A FRESH START

Like a watch, the human spirit can just run down….

God has the power and willingness to breathe a new breath of life into one who has lost.
Charles Allen

 

The past couple of years have been challenging, to say the least.  Our lives have been disrupted; our ‘normal’ has been considerably altered; our personal, mental and emotional beings have been accosted by words, behaviors, and requirements the likes we’ve never seen or even dreamt could exist.  It’s been exhausting.  Many times, I think ‘Will this ever end?  What are we to learn from this chaos?  Has God forgotten His people?’ 

And, so, when I received Dr. David Jeremiah’s devotion this morning, his words struck deep to something that was personal to me and I immediately wanted to share it with you all.  God is watching over us … we need to pray to Him to refresh and restore us.  

I hope you find it as inspiring as I did.

 
After the disruptions of the past two years, many people feel stuck in a rut. Habit patterns shifted. Many people began watching church services online while sitting in their recliners at home. Small groups struggled to stay together. We automized our giving. We began working from our kitchen tables. Many parents tended to their children all day, trying to help them with online learning. We wondered if we would ever feel normal again.
 
The people in Joel’s day suffered a pestilence of locust, but God promised to restore them—and to restore the losses they had sustained. Ask Him to do the same for you. The Lord Jesus is a master at restoring and reviving His people. One pastor simply prayed, “Lord, I need a fresh anointing!” 
 
Why not ask God for a fresh start in 2022? Ask Him to restore your soul and to give you a fresh burden for the new year. Ask Him to make up for what’s been lost.
 
He can and will restore joy and productivity to your life!

 

Amen, amen, amen!!!  Please Holy Spirit, come!

 


And, we received these testimonials that were just as inspiring; we thank these kind folks for their generous words.  It keeps us walking the road and fighting the fight.

 

Your crosses are making a wonderful impact for our Evangelism Committee. 

Christine ~ Black Forest Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO

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Please accept my sincere thank you for being so thoughtful in sending me a cross.  Your generosity means more to me than I can express in words.  The beautiful cross will be a treasure to me for a long time.  God loves you and there is nothing you can do about it.  God bless you. 

Linda ~ AR

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Thank you so much for your wonderful ministry.  My friend, Mary, introduced me to Cross The World.  We carry a bag with us when we travel.  I put them in my ‘welcome bags’ at church and have passed them out to the congregation and more.  I always show people the tag, how to reach you.  Hope some of them do!  Love in our Dear Savior. 

Barbara ~ OK

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And, another great note from Black Forest Lutheran Church:

This is Pastor John Graham.  I’ve been ordering your crosses for many years now, in Canada and now in the USA.  They are always a big hit with the congregations.  I love it when someone comes and tells me how they gave someone a cross with the message that it is a sign of just how much God loves them.  They are great in training/facilitating people to sharing the Good News of the cross of Christ.

This is my way of saying how much I appreciate what you guys do, providing low-cost crosses to give away to the world.  Here at Black Forest Lutheran Church we are focused more locally and so we call it “Crossing the Neighborhood”.  God bless you and your husband and anyone else who participates.

               Associate Pastor John Graham ~ Black Forest Lutheran Church, Colorado Springs, CO

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We thank the following for putting feet on our crosses recently: 

Hosanna Lutheran Church – St. Charles, IL

Lesly – WV

Lorraine – AZ

Noreen – MN   feet-globe-205x300

Claudia – MN

Geralyn – PA

Mary – MN

David – CA

Patricia – IL

Frank – MI

Greg – CA

Debbie – IL

Geralyn – OH

Winfield House Bible Study – Colorado Springs, CO

Meredith – CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Joy – MN

Pastor Jim – MN

Owendale United Methodist Church – Owendale, MI

 


 

There is probably nothing that hurts the cause of Christ more than one who claims His name but consistently makes decisions that are contrary to the very intent and spirit of His Word.

 

Our daily decision making says far more to the non-Christian world than all of the verbal, personal testimonies we might share.

 

There’s a current saying that I really like.  It goes, ‘Walk your talk.’  It is very simple, but it gets to the point … that our lives, as reflected in our decision making, must be consistent with what we profess to be as Christians.

 

Bill Gaither

Christmas is for Love

Christmas my child, is love in action...When you love someone, you give to them, as God gives to us. The greatest gift He ever gave was the Person of ...

 

Christmas is for love.  It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly covered packages.  But, mostly, Christmas is for love.

I had not believed this until a small elf-like pupil with wide-eyed innocence and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.  Mark was an 11 year old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter, middle-aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son.  She never failed to remind Mark that if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif.  Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger so I learned later) to help me straighten up the room.  We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day.  When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother.  Though he was quite young when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman who always spent time with him.

As Christmas drew near, however, Mark failed to stay after school each day.  I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked him why he no longer stayed after to help me.  I told him how I had missed him, and his large brown eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”  I explained how he had been my best helper.  “I was making you a surprise”, he whispered confidentially.  “It’s for Christmas.”  With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. 

Finally came the last school day before Christmas.  Mark crept slowly into the room later that afternoon, with his hands concealing something behind his back.  “I have your present”, he said timidly when I looked up.  “I hope you like it.”  He held out his hands and, there, lying in his small palms, was a tiny wooden box.

