Originally Published: February 3, 2018 6:01 a.m.
Mikah Meyer is on a quest to visit all 417 National Park Service sites in three years, making him both the youngest person to do so, and the fastest to accomplish this feat.
But Meyer is not just about a world record. The trip honors his father, who died in 2005, a man who loved to road trip and see the country, and his trip is an encouragement to LGBT people everywhere to experience life fully, especially in our country’s many and various national parks, monuments, historic sites and seashores.
Along the way, Meyer, a professional countertenor who has sung at the National Cathedral, is singing and speaking at churches, including Prescott Valley’s Emmanuel Lutheran Church, 7763 E. Long Look Drive, at the 8:15 and 10:15 a.m. services Sunday, Feb. 4.
Emmanuel and Meyer invite the community to come and listen to his words and songs as an inspiration. Meyer is more than two-thirds of the way through his journey and has amazing stories from his travels: the places he’s seen and the people he’s met.
In 2005, days after his father’s funeral, 19-year-old Meyer started a memorial road trip. Planned as a post-freshman year getaway, Meyer soon realized how healing and transformative the trips were, and he turned them into an annual event. In 2011-12, he took a 260-day, 16,400-mile “Dream Road Trip” around 46 North American states and provinces.
That trip inspired the current trip, to visit every one of the 417 National Park Service sites, an adventure on which Meyer embarked on April 29, 2016, the 11th anniversary of his father’s death from cancer. Meyer is sharing the details of his trip at www.MikahMeyer.com.
But far from just a 31-year-old Nebraska native on a three-year adventure, Meyer has some side missions. Meyer, who is gay, wants to be a role model for LGBT folks, especially young people.
Coincidentally, Emmanuel Lutheran will be celebrating its first anniversary of becoming a Reconciling in Christ church this Sunday. Reconciling in Christ means Emmanuel extends its welcome to people of all sexual orientations and gender identities, among all the other inclusions in Emmanuel’s Welcoming Statement:
“We are an inclusive faith community that seeks to live the Word and Way of Christ’s unconditional love. This means that, like Christ, we believe each person is a beloved child of God regardless of shape, size, economic status, religious background, sexual orientation, ethnicity, gender identity, or anything else that could divide us. We give thanks to God for the unique identities with which we are created, and have found here a fellowship of believers that accepts us just as we are. Come worship with us and enjoy full participation in all aspects of our life together, including baptism, confirmation, communion, marriage and burial.”
And Meyer is a professional countertenor, the voice above a male tenor. Meyer performed in Washington’s National Cathedral, and will share a number of songs during each of Sunday’s worship services.
A freewill offering will support Meyer’s remaining travel, which includes the National Parks Service sites in Alaska, the most expensive part of his journey.
Now in its 26th year of serving and worshiping in Prescott Valley, Emmanuel Lutheran Church is a congregation of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America. For more information about Emmanuel, go to www.EmmanuelLutheranPV.org or call 928-772-4135.