Happy Hands, Happy Hearts Revisited

 
 
 

Our crosses were recently shared by these CTW family members:

He Intends Victory – Bullhead City, AZ for mission work in Kenya and Uganda

Augustana Lutheran Church – W. St. Paul, MN

Colman Lutheran Church – Colman, SD

Church of St. Joseph – St. Joseph, MN

The Center for Family Counseling – St. Cloud, MN

Hubbard United Methodist Church – Hubbard, MN

My Father’s House – Minneapolis, MN

Don – MN

Mt. Zion Lutheran Church – Tucson, AZ

Trinity Lutheran Church – Fergus Falls, MN for mission work in Canada through the LAMP program

Joan – WI

St. Odilia Catholic Church – Shoreview, MN

Lighthouse Fellowship – Milaca, MN

Tony – MN

First United Methodist Church – Manistique, MI

Carla – MN

Bill – MN

We say ‘Thank You!!!’ for providing the feet for our crosses to ‘take a hike’!

And, these comments to share:

God is so awesome.  Crosses were on the table at a soup kitchen which we were led to!!! Thank you for your ministry.  It was a tearful blessing to watch the less fortunate grab a cross and tie it on them.  To God be the glory!!!  In Christ, Bob & Pam from Washington

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

We will sing ‘To God Be The Glory’ on Sunday and remember your love and the ministry of Cross The World with the cross of Christ.  May Jesus be Glorified and proclaimed to the people of Monticello as we hand out these crosses on June 10th at the Monticello ‘Walk and Roll Day’.  Thanks for making it possible for Faith Lutheran Church to be used by the Lord in evangelism in Monticello, MN.  God bless you and your friends always.  Kay from Minnesota

Don’t repay a kindness; pass it on.

 


 

In January, 2015, we introduced you to our ‘Happy Hands, Happy Hearts’ volunteer work force, residents of Heartwood Senior Living in Crosby, MN.  The first Monday of every month, Ernie brings them 5-gallon pails of crosses and all the supplies needed to string, tag and bag those crosses.  When we started working with them, the total number of crosses completed in about an hour was 600.  Not only have these diligent, dedicated ladies (and sometimes there is a man or two who will pop his head in but is usually scared away by the chatter and laughter!) continued their involvement in our ministry but they have also picked up speed … completing about 2000 crosses in the same time!

Here’s the original story about ‘Ernie’s girls’ and, when you look at the photos we took of them working the first Monday in June of this year, you’ll see a lot of familiar faces.  They are still smiling and chattering and laughing … it truly is God at work.  We ALL couldn’t be happier!!

 


 

 

 

 

And, so, no good deed goes unattended.  Here’s the same gals at our house a couple of weeks later, enjoying an indoor picnic with us.  It was a great time … good food, lots of laughter, tons of fellowship, mountains of love! (Trust me … they DID have a good time.  I guess I’ll have to remind them to smile the next time I snap their picture!~!~!)

 


 

 

 

 

We are so blessed to have the Heartwood Senior Living complex in our lives. Our hearts are brimming over with gratitude and love for each and every one of them.
 
PS – I just have to share the simple, delectable dessert my sister came up with for the day.  She cut watermelon, minus the rind, in circles about 2” thick and 3” in diameter (similar to the size of a hamburger patty), drizzled Hershey’s dark chocolate ice cream topping over the melon, added a dollop of Cool Whip and finished dressing it with some chocolate sprinkles.  DOUBLE YUM!!  What a light dessert to finish any summer meal … try it, I guarantee you’ll love it!!!

 


 

Listen With The Ear Of Your Heart

God knows what pains us and what brings us pleasure. He has access to our deepest longings for significance. He observes our desire to be noticed, accepted, validated and loved.

But often God uses people to hear the cries of other people and respond with sincere love and care, to reach out and hearten another soul. If we will only learn to pay attention, to live alert. We can purpose to listen between the spoken words to understand what others are really feeling — and what they are trying to say. We reflect the love of Jesus as we seek to hear the heart-cries of another.

May we become skilled at tuning our ears to the heart-drops of those around us and then responding with a thoughtful gesture. It doesn’t have to be an elaborate gift. It can be a kindly spoken word. A handwritten note. A loving text or encouraging comment left on social media. A shared heart over a cup of coffee. A brief moment where we put ourselves to the side for a moment to pause. To notice. To respond. To echo God’s heart toward them.

Hearing a heart-drop is an art we must lovingly cultivate. It can lead to the most wonderful times of encouragement as we make it our habit to listen and to love.