“It’s beautiful, Mark.  Is there something in it?”  I asked, opening the top to look inside.  “Oh, you can’t see what’s in it,” he replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it, or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time … warm on cold nights and safe when you’re all alone.” 

I gazed into the empty box.  “What is it, Mark” I asked gently “that will make me feel so good?”  “It’s love”, he whispered softly.  “And, mother always said it’s best when you give it away.”  He turned and quietly left the room.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and wondrous gifts.  But mostly, Christmas is for love.

 


 

And, the sharing of love is evident through the hands of these Cross The World Family members:

We are busy beavers here in Texas filling Operation Christmas Child boxes to be sent to children in other countries. The beautiful crosses that we received from your ministry will bless the hearts of many kids for years to come. Thanks for helping to share the good news around the world. Blessings.
Shearon ~ TX 

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Just to let you know that 100’s of your crosses that I just received today are being sent out again this year to children in many countries through the Samaritan’s Purse Shoebox program. I’ll be visiting two churches next week to place them in their boxes. I am so thankful that your beautiful crosses will be reaching countries far and wide, far from MN, and that God’s message of salvation that’s included in each shoebox, along with what the cross represents is being spread throughout many lands.  Thank you for being a part of blessing many with the beautiful workmanship of these beautiful crosses.
Claudia ~ MN

 

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A week ago I returned from a trip to Yambio, South Sudan, the location of our sponsored Concordia Lutheran Institute for the Holy Ministry. During our time there we ordained 17 men for the ministry in the Ev. Lutheran Church of South Sudan/Sudan. During the six hour service various gifts were given to the graduates, but we did not want the children to miss out, so we arranged to have 250 of your crosses handed out to the Sunday school children and to the children who gathered around the church with inquisitive looks on their faces. Unfortunately no pictures were taken as all cameras were focused on the ordination activities. The church was not large enough to contain those attending and a large tent was put up next to the church. The fatted calf was prepared in the form of a skinny cow that was fed to the attendees along with rice, of course, and other fruits and vegetables. After the service you could see children having crosses wrapped around their wrists. Thank you CROSS THE WORLD.
Dr. Robert Rahn ~ Lutheran Heritage Foundation, Macomb, MI

 

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We always pack a cross in every shoe box we pack for Operation Christmas Child. Then, send them around the world!!!!!  We sent over 300 in 2020; there will be another 300+ this year!
Frank ~ MI

 

And, the other day, we received a box from Frank.  First, the note he enclosed, explaining the contents:

As part of our Kingsmen’s Ministry at House of Prayer Pentecostal Church of God, we have been studying some of the books by Mark Batterson.  I was recently challenged.  In his book Chase The Lion, Mark asks the question ‘What’s your 500 pound lion?’  I keep hearing about the 22 veterans on average every day that are taking their own lives.  This has grabbed my heart.  I know there may be nothing I can do about this alone, BUT, with prayer, God’s help AND YOURS, I can do something about this 500 pound lion.  It starts with making people aware, THUS – The Hat.  Please share them.  When people ask “What’s the 22 mean?”, you can have a conversation to explain it.  AND MOST IMPORTANTLY, you ask them to join you in prayer for these souls when they have lost hope and are thinking of ending it all.  Praying for them to find their hope in Jesus.

Frank produced these caps and authored the accompanying note which is neatly tucked inside each cap.  In our conversation about them, he specifically noted that these caps are for everyone … to encourage conversation and prayers for our veterans.  What a Christ inspired endeavor!  We thank him for this ministry and his loving passion for our Lord.  If you would like more information about Frank’s mission and the caps, please inquire through the comment box on the bottom of this page.

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Christmas is a time of generosity and sharing.  It can be throwing a few coins into the bell ringer’s bucket; giving our time and work when we would rather be home, warm and comfortable; or it can be sharing our own Christmas.  And that’s the magic of Christmas … when sharing and love abound.

Yes, Christmas is all about love … the incredible love of God for humanity.  It is God’s love that brought the Saviour to earth to save us from our sins and gift us with eternal life.  For hundreds of years, love has whispered, ‘I am coming to be with you and stay with you forever!’

It was love that celebrated that night in the skies over Bethlehem with angels, music and shouts of praise.  Love was the shining star sent to draw people from far away to come and worship a new born babe.  And, love has entered our hearts.  We can feel it drawing us to love and worship God.  We can see it gathering us together to celebrate His coming and we can sense it reaching out this Christmas to share with the needy all around us.

Christmas is a story of love.  Love that has come to us and brightened our lives.  Love is Jesus.  Hallelujah!! 

“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world,

but to save the world through him.” 

John 3:17

 

 

All of us at Cross The World wish you a joyous and loving Christmas.

We Say Thank You

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For more years than some of us can remember, men and women of the United States Armed Forces have served and sacrificed much for our country. 

In America, we have religious freedom to attend a church of our choosing. We’re permitted to own a Bible … or several.  We may choose to marry…or not.  To vote…or not. We have the right to free speech and the right to peacefully assemble. All because these freedoms continue to be defended and protected by the members of the military.  Patriotic and proud, these members have willingly laid down their lives to protect and defend, in wartime and peace, the Constitution of the United States of America and its freedoms.

