When asked why he carries a 35-pound, cedar cross on a hot day, Dave Edliwine stopped for a second and answered, "There's only one real reason, to get the message of God's salvation and Jesus' sacrifice out there among the people."
For several years now, members of Heartland Church, Sharpesville, Ind., have signed up to participate in "Cross Carriers for Christ" road trips to bring public awareness about faith.
"Volunteers take turns walking a mile for seven days until we get to our destination," Dr. William D. Salsbery told The Brazil Times at a rest stop near the intersection of United States Highway 40 and Harmony Road/County Road 100 East. "We receive a lot of encouragement along the way. People wave, honk horns, shared water and food and some have even turned around a come back to talk with us about how important it was in their lives to see the cross."
This year's batch of cross carriers includes Salsbery, Donnie Mahaney, Gregory Smith, Ron Hussong, Vern Imhoff, Rhonda Bowman and Dave Edliwine. Their goal is to reach Richmond. Ind. It will be a hot journey of more than 160 miles along US 40.
The group admits it is a spiritual and a personal journey.
"We get to know each other really well," Hussong said.
"Jesus died on the cross to give us so much," Imhoff said. "This is something I can do to give back."
Sometimes people want to financially help the group, however, they are not looking for donations.
"We are not looking to collect donations on this journey. This is about bringing awareness to the public. Creating that moment when people stop and think about their relationship with God. We tell people we don't take money, but people insist sometimes making a donation," Salsbery said. "We will take the donation and pass it along to a good cause or charity."
While passing through Clay County, according to Salsbery, the group made a donation to The House of Hope.
"This is a small way to carry the message of hope to people during troubled times," he said.
To learn more about Heartland Church or share your thoughts about seeing the Cross Carriers for Christ, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.