(Proverbs 31 Ministries, March 13, 2017)

 


 

Sharing a couple of heart-full comments we received this month.

Pastor Pete from Arizona writes:

Blessings my friend! It was so nice to speak to you last week. I just got around to writing a check for $100 to Cross The World for 250 crosses. I have had a few of these in the past and given them out to my patients who are terminally ill. As a hospice chaplain, I can tell you when I hand them their cross, they clutch it as something more precious than gold. We do not worship the cross but the One who went to the cross for us. It is the message of the cross that has been conveyed to these sweet people and their families that they cling onto. It is the very hope and peace that Jesus brings. Thank you for your ministry and the hearts that are touched by each cross that is handed to someone special in the eyes of our Lord.
God bless you and yours!  Pastor Pete – AZ

And, from Beverly in Minnesota:

I had picked up a couple of your crosses in Oatman, AZ last year and a couple this year.  I gave some to friends and they were happily received so decided to have some on hand to put in cards, etc.  Thank you for this wonderful service.

Thank you, Pastor Pete and Beverly for writing us.  We love to hear, and share, your comments.  It makes Cross The World even more endearing to us and urges us to continue our ministry so more people can come to know God’s love, one cross at a time.

 


 

Our CTW family was VERY busy last month.  We welcomed new members and were happy to hear from the rest of the family too!!  Here’s who received our Pass-It-On crosses in April:

Patty – ND

Lighthouse of Faith Church – Memphis, MO

Cindy – TX

Nancy – MO

Immanuel Watson Parish – Boyd, MN

Avera Brady Health and Rehab – Mitchell, SD

Connie – MN

Beverly – MN

Brady – AK

New Hope Church – Kilauea, HI

Anointed Word Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Jane – KY

Geraldine – CA

Moore Ministry – St. Petersburg, FL

Birch Ridge Resort – Cass Lake, MN

Churches United – Bemidji, MN

Pastor Pete – AZ

First United Methodist Church of LaGrange – LaGrange, GA

Hilltop Chapel – Palisade, MN

Don – MN

Ron – MN

Carla – MN

 


 

 

Dear Heavenly Father,

With a sober heart, we come before You this Memorial Day.  We pause for a moment and call to mind all the men and women who have died in the service of our nation since 1776.

Dear God, please look with mercy on our brave and selfless sisters and brothers, who did not shirk from their task but gave themselves to the cause of defending and protecting us all.  Bless all who have given their lives for the sake of liberty, and grant them eternal rest with You.

We remember also our brave men and women now serving in our Armed Forces, both at home and abroad.  Dear God, send out your angels to protect them all.  Help them discharge their duties honorably and well.  Please bring them home safely to their families and loved ones.  Please bring your peace and mercy to our troubled world.

We ask this, Father, in the name of Jesus, Your Son.

Amen

 
 
 

Even when we cannot see the why and wherefore of God’s dealings,we know that there is love in and behind them, and so we can rejoice always.

– J.I. Packer

 


 

We’ve received so much feedback from our family this month that we just had to share the good news!!

Crosses were sent to our sister Kay in Monticello, MN who prepared them for their final destination in Guatemala through the HELPS International program.  Here’s what she had to say when they arrived:

God bless you and your ministry today and always!  To begin the Sabbath day, the Lord led my roommate to see a box sitting on the front step.  Here it was the box you sent full of your beautiful crosses.  Praises went heavenward for His goodness and mercy.  I dressed and went to church.  I was so thrilled to announce to the congregation that the crosses had arrived by angel express on a Sunday morning!!  God is so good and never late!

 I was able to set up a Monday morning appointment with the fellow who will hang the crosses on wire throughout my garage. He will spray them with a clear coat sealer.  On Friday, I am having 24 men, women and kids come to my house to make the necklaces for Guatemala.  On the next Monday, those necklaces will be packed with the medical equipment we will use on our mission trip (HELPS International).  It takes many days to pack the crosses and quilts along with the equipment into equipment bags.  Thank you, Jesus, for the timely arrival of the crosses. What a great and awesome God we serve!  Thank you again for answering the call to provide those beautiful wooden crosses.  I look forward to meeting you one day in heaven and seeing the harvest of folks who were able to know the Way, the Truth and the Life because of your ministry.

 Kay also shared some photos of the work in progress, along with an additional note:

The group of 24 adults and children came to my house and created 300 cross necklaces in less than 3 hours.  Amazing!  I leave for Guatemala on March 17th and return on March 29th.  I will be with a “HELPS INTERNATIONAL” group of doctors and nurses.  We do over 150 operations that improve the lives of those involved.  Most of the group is from the St. Cloud, MN area.  This will be my 5th year of going.  What a blessing to be a blessing.  I will send you a report when I return.  God bless you and your Cross the World ministries. 