Many of us will never know the brotherhood that is developed by standing side by side in battle, trusting our life to a person beside us. We won’t hear most of the heroic and sacrificial acts of so many who gave their life to save others.  Remember John 15:13?  Jesus said, “The greatest love a person can have for his friends is to give his life for them”.  It should be very humbling to us to think there are men and women we don’t know, will most probably never meet, that are willing to give their all to protect this nation … for us, strangers.

Today is Veterans Day. And while I personally think veterans should be honored every day for their service and sacrifice for our country, it’s important to have a day like today set aside, just for them. This day puts the spotlight on people who don’t seek it, and gives honor to whom honor is due.

Later this month, most of us will sit with family at the Thanksgiving table.  We’ll laugh and giggle, enjoying each others company.  We’ll take turns saying what we’re thankful for.  We’ll thank God for the goodness and blessings He has bestowed on us.  And, so, while we’re counting our blessings, let’s specifically take the time to be grateful for our veterans and think about their families as some of them won’t be reunited this year for one reason or another.  Maybe this is a repeat from last year or the year before.   Let’s pray for them because without their service and sacrifice, the likelihood of us enjoying the freedom of our Thanksgiving time with family might not be that great.

 

 


 

We have received some very treasured comments from our family this month and, for that, we are extremely grateful.

Mary from Missouri wrote:

‘I was recently the recipient of one of the beautiful crosses made by your organization.  It was a deeply heartfelt gesture from a new friend.  I am placing this order so that I too can share this meaningful symbol of God’s love.’ 

 

Joy’s words from Minnesota:

‘I’m so grateful for your crosses as are many who receive them.  There are professional and private vehicles driving around in Duluth with your cross positioned in them.  Your crosses are needed and appreciated by many.’ 

 

Kathy from Delaware will be traveling for mission work to Guatemala and ordered crosses to take along:

‘Thank you for all the wonderful things you do.  I know the children and the people of Guatemala will enjoy the crosses.’ 

 

Helene sent us this note from Iowa:

‘Bless you for your continued ministry!  God must be smiling.’ 

 

And, from Claudia in Minnesota:

‘Please send me some more crosses. They are so nicely made!  Thank you!’

 

And, we are very grateful to the following for sharing the cross with others this past month:

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Kathy – DE

Catholic Committee on Scouting – Rice Lake, WI

Marianne – FL

Nancy – MO

Joy – MN

Claudia – MN

Dodie – MN

First Lutheran Church – Fargo, ND

Geralyn – PA

 


 

Please join us in this prayer for our military:

Abba Father:

You are not a stranger to war and know the stress our veterans have felt. Please comfort and strengthen them with your Holy Spirit. Meet each of them right where they are today and speak to their souls. You’ve brought them through many trials. Help them see your mighty hand at work in their lives and know how much you love them. Heal their hearts as well as their bodies. Help us to show our sincere thanks to them and help us all never to forget the sacrifices that they’ve made. Help us to love them just as you have loved us.

Amen

To all the men and women of the United States Armed Forces, all of us at Cross The World say

‘Thank you.  We are so very grateful for your service.  God Bless You All!’

 

Harvest

Rivers do not drink their own water; trees do not eat their own fruit; the sun does not shine on itself and flowers do not spread their fragrance for themselves.  Living for others is a rule of nature.  We are all born to help each other.  No matter how difficult it is, life is good when you are happy; but much better when others are happy because of you.   

Pope Francis

 


 

The other day, I was researching some information about harvesting, simply because it’s that time of year where we live, and I started thinking about what we plant is what we harvest.  Planting seeds in the garden or field in the early spring, tending it all summer and harvesting it in the fall was the first and most obvious thought I had. 

But, as I dug a little deeper, I got to thinking a little more philosophically about us as persons and I remembered some clever quotes I’ve heard at least a zillion times; maybe they’re familiar to you too:

You made your bed, now lie in it.

You are what you eat. 

You dug your own grave. 

You can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. 

People who live in a glass house shouldn’t throw stones. 

You’re preaching to the choir. 

Your actions speak louder than words.

If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. 

Get a taste of your own medicine.

When you throw dirt, you lose ground.

Make it do or do without. 

There are so many quotes about the harvest of our seeds.  All reflective on us … our behavior, our decisions, our manner of speaking … all our total responsibility really.  And I began to wonder about me.  Have I been kind lately?  Loving?  Compassionate?  Wise?  Patient?  Have I ‘put myself in others shoes’ or ‘caught more flies with honey than vinegar’?  Sometimes, the truthful answers weren’t at all what I wanted to admit. ‘Practice what you preach.’

Words are very much like seeds.  They do more than blow around.  They land in our hearts and not the ground.  So, it would be wise to be careful what we plant and careful what we say … we just might have to eat what we planted one day.  Everything we do, everything we say, every choice we make, sooner or later comes back around.  We are free to choose, but we aren’t free from the consequence of our choices.  ‘Do to others as you would have them do to you.’ 

