the feeding."
Mishler goes on to say that he believes America has been living in fear since 9-11, and it's time to take it back through love.
"Across the land you always see on the marquees, 'God Bless America'," said Mishler, "Well, God has already blessed America -- look around, all we need to do is pass it forward. We live in the land of abundance, but the problem is we lack the will."
Mischler says he doesn't recommend one organization or another to people wanting to join his cause because "they have to figure that out themselves."
Although this cowboy with a cause says 'home is where he hangs his hat,' he is part of a community in Upstate New York that is similar to the Hutterite Colonies.
That is why he makes a point to stop and see his "Baptist Brothers" along the way.
He says he'll stay and fellowship with them or anybody else he meets during his journey who doesn't mind taking him in.
"I've stayed with the Federation of Black Cowboys in Harlem, with kind people who take me in; I've stayed in Bed and Breakfasts, hotels, motels, and along side the road in my tent and sleeping bag," said Mishler.
Over the weekend he says he stayed with a nice couple in Perham, where he "fellowshipped" with them for a few days.
Then, he says, they gave him the name of a couple just outside of Detroit Lakes he could stay with.
"So, that's where I'm headed," he said from the side of Highway 10, "A feller by the name of Clayton Schott."
And while this big-hearted, Christian cowboy already has thousands of miles under his belt buckle, he's got a few more to go, as Winnipeg is his destination.
"It's the hub of the Hutterites," he says while waving and smiling to a trucker who honked at him.
When asked how long he figures it will take him to get there, he refers you to the horses. "It's all up to them," he smiles, "I'm just the rider - the saddle bum."
This "saddle bum" says he doesn't have a set route on his way up to Canada, but leaves that to the Lord and tries not to get in the way of his plans.
"Each day, come what may, I just wait upon the Lord and pray ... go ahead, make my day!"