 

 

 

 

And, here’s a photo of the HELPS medical crew in Guatemala and a recap of their mission:

Our HELPS team had a very productive and successful week in Huehuetanago.  It is so amazing to be part of a wonderful group of dedicated people who gave of themselves and their expertise to make life better for so many deserving people.  We just completed 8 days of doing what we were each called to do—be the Lord’s hands and feet.  Over 100 surgical procedures were performed by skilled doctors and cared for by loving & caring nurses and helpers.  Thank yous given to the following:  all who came and gave of themselves in so many ways; to the men who came and installed stoves to make life safer and more productive for over 100 homes; to the expert cooks and their caring helpers for the delicious food; and to the many knowledgeable interpreters  who made it possible for us to communicate with the people of Guatemala.  Without all these wonderful people who gave of their time and talents, we never could have accomplished all we did this past week.  God bless you one and all.

 

Thank you, Kay, for sharing your journey with us.

 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

A beautiful note was received from Bill and Mary of Oakdale, MN.   Here’s what they had to say:

Thank you for your dedication to continue Harlow’s dream.  It is evident each of you also share his desire within your own heart as seen by your commitment to continue to tell the world of our Savior’s love.  My husband and I received five crosses (one for each of our family members) from a man who works in a prison in the TC area (possibly as a probation officer).  He was attending the “God Is Not Dead” film in the same theater that we were viewing it.  At the end of the movie, he had a bag filled with crosses that he was offering to anyone who wished to take one or more.  He was open to answering questions or listening to people’s stories also.

We have not forgotten this man, but sadly we lost his number due to a phone changeover, and we never had the opportunity to connect with him again as we had intended to do later.  We know this sounds like an unusual request, really more like asking for a miracle, but if by chance you know this man, you are welcome to forward our information to him, so maybe we can reconnect.  Your ministry has been known to experience miracles!

The words attached to ‘your’ cross hold great promises which we have claimed over the years, especially after the death of our youngest son at seventeen.  We believe in its power and would like to make a donation to cover 100 crosses for others who may not have the funds to financially cover their order.  We pray that Harlow’s/your ministry continues to change hearts and lives by opening blinds eyes to the gift of Christ’s salvation, as well as encouraging believers to look to God’s constant provisions to us here and for eternity.

And, God provided the miracle!!  We remember well the gentleman Mary talked about and we remember his excitement about handing out our crosses not only at the ‘God Is Not Dead’ movie but also at a Newsboyz concert in the Bemidji, MN area.   We forwarded her note to him and his address to her; hopefully, a successful connection will be made!

 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

Kari from Sartell, MN was one of the missionaries who journeyed with others from The Waters Church in Sartell to LaLibertad, El Salvador.  She shared these thoughts and photos:

The crosses blessed children at an orphanage, a women’s center, a children’s cancer center and multiple local churches, along with the local people. The crosses brought immediate joy and opportunities to just love God’s children. Thank you, CTW, for the generous gift that is felt around the world!

 

 

 

 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 

And, this from our sister Susan in Bullhead City, AZ:  She shared news about Buddy, the miner, who worships and winters in the AZ area (when he’s not in Alaska mining!).  Buddy is responsible for placing our crosses on the ‘Welcome to Oatman’ city sign and this is the note sent to ‘The Giver of Little Crosses, c/o Oatman NV Post Office, Oatman, NV’:

 Dear Giver of the Crosses:

 We drove through your rustic, inviting town in October as we traveled west on Route 66.  (It was one of the most beautiful, restful drives we’ve ever taken!).  As we entered Oatman, I happily noticed your gift crosses on their signboard.  It brought me joy to realize that at least one other fellow believer was quietly spreading truth and hope in your town.

 Several times since our trip, I’ve reflected on your giving heart that’s making a small but significant statement for the Gospel of Jesus.  You are a wonderful example of making the most of every opportunity.

 I look forward to meeting you one day!