Doe Zantamata, author of Happiness In Your Life says: ‘Sometimes you only reap a lesson, not a reward.  But you take that with you and keep it for the rest of your life.  Sow the best you can with love, honesty, trust and effort.  It won’t always pan out but when it does, it will make everything, even the struggles, worthwhile.’

And, from Zig Ziglar, renowned author and motivational speaker: ‘Life is an echo.  What you send out, comes back.  What you sow, you reap.  What you give, you get.  What you see in others, exists in you.’  In other words, ‘what goes around, comes around’.

We always harvest what we plant.  Frederick William Robertson, a British clergy from the 1840’s, said it best: ‘You reap what you sow – not something else, but that.  An act of love makes the soul more loving.  A deed of humbleness deepens humbleness.  The thing reaped is the very thing sown, multiplied a hundredfold.  If you have sown a seed of life, you reap life everlasting.’ 

It occurs to me that when we stop chasing the wrong things like money, fame, prideful opportunities, etc. and focus on what really matters … simply put, God’s love and His blessings to us … if we welcome and take hold of the opportunity to let Him shine through us, the right things have a chance to catch up.  And then, and only then, our harvest will be joyous and bountiful!

 


 

Seeds of God’s love were planted this past month by the following:1corinthians3-9wearegodsfellowworkersyouaregodsfieldandbuildingyellow

Lutheran Heritage Foundation – Macomb, MI

Greg – CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Carla – MN

Donna – MO for Operation Christmas Child

Cheryl – NV

Black Forest Lutheran Church – Colorado Springs, CO

Leslie – PA

Christine – MN

Geralyn – PA

Community Lutheran Church – Las Vegas, NV

Holy Redeemer Catholic Church – Renville, MN

 


 

Sharing some of our harvest from last month’s message:

Amen, thanks for the wonderful message. 

Debbie ~ MN

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Thank you. Beautiful message.  I love the Lord and the fact I always have “God Winks”. 

Kathy ~ DE

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Thank you for listening to that “Still small voice!” God is moving mightily- don’t give up!  

Unknown

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The Fruit of the Spirit

In the world of agriculture, God created everything for its own season. Grapefruits, lemons, and oranges hit their peak in the winter. Strawberries, pineapples, and artichokes hit the shelves in the spring. Summer brings us blackberries, blueberries, raspberries, and tomatoes. And we can hardly wait for the apples, grapes, and pumpkins of the fall season. How wonderfully God created an agricultural calendar to give us ongoing nourishment.

There’s one fruit, however, that’s constantly in season—the fruit of the Spirit. These nine qualities (like grapes on one cluster) should be growing and continually bearing in our life. When we are rooted and grounded in Christ, the “sap” of the Holy Spirit takes the nourishment of the Word and transports it from the Vine (who is Jesus) to us, the “branches.”

Ask yourself: Am I more loving now than I was last year? More joyful? Do I have more peace? Am I more patient? Kinder? These qualities don’t suddenly appear. They must be grown. They should be constantly maturing in our lives.

No one can get joy by merely asking for it.

It is one of the ripest fruits of the Christian life, and, like all fruits, must be grown.

Henry Drummond

(Thank you to Dr. David Jeremiah for this devotion.)

 


 

The fruit of the spirit was shared through these folks:

Geralyn – PA

Bridget – KY

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care – Tulsa, OK

Gale – MN

David – CA

Gloria – FL

Sunny Knik Chapel – Wasilla, AK

Holly – TX

Russ – MN

Stephen – MO

Joy – MN

Christine – CO

Pam – WA

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon – N. Jackson, OH

Dana – WV for Operation Christmas Child

Sandi – AZ

 


 

And, sharing these wonderful words from our family members:

Thanks for the great message.  Debbie ~ MN

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Thanks for sharing.  God bless you ALL!  Pat ~ IL

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Always appreciative of your ministry.  It is wonderful to have these crosses to give.  Most recipients are grateful … some, very much.  Joy ~ MN

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Recently, I ordered 400 crosses as handouts during a local festival.  It was amazing how many people enjoyed receiving them.  I would like to order more.  I am in the process of joining Jesus and learning to be a disciple. Giving out these crosses is a great way of opening up communication.   Christine ~ CO

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I want to spread the love of Jesus in a tangible form.  Some of these crosses will go in my OCC boxes; some will go in gift bags for cancer patients and some will go to Bible School, Christmas trees … so many ideas. Can’t wait!   Dana ~ WV

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But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness,

faithfulness, gentleness, self-control.

Galatians 5:22-23
 
 

SOW ONLY THE GOOD SEEDS

 

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year, he won the award for the best grown corn.

One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors.

“How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.  “Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

So is with our lives.

Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches.

