CHARLESTON, SC (WCSC) - Looking like a character straight out of the Old West, a Montana man is riding horseback to spread a message about child hunger.
That journey took Doc Mischler through the Lowcountry Wednesday, including downtown Charleston, across the Ravenel Bridge and into Mount Pleasant.
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Mischler's journey began in 1996, the year he says he was diagnosed with cancer.
"It brought me to my knees, 'What now, Lord? What's this all about? What can I do?" he says.
Mischler says he was influenced by Wayne Muller, author of the book, How Then, Shall We Live? The point of the book, he says, is to think of how you would live life if you knew you were going to die.
"I knew I was going to die," he says. So Mischler set out to spread what he calls his "gift to the world table of starving children."
"It just comes down to do what you enjoy doing, and do it for the glory of God."
What Mischler enjoys doing is reminding everyone within earshot that the solution to child hunger is within our grasp.
He left Montana on June 16, 2002 with his Tennessee Walker, Chief Free Spirit. After 22,000 miles, Chief Free Spirit was retired to green pastures and replaced with his daughter, Charity II and a companion, A. White Cloud.
"I'm letting people know that we have the money to feed every starving child in the world," he says. "It's not the way that is lacking, it's the will to do it."
The message, however, isn't without controversy, because he says what he calls "big business churches" have enough money to feed children, but instead choose to keep constructing bigger buildings.
Mischler claims the Mormon Church has a net worth of between $50 and 70 million, an amount that would feed a lot of hungry children. He goes on to call the Catholic Church "the biggest business of all."
"There's so much money in the Catholic church they don't even know how much they have," he says.
But Mischler admits he has been impressed with Pope Francis.
"I believe he wants to be the change we all want to see on Earth: Jesus," Mischler says.
Mischler returned to Montana on June 16, 2012, but says he hasn't been back since, continuing his ride for a cause and meeting what he calls a lot of wonderful people.
"This journey has renewed my faith in the human race," he says. "People want to give. People want to help. People want to feed the hungry children. Unfortunately, big business religion has failed the people."
Asked in California how long he intends to keep riding on horseback, Mischler said, "until the Pope sells the Vatican and then gives the money to the poor." He says, tongue-in-cheek, that event will likely come "when Hell freezes over," but is quick to add that when all of the world's hungry children are fed, "there will be no more Hell on Earth."
"There are no hungry children in Heaven," he says. "I'm sure of that."