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

WOW!!  What more can I say other than

 


 

And, our family continued to grow in March.  Thank you to everyone for sharing God’s love through the cross:

Don – MN

Joplin Family Worship Center – Joplin, MO

Sandra – MN

Mt. Olive Lutheran Cursillo Community Parish – Lake Havasu City, AZ

Kay – MN

Kristy – TX

Avera Health – Sioux Falls, SD

Bob & Pam – WA

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Phyllis – MN

God’s Country Cooperative Parish – Newberry, MI

Center of Hope – Sioux Falls, SD

Lighthouse of Faith Church – Memphis, MO

First United Methodist of LaGrange – LaGrange, GA

Dennis – IN for LAMP

 


 

TREE OF LIFE

The wood from this tree would splinter the hearts of men,

would cast a shadow of doubt over those who thought,

up ‘til now,

that the road to heaven was won by their own ‘good works’!

But, now, on this tree, hung the very Life, the Truth, the Way …

the only way to Heaven’s gate.

In awe, they gazed, amazed at Him.

He who gave His very life upon that tree …

for you … for me.

Sharon Lee Roberts

 

And here is the rest of the story ….

When we started to promote our Christian ministry and Harlow’s dream in 2011,  we decided a cross would be the most meaningful handout … a replica of the real instrument of death that brought life to so many of us.  But, we needed something else, some written message that would further touch people’s hearts, words that would help them understand just exactly what their Savior did for them.  And, then, one day in answer to our prayers, God provided!

Seemingly, out of nowhere (which we Christians know just doesn’t happen), we came across a verse that seemed to say it all … without confusion … without prejudice.  It talked directly to our hearts and we knew it would talk directly to others who read it as well; it was the perfect complement to our crosses.  So, we included this verse on a message tag that we attach to each of our small wooden crosses.  But, we always wondered where that beautiful verse came from and who God had inspired to write it.

Last month, He quietly spoke again when we received this testimony:

How often do we born again Christians wish we could do something great for God?    Then, we think, ‘What can ONE PERSON do?‘  Just like Esther, you have been born for such a time as this!  All you need to do is to present yourself as a living sacrifice.  If you are willing and obedient, nothing is impossible with God.
I’m going to share an amazing testimony about how God used a young woman in Texas and a dying man in Minnesota to spread the gospel around the world.
My daughter, Holly, has been blessed by God with the ability to write encouraging and inspiring poems, articles and songs.  About 20 years ago, while living in Dallas, she worked for Argus Publishing Company.  They had been in business for 40 years and were well known for providing schools and churches with inspirational posters, cards, stationery, T-shirts, etc.  Nearly everything God inspired her to write, the company published.  Then, Argus was sold to another publishing company and Holly went to work elsewhere.  Later, she married a wonderful Christian man and they have two beautiful daughters.  Holly settled into being a stay at home mom.
About two years ago, while in a Christian bookstore in Dallas, she was surprised to see one of the verses God had inspired her to write when she worked for Argus Publishing.  Once again, it was being printed on cards, mugs, T-shirts, etc.  She was both shocked and humbled to see the verse God gave her resurrected after 20 years.
Recently, she came across a non-profit ministry that was birthed 5 years ago.  It was the dream of a dying Christian man to do something else significant before he died.  He, too, thought ‘What can ONE MAN do?’  At his passing 5 years ago, his friends birthed his vision … the ministry is called CROSS THE WORLD.  His dream was to make small wooden crosses to be sent around the world as a witness and a testimony to lead as many as possible to Jesus.
Somehow, they found the verse that Holly had written over 20 years ago … the same one she had seen in the Christian bookstore in Dallas.  The man who is making the crosses said, ‘We don’t know where we found it but we just fell in love with it.’  So, they attach Holly’s verse on every cross that is sent out.  So far, they have distributed over 170,000 around the world!!
God inspired two people at different times and places and they both obeyed.  With God, nothing is impossible!  The great thing is that God alone receives all the glory!  The man in Minnesota has been with the Lord for 5 years; his friend, Ernie, makes the crosses as a labor of love.  Cross The World asks for $15 for postage to ship 100 crosses, and, of course, Holly does not receive any remuneration.  You see, this was God’s idea and ALL the glory goes to Him!
What would God have you do?  What talents has He freely given you?  You were born for such a time as this!  EXPECT A MIRACLE!!

 

This testimony was submitted by Holly’s mom, Nancy, from Missouri.  Thanks, Nancy, for letting us know about your daughter’s inspirational talents!  We couldn’t be more thrilled to finally learn of the author and we thank Holly for answering God’s call with her writing. Many, many blessings to her!!   Together, we have touched more lives than we will ever know!

 

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.