And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

 


 

The good seeds of the Gospel were shared through the cross with these folks:

 Barbara ~ OK

Marianne ~ FL

Sandra ~ MN

Joplin Family Worship Center ~ Joplin, MO

Mary ~ OK

Dodie ~ MN

Sweet Tomorrows ~ Sanford, FL

Community Lutheran Church ~ Bullhead City, AZ

Greg ~ CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Danube Zion Methodist Church ~ Danube, MN

Joy ~ MN

Marjorie ~ MN

Pastor Jim ~ MN

Carla ~ MN

Kimball United Methodist Church ~ Kimball, MN

Pat ~ PA

Pam ~ FL

New Life Assembly of God Church ~ Kenai, AK

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon ~ North Jackson, OH

David ~ CA

Connie ~ MN

Shearon ~ TX for Operation Christmas Child

Trinity Lutheran Church ~ Fergus Falls, MN for the LAMP ministry

Sheri ~ MN

Geralyn ~ PA

Black Forest Lutheran Church ~ Colorado Springs, CO

Presbyterian Senior Care Network ~ Oakmont, PA

First Baptist Church ~ Rochelle, IL

Bridget ~ KY

Pastor Duane Guisinger ~ AK

 


 

And, this is how the seeds of the Gospel enriched others’ lives:

Thank you for listening to God’s prompting to share His love through His crosses. To think that it all started with one still small voice and the first cross. I loved reading all the testimonials of the crosses reaching far into the world to hungry people for Christ. May the Lord bless you as you continue on your journey to follow Jesus.

Carla – MN

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Thank you!  Blessings!

Bethany – Faith Community Nurse Partnership

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I put one of your crosses in the gift bags I give to new people on their first Sunday at our Assembly of God church in Fairview, OK.  They are very popular with our congregation.

‘Crossing the World’ in Fairview!  Thank you! 

Barbara – OK

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Congratulations on your new adventure with Cross the World (Cross The World Goes to Cambodia).   I really enjoyed seeing the pictures. Did you have any idea how many people you have touched since you started?   To think that it only started with one cross two thousand years ago. Much like your cottage industry one cross , then another starting small now has grown to thousands all over the world. It is a beautiful reminder of God’s love for all of us. Thank you for being so obedient. May God continue to bless His people one cross at a time. 

Carla – MN

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Thank you so much!  What a wonderful outreach project! 

Helen, Danube Zion Methodist Church – Danube, MN

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I continue to experience grateful ‘hearts’ as I give a wide variety of people my (your) gift.  At a local flower shop, I made a point to hand out some crosses to employees, never expecting the manager wanted one for her son!  All the uncertainty today seems to have created a hunger/appreciation for the cross. It is made so beautifully and modestly, they can’t help but like it.  Thank you!

 Joy – MN

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Thank you and God bless you for your special ministry. 

Connie – MN

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Praise God for you and your wonderful ministry.  Brother Greg and I are so grateful to God and you, that we have the privilege to pass these out to many people at the Huntington Beach Pier in Huntington Beach, CA.  We pray for you often.  Blessings and encouragement. 

Brother David – CA

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You Are Our Feet

During one of Ernie’s last visits with Harlow, Harlow talked about the crisis for Christians across the world.  He was concerned that Christianity, as we know it, was being shoved aside and crushed, that not enough people would grow to know God and His salvation, that they would not feel His love and presence in their lives, and that they would not share in eternal life.  He said of the 340,000 people being born worldwide each day, ‘Wouldn’t it be great to reach 1% of those people and introduce them to their Savior?’. 

This comment was taken to heart and, with the help of two of his other friends and his wife, Harlow’s vision became our mission.  In June of 2011, Cross The World was launched as a ministry to help others get to know our Father and serve Him through the instrument of the cross.  And, you all became our feet!

Our little crosses were introduced in various ways.  Maybe you greeted at the front door of the local nursing home, handing out crosses to all who entered; or, maybe you stood on a warm beach each day spreading the Gospel to those who strolled the pier.  Maybe you kept a basket filled at the local coffee house or soup kitchen; perhaps you gave them to participants in a local 5K as you prayed for their safety and perseverance.  Or, maybe you taped a cross to your loved one as they entered the surgical suite or watched someone dear to you clutch a cross, praying for them and witnessing their hand slip from yours to God’s. The list of how our crosses found a new home to bless continues to grow: countless Bible studies, hospital/care center/home/hospice visits; Christmas packages with the cross tied to the bow; baptisms; funerals; baskets filled by your front door for visitors or provided by shelters for the homeless; plates filled with cookies and crosses shared with neighbors. And, don’t forget the kids … the kids love these crosses!

Through the years, our little crosses traveled … and, they didn’t just stay stateside.  Maybe it was you who carried them on a mission trip to Cambodia or Laos, Uganda, Central America or Mexico where the children would run ahead of you, drawing the sign of the cross in the sand because they didn’t speak English but wanted you to know, in their own way, they wanted something they knew you were carrying.  Maybe you took the cross with you when you visited the Sudan refugee camps, or the orphanages in the Ukraine, or traveled in a small plane to the northern parts of Canada to the remote Native villages where visitors are scarce, all to spread the word of God’s love.  Or, maybe you slipped them into the ‘we care from home’ packages that were sent to the military stationed overseas, into the Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes … all intended to give the end recipient something they could hold that represented God’s promise.

