Saturday, January 21, 2017

A Man with a Cross

It was a routine day, a routine trip to Temuka and Geraldine, one I’ve done dozens of times. It’s normally a boring drive but just past Rangitata I saw a man trudging along the roadside, pulling a cross that rested on his shoulder. I whizzed past, processing the sight, thinking he must have a story to tell. Two kilometres down the road I decided I wanted to hear what it was. I turned around and went back to find him.

He was still walking, dragging the cross towards a bridge. “Hello,” I called from my car window.

“Hi, how are you?” he replied.

“Tell me about the cross,” I invited. He laid it down on the roadside and crossed over to chat through my car window. After a minute I invited him to sit in the car. Hopefully a man with a cross would not turn out to be an axe murderer.

Q: What’s your name?
A: Kim Rusden and my wife is Joan.

Q: What’s with the cross?
A: I’m walking around New Zealand with it. The North Island is done and parts of the South Island. I started at Puponga near Farewell Spit and then went to Seddon to encourage the people there after the earthquake. After that, I headed south in mid December to start walking up from Bluff.

Q: Why are you doing it?
A: My wife and I love people and believe this is the way God wants us to share His love with them.

Q: Do many people stop and ask you about the cross?
A: They do but not as many as I’d like. Often, I engage with people first and get a conversation going. I spent an hour with a guy yesterday who was a backslidden Christian. It’s all about sharing God with people.

Q: Who made the cross?
A: I did – I’m a carpenter. My wife accompanies me on the road and we carry a spare cross on top of our van. If they both got damaged, I could make another one in a day.

Q: Are you on the road all the time?
A: No, I walk with the cross during the school holidays. We travel with a van and caravan and often people let us stay on their land. My 14 year old son has been with us but flies home tomorrow to spend a week with his mates before school starts again.

Q: Have you experienced any problems on the road?
A: There are a lot of narrow bridges so we often put the cross in the van to cross these and then I start walking again.

Kim and Joan, may God bless you as you travel the South Island. We pray He will bring people across your path who will be touched by the story of your cross - and the cross that inspired it!

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