Proverbs 16:9

 


 

We love our CTW family so much!!!  You are the vehicle for gracing others with God’s love through our small crosses.  Thank you to these sisters and brothers who walked with us during the month of February:

Kay – MN for HELPS mission in Guatamela

First Baptist Church – Bemidji, MN for Central MN Adult & Teen Challenge

Salem Lutheran Church – Deerwood, MN

Nancy – MO

Joan – MN

Brian – TX

Jeffrey – MN

Bill’s Sportsmans Service – Aitkin, MN

Oak Bank United Church – Oak Bank, Manitoba Canada

Shirley – MN

Lakeview Covenant Church  – Duluth, MN

 


 

We must not, in trying to think about how we can make a big difference, ignore the small daily differences we can make which, over time, add up to big differences that we often cannot foresee.

– Marian Wright Edelman

 

Happy Valentines Day!

It was just a harmless prank, that’s all it was.  And it wasn’t as if Old Lady Hayes didn’t deserve it, the way she used to scream at us for ‘borrowing’ a few of her precious raspberries each summer … like we were stealing gold out of Ft. Knox.  Well, she had it coming.

At least, that’s the way we saw it as George finished tying the string to the red, heart-shaped box.  We giggled as Ron added the final touch:  two plastic red roses, glued to the lid.  ‘I wonder what will surprise her most’, I asked as George practiced jerking the box out of reach by yanking on the string.  ‘Seeing a box of candy on her step, or watching it fly away when she tries to pick it up?’

We laughed as we watched George make Albert chase the box around the garage.  For a chubby 10 year old, Albert did a good imitation of Mrs. Hayes’ hunched hobble and her seemingly permanent scowl.  And, we howled when he picked up a broom and pretended to ride it through the midwinter air while shouting, ‘I’m Old Lady Hayes, the driedest-up old prune in the West!’

Ron was first to notice my dad in the doorway.  Within seconds, Ron’s anxiety was shared by all but Albert, who continued to swoop around the garage until he came face-to-belt buckle with our silent observer.  For a moment, the only movement in the room came from the little puffs of steam escaping our mouths.  Dad broke the stillness by walking slowly to the empty candy box lying on the floor.  He picked it up and dangled it by the string, watching it swing back and forth.  Then he looked into the eyes of the frightened boys.  And, as was his custom, he looked into our hearts as well.

‘It doesn’t seem so long ago that I was pulling Valentine’s Day pranks’, he said as he laid the box on a workbench.  ‘One year, my cousins and I decided to pull one on our Grandma Walker even though we loved her … she was the sweetest grandma a boy could have.  We were just feeling devilish and decided to have some fun at her expense.’

‘Early in the evening we snuck up to her doorstep with a can of red paint.  Grandma was hard of hearing, so we didn’t have to worry about being very quiet.  Which was a good thing, because every time we thought about how funny it was going to be to see Grandma try to pick up a valentine that was just painted on her doorstep, we couldn’t keep from laughing.’

‘It didn’t take long, and it wasn’t very artistic.  But for an old woman with bad eyes, it would do.  We kicked the door and hid behind the bushes.  When Grandma finally appeared she stood in the doorway, her grey hair pulled back tightly in her usual bun, wiping her hands on her usual apron.  She must have heard the commotion in the bushes because she looked in our direction and spoke loudly enough for us to hear:  “Who could be knocking at my door?”  Then she looked down.  Even from 15 feet away, we could see the joy in her eyes when she spotted a splash of red at her feet.  “A valentine for Grandma!” she exclaimed.  “And I thought I’d be forgotten again this year!”

‘She tried to retrieve her prize.  This was the moment we had been waiting for, but somehow it wasn’t as much fun as we expected.  Grandma groped at the fresh paint for a moment.  Slowly, she figured out our prank.  She tried to smile.  Then, with as much dignity as she could muster, she turned and walked back into her house, absently wiping red paint on her clean, white apron.’

Dad paused, and for the first time I noticed that his eyes were moist.  He took a deep breath.  ‘Grandma died later that year and I never had another change to give her a real valentine.’

He took the box from the bench and handed it to me.  Then he turned and left the garage.

Later that night, a red heart-shaped box with two plastic roses on it was placed on Mrs. Hayes’ front doorstep by six giggling boys.  We hid behind snow covered bushes to see how she would react to receiving a full pound of candy and nuts … with no strings attached.
 

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

 
Last month, our crosses were carried through missionaries from Messiah Lutheran Church of Lakeville, MN to the cities of Yangon, Myitkyina and Putao in Burma as well as Miao in India.  The mission trip was the 7th trip to Asia for the Project Video (PV) team, sponsored by mission-minded Messiah in 8 years.