Sometimes, the cross spoke louder than words.  Were you the one who placed the cross by a fellow employee’s coffee cup that day, seeing that their spirit was broken?  Or, were you the one who left a cross on the ground beside the driver’s door of a stranger’s car at the shopping mall, not realizing your actions touched that person at a time when they desperately needed to draw strength from above?  Maybe it was you who gave a cross to a teen, struggling with addiction, and hoping beyond hope it would give them the strength to go on, sadly only to be found in their possessions by their mom after they had chosen to end their life?  Or, maybe you were the distracted driver whose cross you had placed on the dash tipped in time to redirect your attention to the road ahead, giving you the seconds you needed to slam on the brakes to avoid a nasty collision with the construction truck blocking it?

Again, the list continues to grow.  We liken these little pass-it-on wooden crosses to water … they seem to seep into every crack and cranny.  They are warmly reaching people who can’t tell us who or where they got them from.  They are being carried to places no one can explain how they got there.  They are doing massive work for the Lord, saying and spreading words and messages that we would never ever be able to comprehend how to say.  ‘The Lord speaks in mysterious ways’ …  we continue to witness to that.  To read more heartfelt testimonials, click HERE.

This month, Harlow’s vision was accomplished.  His goal of 340,000 crosses has been met.  Unbelievably, one third of a million crosses!  Whew!!  That’s a LOT of crosses out there spreading the word.  And we have you, our Cross The World family, to thank for putting the feet to these crosses.  We could never have dreamt of reaching our goal without you; we are so very thankful for your commitment to our ministry.  We can’t say ‘Thank You’ enough!  You are indeed God’s good and faithful servants!!

But, just so you know … our work is not finished.  It’s estimated that our current daily worldwide birthrate is 385,000 and we hear Harlow asking us to adjust our next goal to that number.  Our answer is a resounding ‘YOU BET’ !  In fact, we are already making strides towards that second goal.  And, of course, we still need your help.  There are still so many people out there who are starving to hear about God’s promise for eternal life, people who desperately need to feel God’s presence and know that He is in their corner.  Sometimes, all they need is a couple of little sticks glued together to open their hearts to feel His love.  Please keep doing what you’ve been doing; you’ve done a great job already! Bless you; we love you all. Onward Christian Soldiers!!

 

 

 

Cross The World Goes to Cambodia

 

This article appeared in the Phnom Penh Post newspaper, April 9, 2021

Royal Train Square is set to return one of Phnom Penh’s most striking historic buildings to its place at the heart of the capital as its “new meeting place”.  Phnom Penh Train Station was built in 1932 under the reign of King Sisowath Monivong in an Art Deco design, and it survives as one of the few remaining examples of the style in the city.

And the history of the project is paramount to Scott Bolls, the managing director of Royal Train Square, who is looking for like-minded pioneer clients to join him on this historic journey.

“History to me is a blueprint; a precedent set that we can build upon. History shapes our today and prepares us for the future as we learn from our past.   As a foreigner, I have so much respect for the history and culture of Cambodia and am keen to protect it.   My first goal when taking over the train station was always to keep the historic building and not replace it with a soulless office block,” he said.

Phnom Penh Train Station is to again become a place for the city’s residents to get together as in times past, when people would meet and congregate around the market stalls, even if they weren’t catching a train.

“Royal Train Square is transforming the station from a former central trading hub to a ‘new capital meeting place’, a sanctuary away from the busy ‘high tech’ development of Phnom Penh.    We wanted to breathe life back into the building and make Royal Train Square the meeting place for Phnom Penh,” Bolls said.

The American said Royal Train Square is the ideal location for discerning tenants seeking a long-term home in the centre of Phnom Penh.   “Where else in the world can companies have the opportunity to have their home in such a historic and iconic building in the capital of a country – and in such a prestigious location in the heart of the city?   We have an annex space a client can have built to their specifications – within the parameters of it respecting the original building, of course. The annex is something we can build for someone with a vision for the future.   There is 800sqm of space available on the second floor – which would be ideal either for restaurants or as offices for a leading bank or insurance company, for example – which has retained the beautiful original tiled floors and other features.   And as well as the historical importance, it again meets the needs of the modern Phnom Penh with ample parking available, which is a premium in such a central location,” Bolls said.

‘Belle of the ball’

Detailing and the use reinforced concrete suggest Phnom Penh Train Station was possibly designed by French architect Louis Victor Chaucon, who co-designed Phsar Thmey, or Central Market, which was completed in 1937.

The station and Central Market made up a trinity of Art Deco buildings in the capital along with the Cathedral of Phnom Penh.  Completed in 1927, the capital’s primary church was the first building to be destroyed by the Khmer Rouge when they took the city in 1975.

Built almost 90 years ago as the Phnom Penh terminus for the Kingdom’s line to Poipet to boost trade with neighboring Thailand, the train station has borne witness to dramatic changes over the decades.   The building now looks over the park situated between the Vattanac Capital and the Canadia Towers, which was originally the “Grand Canal” – one arm of which flowed into the Tonle Sap under the Pont de Verneville, near where the Chroy Changvar bridges stand today. Built in 1894, the canal stretched from the Tonle Sap river to the railway station, with the goods shipped in and then loaded onto trains.

“The train station has witnessed much of Phnom Penh’s modern history over its 90 years. It has always played an integral and important role in Cambodia as it was the centre for shipping as the canal went right to its front door, with goods loaded onto the trains for transportation throughout Southeast Asia,” Bolls explained.  And as railways superseded canals, so the train station again stands ready to embrace a new future.

