More than 20 years after the death of Bernard Coffindaffer, the town of Florence, Mississippi built a cross that towers 10 stories in the air because of Coffindaffer’s passion and determination.
Coffindaffer reportedly said the Holy Spirit gave him a simple message while he was recovering from heart surgery in the early 1980s.
“He wants you to put up crosses," Coffindaffer, who was from West Virginia, said. “I am a country boy, unknown to anybody, chosen to head a major, major operation.”
Over the next decade, Coffindaffer organized a team of volunteers to go around the country and construct massive crosses. He and his team reportedly erected more than 5,500 crosses in 29 states before his death in 1993.
Coffindaffer said he spent his life savings to build the "crosses of mercy."
“In all of creation, I have put up more crosses than any man,” he said. “I’ve cashed in my life insurance… I cashed in my retirement plan. I cashed in everything I could cash.”
After his death, Sara Abraham, the founder of Crosses Across America, said God spoke to her when stumbled across Coffindaffer's obituary.
“One day, as I was doing a daily devotional, it fell out of my Bible and as I reached down to pick it up, the Lord inspired me that I was to continue his crosses,” she said.
Crosses Across America, a nonprofit dedicated to building crosses in the U.S., now has around 1,400 volunteers to continue Coffindaffer’s work.
After the group failed to convince Florence city officials to dedicate the cross, restaurant owner Caroll Berry said Coffindaffer’s mission inspired him to donate the land and help finance the construction of a 110-foot cross near Berry’s Seafood.
“He had millions and spent down to his last dollar before he went on to be with the Lord,” Berry said of Coffindaffer during the cross’s dedication ceremony. “People call me crazy, but that’s fine.”
Sources: IJ Review
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