We have featured Project Video before and you will remember that their mission is to proclaim the gospel through video throughout Asia.  What a wonderful mission!  Producing God’s word in the native tongue and presenting it to people who may not know how to read or write their language, who may never have heard the gospel before, who may not know anything about God.  Imagine the impact!

While there, they brought recording and projection equipment to the Yangon and Myitkyina studios as well as dedicated two new Gospel Vision Ministry (GVM) studios:  one in Putao located in the northern most region of Burma, targeting the Rawang and Lisu languages; the other studio (the first in India!) in Miao, located on land owned by the Lisu Church of Christ in Arunachal Pradesh, the largest state in NE India and where more than 135 languages are spoken in the district.

Glory to God and blessings to the Messiah mission team!  They sent photos to share:
 
 
burma-4
 
burma-3
 
burma-2
 
burma-1
 
burma-5
 

Rejoice in His goodness!!

 

 ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 
Father God:

We are reminded of Your wants for us and how, sometimes, we fight against Your will because we think we know better, or maybe, because we’re afraid of the outcome.  We forget that You hold the keys.  You have the master plan already laid out.  You walk with us at all times, involved in each and every decision we make.  You are our Creator, our Architect, our Leader, our Magnificent One.  We are mere shadows in Your presence.

You honor a generous heart and one that gives freely. Please help all of us to learn to give more and demand less.  Give us the tools to do more letting go and less holding on.  Please teach us to yield to Your sweet spirit of generosity.  Take the reins from our hands and teach us to rest in that release.

We thank You for Your unending love for us all. Amen

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 
Easter season is fast approaching and we want to provide crosses for all those who would like to share them with others during this season.  We ask that you put your requests in as early as possible so we are able to accommodate you.  Thanks!
 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

We acknowledge and thank our CTW family members from January for sharing God’s love with others:

Messiah Lutheran Church – Lakeville, MN

Hope Lutheran Church – Fosston, MN

Birch Ridge Resort – Cass Lake, MN

Good Samaritan Society – Pipestone, MN

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Nancy – MO

Lutheran Home of the Good Shepherd – New Rockford, ND

 

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

 

You wanted someone who’d listen to your most impossible thoughts …
I invented prayer

You wanted someone who’d write you sweet letters …
I gave you the Bible

You wanted someone who’d show you a simple magic trick …
I made miracles

You wanted someone who’d show you what life is all about …
I let you feel love

You wanted someone who was handsome …
I poured out my heart

You wanted someone who’d give up other things just to be with you …
I gave up my life

You wanted someone who’d take you places …
I invited you to Heaven

You wanted someone who’d be your forever …
I promised you eternal life

Happy Valentines Day, with all my love,
God

 
 
girls-want-a-guy

Grab That Fly Swatter!!

Have you ever considered the fly?  It’s such a small little thing and yet it can be so annoying.  Think about how a fly buzzes around.  Have you ever sat, trying to relax and read a book while there is a fly in the house?  Of all the places to land, why does it have to land on you … right on your hand?

You swish it away so it moves … to your leg.  You swish several more times; it flies off, only to return, this time to your ear.  Again, you swish at it and it takes off, buzzing around the room checking out the curtains and windows and you begin to think you’re free.  You settle into your book and then, bzzz, bzzz, there it is, focusing on your nose.

That fly keeps pestering you over and over; you keep swishing it with your hand, but it always comes back to land on you.  You know that it will never go away just swishing at it and you finally give up, leaving the comfort of your chair to get the swatter.  You have to have the right tool to take care of that flying pest and you have to actively pursue it to rid yourself of it.  There it is … SWAT!  Finally!!

Take a minute to reflect on the fly that landed on you.  Think about all the places that fly might have been before it came to visit you.  Perhaps it was on that dead raccoon you passed along the road or in the smelly garbage can you opened this morning.  Maybe it spent the morning buzzing on the backs of the pigs and cows in your neighbor’s pasture?  These are not pleasant thoughts, are they??

But, just like the fly, a bad unspiritual habit can come buzzing into our lives …  a bad habit such as anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication and lies.  We know it’s there and it keeps landing on us, but somehow, we find ourselves just swishing at it and never really taking care of the problem.  The only way to get rid of these bad habits is to get up and get the right tool.  And, our best tool is the Word of God.  It is the best swatter for bad habits that you’ll ever find.  In fact, God’s Word is much better than a fly swatter … it acts like a heat seeking missile!

