Good Friday marks the crucifixion and death of Jesus. For Christians, this is a solemn day of reflection on the meaning of the cross in anticipation of Easter and the celebration of Jesus’ resurrection.
The cross is a beloved symbol shared by people of the Christian faith around the world. The cross, a brutal tool of execution by the ancient Roman Empire, was transformed into a symbol of God’s steadfast love and sacrifice when Jesus poured out his whole being for us by dying on the cross.
A group of about 20 resident volunteers at Heartwood, located in Crosby, MN, have found a unique way to share the message of the cross by helping to send hand made wooden crosses all over the world. They work with Cross The World, a faith based ministry located in North Central Minnesota, that supplies over 2,500 crosses to Heartwood every month for the volunteers to prepare for distribution.
“We believe in the cross and that it’s important for us to share our faith with people,” said Heartwood resident Elynn Niles, one of the original volunteers who helped start the group in 2014. “It’s just clicked with us!” she said.
The crosses, measuring 4 x 2.5 inches, are crafted at the Cross The World workshop in nearby Emily, MN. Each cross is cut one at a time from recycled wood materials by a volunteer woodworker and, much like the individuals who will receive them, no two crosses are alike. Then, residents who live at Heartwood lovingly complete the gift by threading jute twine through the crosses and attaching a prayer card that reads:
TRUST – in HIS timing
RELY – on HIS promises
WAIT – for HIS answers
REJOICE – in HIS goodness
BELIEVE – in HIS miracles
RELAX – in HIS presence
Elynn estimates that the group has sent over 200,000 crosses across the world since they began five years ago. ““It’s our faith that keeps us doing this,” she said. The group prepared over 9,000 crosses that were given out at the 2017 Boy Scout National Jamboree. They have given crosses to people as nearby as a neighbor at Heartwood and as far away as Malawi in Africa.
They are also inspired by the mission of Cross the World, “to touch people’s lives by giving out crosses for free as a simple reminder that God is in their corner, no matter what.” As thousands of crosses travel far and wide, the volunteers at Heartwood are proud to be a part of this tangible way to share the love of Christ, one cross at a time.
To learn more about Cross the World, order crosses or support this ministry, visit www.crosstheworld.org.