A cross to bear: Carrying a burden for othersAs thermometers crept toward 95 degrees on Monday, most people were praising their air conditioning. One man, however, was walking along Highway 64 in the beating sun.
As thermometers crept toward 95 degrees on Monday, most people were praising their air conditioning. One man, however, was walking along Highway 64 in the beating sun.
It was clear what he was worshipping. He was carrying a cross.
David Valderrana, of Tulsa, Okla., spent Monday, June 22, walking from Maple Grove, Minn. to New Richmond. Perched on his shoulder was a 10-foot long cross, created with four-inch post wood. A small wheel attached to the bottom prevented it from scraping on the ground.
“I love Jesus,” Valderrana explained as his reason for making the trek.
“Every day people everywhere are suffering from neglect, loneliness, rejection and abuse. This pain makes it difficult for them to love others. God wants us to be happy and enjoy life, while we seek to serve Him, but it is impossible without truly loving people. I read a sign one day that said, ‘Love as though you’ve never been hurt before.’ That is probably everyone’s desire. So the Lord put this in my heart to carry this cross, and share His love with the world,” Valderrana wrote on his Web site, bravegeneration.com.
Valderrana said he gave his life to Jesus on April 8, 2001.
“Immediately I began telling those in my family and people at grocery stores and gas stations about Jesus. For two years I went street-witnessing multiple times throughout each week. During the next two years I worked 40-50 hours per week, sometimes more, witnessing and serving my church and elsewhere on the side,” he wrote.
The idea to carry a cross came from his pastor after Valderrana spent 10 days fasting, praying and reading the Bible.
Since then, Valderrana has logged about 1,025 miles with the cross.
“I plan to continue until the Lord takes away my breath,” he said.
His first journey from September 2007 to August 2008 took him from Baltimore to St. Augustine, Fla. That was about 850 miles worth of walking.
The next trip took him from Baltimore to Philadelphia. Then another was from Hartsville, S.C. to Bishopville, S.C.; then another in Oklahoma.
Valderrana said he’s also been in Israel with the cross. This summer, he’ll be heading to South Korea to walk with the cross.
Valderrana and a few others have even established an evangelical church, New Life Fellowship, in South Carolina.
Although Valderrana was visibly sweating and was guzzling water on Monday, he didn’t complain about the heat.
“It’s better than in some places,” he said, smiling. “God is gracious to put a cloud in the sky from time to time, or a semi truck passes and blows a breeze.”
On Monday, about 20 people stopped along the road to chat, or offer a water bottle to Valderrana, he estimated. Others have offered him places to stay, food and money on his journeys, he said.
“I’ve met family and friends,” Valderrana said.
At about 5 p.m., one man from the area passing by on a motorcycle even took up the cross for a few miles. When asked why he stopped, he replied that Valderrana looked tired and was limping.
“My wife is never going to believe this,” said the man, who asked not to be named.
Valderrana said he was planning to stay with a new friend in Maple Grove on Tuesday night, then start walking west. He estimates he’ll be in the region until July 2.