Ministry bears crosses along highway in honor of Good Friday

CARDWELL, MO (KAIT) - Crosses lined Highway 412 from Cardwell to Kennett in honor of Good Friday.

Shepherd's Fold members held the handmade crosses along the highway from 6 a.m. to noon.

These men come to Shepherd's Fold with their own "crosses," struggling with addictions and trying to find hope. The Christian-based ministry helps them overcome addiction and restore that hope.

Now these men want to share it with others. 

"Every car that passes by and sees the cross, it reminds them of why Jesus died for their sins, who he is and what Good Friday and Easter are all about," Shepherd's Fold member Tony Poyner said.

Poyner and his fellow Shepherd's Fold members stood along Highway 412 with signs, smiles and waves. They received the same in return. 

"We've had people stop and thank us for what we're doing," Poyner said. "A lot of 'Woos!' and all that good stuff."

Poyner wanted to carry the cross for others today because Shepherd's Fold did the same for him. 

"I've been using crystal meth, marijuana, and Xanax for the past ten years so it was a really long, negative road for me," Poyner said. "When I came to Shepherd's Fold on one Friday night, I felt moved to come and kneel at the altar. When I did, I said, 'Jesus if you're there, take all of this from me.' And he did."

That was Friday, Dec. 27. Now four months later, Good Friday, Poyner is clean. 

"It was like a huge weight was lifted off my shoulders so I don't want to go back to that," Poyner said. "I don't want to do anything now but work for Him."

This was also a change in Poyner. He said he has never been much of a spiritual person. 

"I'd been raised in church as a little boy, but once I got old enough to make my own decisions, I kind of shied away from that," Poyner said.

But now, faith is the focus of Poyner's life.

"Jesus really turned me around," Poyner said. "He delivered me from my addictions."

"It's just awesome to see these guys come in broken and they just lift it up with Jesus," Shepherd's Fold overseer David Yates said. "It's an amazing experience. These guys finally know what it's like to feel real love. It's something I live for."

Before David Yates was working for Shepherd's Fold, he was recovering there like Poyner.

"When I first came, I was ready to do my time and get out," Yates said. "In about three months, Shepherd's Fold was the first place I heard God speak to me and that was a life changing moment for me."

Yates and Poyner said this is Shepherd's Fold's mission: granting salvation to men with addictions.

"I wouldn't change it for anything in the world," Poyner said. "Salvation is a wonderful thing. It's freedom."

This is the first time Shepherd's Fold participated in "Carry the Cross." Yates said they hope to make it an annual event.

If anyone would like to learn more about the ministry, visit the Shepherd's Fold Facebook page.

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