2:45 P.M. EST June 11, 2010 | NASHVILLE, Tenn.(UMNS)
Josh Oldaker hopes his “Heal Me” tour will take him to every state in the nation in 2010. A UMNS photo courtesy of Josh Oldaker.
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Josh Oldaker dreamed of becoming a country music singer.
He left his West Virginia home following high school to study the
recording industry at a university near Nashville. The country boy,
though, was too homesick and moved back to Quiet Dell, W.Va., after only
A few years later, his family and friends were surprised when
Oldaker told them he planned to go on a journey that would take him
across the country over the course of a year. And that the trip didn’t
have anything to do with country music.
Instead, Oldaker decided to use his singing talent to spread the
message of God, more specifically a song that touched his heart and
became the name of his 50-state tour: “Heal Me.”
“God leaned on my heart that I needed to share this song with the
United States,” he said, adding that he thinks the nation needs a
The lyrics of the song tell of someone going through the motions of
showing up for church on Sunday and not really letting the word of God
in. The person suddenly feels ashamed and asks the Lord to heal him, to
heal his heart, his eyes and his mind.
“Heal me. Wake my soul from this sleep. Give me back the joy of when I first believed.”
‘A year for me and God to become closer’
The song was a wake-up call for Oldaker. He said he was being complacent in his faith.
“I felt that I backslid and wasn’t being the best Christian that I could be,” Oldaker said.
The lyrics of this song are a daily reminder to give everything up
to God, he said, and it is a message he felt he needed to share with
Oldaker consulted his pastor, the Rev. George Brandle of Quiet Dell United Methodist Church, before coming to a decision.
“He was sharing with me that he had this vision or dream that he
wanted to bring the message of this song to all 50 states. I said he
really needed to be praying about that,” Brandle recalled. The pastor
knew Oldaker is prone to homesickness and was concerned if he could
emotionally handle such a long trip.
“He was really burdened with this,” Brandle said. “It seemed like the Lord really laid this on his heart.”
Oldaker, now 23, decided that he was being
called by God to minister to people across the United States using the
message of “Heal Me.”
Oldaker, who grew up singing in church and at local fairs, hit the
road alone on Jan. 7 with only two church performances scheduled and
the belief that God would provide. He doesn’t charge for his
performances, relying on love offerings and the kindness of strangers
for lodging and transportation.
“This is a year for me and God to become closer spiritually and really rely on him,” he said.
‘God had a different plan’
The newfound missionary talked about his journey recently as he drove from California to Portland, Ore.
Oldaker was behind the wheel of his trusty ’98 Dodge Stratus, with 234,000 miles on the odometer.
About five months into his mission trip, Oldaker has put 18,000
miles on his car and traveled through 20 states. He has sung at around
45 churches, playing at a service most Sundays.
Oldaker sends e-mails and calls churches to find places to perform. Some have come through word-of-mouth.
While in Orlando, Fla., he got a call from a pastor at 11 p.m.
asking if he could perform the next afternoon in West Palm Beach.
“I had a lady stand up at the end of the service and said that ‘If
you need a place to stay, my door is always open to you,’” he said.
Oldaker called the invitation a blessing. The family hadn’t planned
on cooking dinner that night, but they ended up making three
casseroles. It was a much-needed home-cooked meal.
At the Water’s Edge United Methodist Church in North Carolina, he
was the only speaker and singer at the church’s special two-hour
“The presence of the Lord was so strong that evening,” Oldaker said.
“People were carrying burdens. That was the longest altar call I have
In Oklahoma, he performed at several churches and met a woman who reminded him of his mother.
Karen Hill “treated me like I was one of her children. I think I stayed with her three nights. I loved it.”
Hill said she knows that Oldaker’s message will be received well by others because of his open and energetic nature.
Oldaker said he is looking forward to seeing what the rest of his
tour will bring, adding, “I truly believe there is something great that
is going to come out of this.”
He hopes to grow spiritually through his journey.
“My dream all of my life has been to be a country singer. I think God had a different plan.”
*Edgemon is a freelance writer in Bell Buckle, Tenn.
News media contact: Joey Butler, Nashville, Tenn., (615) 742-5105 or email@example.com.