So, in this new year, why don’t we take a good look at our lives and consider everything we do, say and think.  Let’s reveal what those unhealthy habits are.  Let’s grab the right tool and actively pursue them.  Ask yourself, ‘What are the things I need to swat?  Are these my old bad habits showing up, like that pesky fly, or is this truly what God would want me to do?’

Keep in mind, these unhealthy habits are the things that keep us from honoring God.  He helps us by giving us some things to replace old habits.  Let’s use them.

              Bowls of mercies

              Kindness

              Humility

              Meekness

              Forgiveness, Patience and Compassion of and for one another

              Charity

              Peace of God

              Thankfulness

              Spiritual Singing

 


 

God grant me the serenity
to accept the things I cannot change;
the courage to change the things I can;
and the wisdom to know the difference.

Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His will;
That I may be reasonably happy in this life
and supremely happy with Him forever in the next.

 


 

Last month, we shared news about the mission trip Immanuel Lutheran Church in Crosby, MN went on to Malawi, Africa.  They visited the orphans they sponsor through the Malawi Orphan Care Project and, among other things, celebrated God’s love with them by handing out crosses.

Immanuel shared some photos of the cross presentation with us, with this note:  ‘When anything is given to the children, it is presented in almost a ceremony manner. It was so cool to be the one to present these crosses to these children.  Thank you for what you do!’

The children’s faces tell it all … BELIEVE IN HIS MIRACLES AND REJOICE IN HIS GOODNESS!

 

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December was a very busy month for all of us.  We wanted to share this message we received and also thank these CTW family members for helping to spread God’s love to others.

‘These are so inspiring. Our church gave them out about a year ago. Now I want to order for myself to give to my friends for them to pass on to others inspiring them to know Christ and get nearer to him. Thanks for the wonderful job you do in spreading the word about our Savior. Bless and thanks to all of the volunteers for their beautiful craftsmanship and dedication to the symbols of our religious roots.’  Gloria

              Good Samaritan Society – International Falls, MN

              Messiah Lutheran Church – Lakeville, MN for mission trip to Burma

              Holly – WA

              Stella – OR

              Don – MN

              Messiah Lutheran Church – Mountain Iron, MN

              First Baptist Church – Bemidji, MN

 


 

God specializes in things fresh and firsthand. 

His plans for you this year may outshine those of the past …

He’s preparing to fill your days with reasons to give Him praise.

 – Joni Eareckson Tada

 

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Many Miles Traveled

When we started up the Cross The World woodshop in 2011, our goal was to make and distribute crosses to 340,000 people (at that time, 340,000 represented the daily worldwide birthrate).  We hoped (and continue to hope) that our efforts would introduce or reunite 1% of the 340,000 to God, so they could know His love, feel His presence and come to believe in Him.

And, because of you, the wonderful disciples of our CTW family, 2016 has been a monumental year for us; two terrific events happened.  Over 35,000 of these compact little crosses were given away and, more amazing, the number of crosses distributed since we began reached 170,000!  Hallelujahwe’re halfway to our goal!!!   We are very excited to see how God has blessed our family members and the recipients of the cross.  While we have a record of where our crosses have been sent or delivered, we will never know just how many miles they will ultimately travel in their life.  We know our crosses were recently sent to Argentina and Malawi, Africa and that they will be traveling to Burma next month but, again, we can only imagine how many miles their journey will see.

I wondered how many miles we could come up with given the information we did have.  So, I started calculating the mileage these crosses would accumulate enmass as they begin their journey here in our woodshop.  To date, we’ve created 170,000 crosses, each one being born from a 6.5” piece of wood.  Calculating (and if my math is wrong, don’t flog me as I am NOT a mathematician AND I will gladly accept the correct calculations!), these 170,000 crosses equal an impressive distance of 17.5 miles.  And, that’s before they’re shipped to you to begin the second chapter of their incredible life … WOW!

Since 2011, we have shared awesome testimonials about the impact these pocket crosses have had on people’s lives; all of us at Cross The World are so blessed to play such a teeny tiny role in God’s big plan.  We know our crosses have traveled many, many miles in their search to comfort hurting souls.  As Ernie and I drive to our neighboring town (which is almost exactly 17.5 miles from our house), I imagine a line of our little wooden crosses, laying end to end like Christian soldiers, along the side of the road, waiting to be picked up and placed in the eager hands of people hungry for God’s love.  We encourage you to imagine the crosses lining the shoulder of the road you’re traveling on … and, although shorter, to think about the distance Jesus struggled to carry His cross to Golgotha, His last act of love for us and how hungry we are for Him.  Both images will be a humbling experience.