“Royal Train Square respects and acknowledges the historical royal monarchy that helped build the nation into what it is today, and it is important to me to keep this history at the forefront.  It is a prestigious honour for me to be a catalyst in bringing the site back to life in this way after it had been inactive for so long.  Maurice, a financier and developer from the Netherlands, is also one of the pioneers who deserves mention for this historic development. By so sensitively remodeling this beautiful building in this way, we are dressing up the old lady in her finery and getting her ready to be the belle of the ball once again.  She can now take what she has learned and apply it to the new Cambodian economy. She is now poised, renewed and restored to bring a new face to Phnom Penh for all to enjoy.  But most important, she keeps the historic face that we want to maintain for future generations to see and experience,” Bolls said.

And, further correspondence and photos from Scott:

I want to thank all of you for your prayers for the International Prayer Room. Today I signed it over to Jesus to bless Him as He reaches out to the international public from the central Phnom Penh Cambodian Train Station. I’ve prayed three years for this to happen and today the churches came in to take stewardship of our donation. I’m so happy that it’s now in good hands and Jesus can take it from here.

 

 


 

And our crosses traveled to these spots as well:

David ~ CA

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

He Intends Victory ~ Irvine, CA for mission to Uganda

Geralyn ~ PA

First Lutheran Church ~ Fargo, ND

Birch Ridge Resort ~ Cass Lake, MN

Walter ~ MN

Denise ~ PA

St. Joseph of the Lakes Catholic Church ~ Lino Lakes, MN

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon ~ North Jackson, OH

United Methodist Church of Montevideo ~ Montevideo, MN

 


 

 

TRADITIONS

In the late 19th century on May 1st, someone placed a small handmade basket filled with flowers and goodies on the door handle of someone they were smitten with.  If the recipient saw their admirer, chased and caught them, they would reward their affections with a kiss.  Thus starting the tradition of May Day baskets.

Conceived by Anna Jarvis in 1908 and honoring her mom’s passing 3 years prior, Anna wanted to observe one day specifically to celebrate mothers and their personal relationships/sacrifices with their children.  She worked tirelessly with numerous organizations … organizing recognition celebrations throughout local towns, launching massive letter writing campaigns to newspapers urging adoption of this special day, even working with the floral industry to raise awareness of her idea.  And, because of her efforts, in 1914 President Woodrow Wilson officially established the second Sunday in May as Mother’s Day.

May’s third Saturday is Armed Forces Day, created in 1949 to honor Americans currently serving in the five US military branches. Under President Trump, that day was reaffirmed as a federal holiday, marking the 70th anniversary since the creation of the Department of Defense.   

Born out of the Civil War and originally called Decoration Day, General John Logan, national commander of the Grand Army of the Republic at that time, proclaimed ‘the 30th of May, 1868 is designated for the purpose of strewing with flowers, or otherwise decorating the graves of comrades who died in defense of their country during the late rebellion, and whose bodies now lie in almost every city, village and hamlet churchyard in the land.’  Depending on which state of the Union you lived in, there was much discussion on how and when to observe this holiday.  Finally, after WWI, the holiday was changed from honoring just those who died fighting in the Civil War to honoring Americans who died fighting in any war.  And, so, the last Monday of May, we observe Memorial Day nationwide … a federal day set aside to honor ALL military personnel who have died performing their sworn duties while serving in the US Armed Forces.

In addition to these highlighted traditions, there are many every day celebrations in May.  First of all, this year Covid … finally getting under control … families and friends coming together again … a big yippee on that!  Old Man Winter has gotten kicked out of his long slumber by Sassy Springtime and woodland & domestic perennials are responding by giving us a bouquet of vibrant colors which will certainly cheer anybody’s day.  Here in Minnesota, we anxiously await the opening of fishing season in a couple of days.  Garden centers and nurseries are bursting at the seams with gorgeous flowers and sturdy bedding plants just waiting their turn to perform for us the rest of the summer.  Some kids are savoring their school year end … because they are graduating and taking the next step in their life journey, or they are anxious to start their summer jobs fulltime, or they just want to see their summer fun begin!

Yes, May is an active month, chock full of traditions and celebrations.  And, through it all, a common thread is woven …  LOVE!  We are smitten with someone and put a basket of flowers on their door; we adore our moms.  We are humbly thankful for the freedoms given us by the actions/sacrifices of our military.  We joy in our time spent time in and with nature, whether we’re fishing or digging in the dirt (either way, it involves worms!); we are jumping out of our skins to see what life holds for us when our school days are over.  Continue reading

Because He Lives

Bill and Gloria Gaither are pioneers in Christian Gospel music.  Together, their musical career has produced lyrics and music scores for over 700 Christian songs … many very familiar to you such as ‘Because He Lives’, ‘A Sinner Saved By Grace’, ‘Something Beautiful’, ‘There’s Something About That Name’, ‘He Touched Me’ … just to name a few.

‘Because He Lives’ is one of my personal favorites.  Written by Gloria in 1971 during some personally challenging times for the Gaithers, this song offers hope to many of us because of its connection between the  Resurrection and taking us to a ‘life worth living’.

