On File

The Cross Maker


In 2008, I made a pastoral visit to a patient in a nursing home. She had suffered a nasty fall in the woods while walking her dog.

As I ministered to her, I noticed a small wooden cross on the night table beside her bed. Engraved on the back of the cross was a notch. She said it was there to accommodate her thumbprint. Placing her thumb in the notch made it easier for her to hold the cross during prayer time.

At that moment, I thought, I could make these crosses. I asked her if I could take a pencil and paper and trace her cross. I wanted to duplicate it in my home workshop.

Today, I’ve made and given away nearly 800 small crosses. I make them from all shades, types, and colors of wood. I get the wood from people I know. I ask them to give me scraps of wood from their home. It only takes a small piece of wood to make a cross.

During religious services, I sometimes place at the back of a church an easel displaying 100 or more crosses. I then insert markers in selected church bulletins, with an announcement inviting people with the marked bulletins to take a cross from the easel.

Other times, I hand the crosses to first–time visitors, or to people who I know need prayer for a particular need. I’ll also leave the crosses at the bedsides of hospital patients, or leave them as gifts in homes. I’ve given them to Sunday school children along with just one instruction: “Show your new cross to your parents, friends, and neighbors, and say, ‘Look what I got in Sunday school today. This cross means God loves me, and He loves you too.’”

I’ve seen my crosses in all sorts of places. I’ve seen them on walls, hanging from rearview mirrors in cars or in golf carts, on nightstands, dashboards, and in the hands of people on their way to surgery.

Cross making is a hobby and an important part of my ministry. When I hand someone a cross, I also tell him or her about the Cross of Christ and the love He showed all of us as He died on it. I pray everyone who has received my crosses will be reminded that God loves them. Hopefully, they will give their hearts to our Lord Jesus Christ, who made the ultimate sacrifice to save us from sin.

by Major Lloyd Stoops

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