 


 

Recently, Immanuel Lutheran Church in neighboring Crosby requested some crosses to be taken on a mission trip to Malawi, Africa.  This church has supported the Malawi Orphan Care Project, which is an organization that helps to support the Kanyenyeva Orphan Care Ministry of Malawi, for many years.   This ministry currently helps to feed over 300 orphans in 19 villages, orphans due to losing one or both parents usually to AIDS or malaria.

Immanuel Lutheran Church has answered the call for support by hosting fundraisers, silent auctions, etc. every year.  This summer, in one fundraiser, they were able to raise $35,000 through their efforts.  What a blessing to give to the orphans at the Care Ministry and what a dedication to serving our Lord!

Here’s what they had to say about their visit there:

‘490 crosses were delivered this past week to Malawi, Africa.  The children were so pleased to each receive one.  We are one of 6 churches around the country who support these children.  We have helped build wells for them and also helped to start their chicken business to sell eggs in the village.  Many from Immanuel have been there to do the labor.  Two gals are coming back this week from sharing in our sponsored “daughter’s”, Stella, graduation which a bunch from Immanuel paid for her schooling.  She is coming back to the village to help with the HIV/AIDS epidemic that makes so many orphans.  We love these happy children who have so little.  Thank you for helping!’

For more information about Malawi Orphan Care Project, please visit www.malawiorphancareproject.org.

 


 

In November, our CTW family was busy!  Here’s where our crosses traveled:

Aurdal Lutheran Church – Portland, ND

Hope Lutheran Church – Fargo, ND

Community Lutheran Church – Bullhead City, AZ

Immanuel Lutheran Church – Walker, MN

Immanuel Lutheran Church – Crosby, MN for mission work in Malawi, Africa

Darlene – MN

Cindy – TX

My Father’s House – Minneapolis, MN

We thank you for your service to our Lord!

 


 

And, here are testimonials from some of our family members:

Thank you for all the crosses.  I enjoy doing this mission of keeping God’s love visible one cross at a time!  God’s blessings and my hugs.  Darlene, MN

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I need to share the blessing from your obedience as servants doing God’s work.  We have one more bible study left for the fall quarter.  Each woman in our table group received a cross at their spot today.  They were very appreciative.  I had taken some extra and told them to feel free to take more and the box is almost empty.  Just as the tomb was empty HE is not here, just as HE said.  HE is being spread right from here to whomever GOD chooses.  It is so exciting.  Thank you for your love.  In Christ, Pam, WA

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Several months ago, I purchased 700 crosses from your company.  I thought I would let you know where they are going.  I am one of the youth leaders at Community Lutheran Church here in Las Vegas.  Our youth group has been doing a lot of community outreach.  We have a huge number of homeless people here.  Our kids came up with the “Matthew Kits” idea (based on the scripture verse Matthew 25:35-40) and it has been well received by our church.  These bags are filled with hygiene products, snacks, a bottle of water, list of services available and maybe a new pair of socks or a new T-shirt.  They are handed out to anyone that needs some help.  Our congregants welcomed this option because some of them were not comfortable just handing out money.  Each bag has one of your crosses in it.  Blessings.  Nelly, Community Lutheran Church in Las Vegas, NV 

(JoAn’s note:  These kits are made available to the congregants to put in their cars; the congregants are asked to pass them out to anyone they see in need.  So far, over 3600 Matthew Kits have been passed out.  What a successful and loving venture in God’s name.  You are to be congratulated!  Thank you!!!)

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The ember story…. I have always had a strong faith….but now I KNOW I don’t want to be that lone ember. I am so blessed that I received your cross and card today. That is a true miracle from Him, I am in recovery from several issues and every single thing I read in your site had to be put there by Him to be found by me today to save me just like I have been praying for, especially last night!!!!! I DO believe I WAS drowning! Melanie

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A lady at my church gave me the cross and told the story and we knew right away we would like to share the crosses with those who attend my daughter’s wedding in April, 2017.  We weren’t going to give out gifts at the wedding, but when we saw the crosses, we knew in our hearts we would be remiss if we didn’t.  Their wedding is to glorify God and it is one week before Easter.  Thank you for all you do.  We feel so blessed. Holly, WA

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Lord,

Make me an instrument of your peace.

 Where there is hatred, let me sow love. 

Where there is injury, pardon.

Where there is doubt, faith.

Where there is despair, hope.

Where there is darkness, light.

And where there is sadness, joy.

 

This Christmas may you experience the simplicity, peace and genuine joy only Christ brings.

Merry Christmas from all of us at Cross The World.

 

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