 ‘God sent His Son, they called him Jesus,

            He came to love, heal and forgive;

            He lived and died, to buy my pardon,

            An empty grave is there to prove my Savior lives.’

Jesus died on a cross for us.  He died so we could live.  His resurrection proves that, even though the cross should have been the end of our salvation, it was only the beginning.  After all, Jesus’ last words were “It Is Finished’, not that He was finished.  His work, through us, was just starting.  

In our Cross The World brochure, we ask the question: ‘We all know what the cross is … OR, DO WE?  Do we remember that the cross is an instrument of death that brings life?’  

Charles Stanley has this to say about the cross:

            ‘What does the cross mean to you?  Many people in the world today view it as a symbol of Christianity, but think about what it represented in Christ’s day.  Nobody wore a miniature cross around the neck or displayed one in a place of worship.  The cross was a torturous means of execution, and the mere thought of it was repulsive.

            Yet believers throughout the ages have chosen this as the sign of their faith.  In fact, to remove the cross from our teaching and theology would leave nothing but an empty, powerless religion.  How could anyone be saved if Christ had not been crucified and resurrected?  According to Scripture, there can be no forgiveness without the shedding of blood.  Christ had to bear the punishment for our sin in order for God to grant us forgiveness.

            Every time you see a cross, remember what it really was … an instrument of execution.  Then thank Jesus that He was willing to be crucified so the Father could forgive you of sin.  Though the scene of your redemption was horrendous, Christ turned the cross into a place of great triumph.’

What a powerful message for this Easter season!  We are reminded that He lives so that we can also, because of God’s gift to us.  Jesus took away our sin and gave salvation in its place, at a tremendous cost to Him.  We have a promise for tomorrow because we know His love and isn’t that a wonderful place to be? 

 

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We’ve received so many awesome testimonials.  They, too, tell the story of God’s love and promise for the future.

‘Thank you so much for this amazing ministry.  I feel so blessed to be part of spreading your crosses.’ 

Geralyn ~ PA

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

‘I was given one of your crosses when my youngest son died 3 years ago.  It had a profound effect on me.  I am sharing the crosses that you send with my church with others.  I pray that they touch others as it did me.’

Mary ~ MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

‘On the day I received your cross and the card, passed on from a severely disabled woman, my heart was filled with joy and I felt more blessed in that moment than I have in this entire year that has passed since Covid became part of our daily routine in life. Her name is Tonya.  And I am going to pass this cross on like the card says to a wonderful dear friend, a missionary friend of my niece who, since Covjd began, has not been allowed to travel back to Los Angeles. Quarantined for the last year. God is with her, and now so will be your cross as a reminder to never lose faith.  Thank you whoever you may be for bringing me out of my darkness and back into His light.’

Donna ~ CA

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

‘I gave a cross to a young butcher at the local supermarket.  He thanked me and said he was ‘searching’.  I shared testimony with him.  He said he was to receive a Bible and I encouraged reading the Gospel of John first.  Experiences like this would never happen without a cross from your ministry.  Thank you for your fine work.  There is obvious love and dignity in the making of the crosses and how they are mailed.’

Joy ~ MN

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

And, these powerful words received throughout the last months from Brothers in Christ, David and Greg from CA:

‘Your cross ministry is very appreciated.  God bless you!’

‘Thank you so much for your ministry.  Thank you for your prayers.  We are praying for you.  At the Huntington Beach Pier in Huntington Beach, CA, we are giving away hundreds of crosses and Christian literature.  To God’s glory!!  Blessings.’

‘Thank you so much for your ministry.  You have brought joy to hundreds and hundreds of people here in California.  Blessings.’

‘Greetings and blessings in Jesus’ name.  Praise God for you and this ministry.  Brother Greg and I are so blessed.  Sometimes at the Huntington Beach Pier Plaza, we hand out 75 crosses in one day.  Praise Almighty God!  Thank you for your ministry.  We pray for you.  Blessings and encouragement.’

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥pocket-sized cross♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 


 

Love was shared through the cross by these folks recently:

Basilica and National Shrine of Our Lady of Lebanon ~ N Jackson, OH

St. Francis Hospital Pastoral Care ~ Tulsa, OK

Gale ~ MN

United Methodist Church ~ Willmar, MN

David ~ CA

St. John’s Church ~ Wahpeton, ND

Sts. Anne & Joachim Catholic Church ~ Fargo, ND

Pat ~ MN

Victoria ~ CA

Carol ~ AZ

Geralyn ~ PA

Liberty Lutheran Brethren Church ~ Fargo, ND

Lorraine ~ AZ

Trudie ~ OH

Pastor Sandy ~ PA

Presbyterian Homes ~ Minneapolis, MN

Greg ~ CA

New Creation Free Methodist Church ~ New Castle, PA

Russ ~ MN for Homeless and Wounded Warriors MN

Joy ~ MN

Sally ~ CA

Edward ~ TX

Walter~ MN

 


 

‘Because He lives, I can face tomorrow,

            Because He lives, all fear is gone;

            Because I know He holds the future,

            And life is worth the living just because He lives.’