Each day Steve Epp, 66, picks up the two beams forming a cross and walks down the road. He does not have time for retirement hobbies, sports or TV. Steve has a mission to tell others about God’s love. His mission began in 2015. At the time Epp had planned to start a new church in another community as he had done before with his wife Saundra.
Instead, Steve felt God leading him to carry a cross and walk across the country. With his wife’s agreement he bought a tiny travel trailer. They locked up their comfortable home in Oklahoma and headed down the road away from their five grown children and nine grandchildren to talk with folks about God’s love.
The Epps return home every three months. They could stop, sit down and stay there now that Steve is retirement age, but Steve feels compelled to walk along the road, talking with folks, praying with them and showing them the love of Christ. He is known as The Cross Man. Each day folks notice him and pull over to talk. Steve greets folks with 14 words, “Jesus loves you and so do I. What can I pray with you about?”
Answers vary. For instance, a truck driver parked behind a Walmart, planned to end his life that day until he saw a man carrying a cross and went over to talk with him. Steve looked him in the face, and said, the 14 words, “and I could see the tears well up in him, just knowing that he was loved.”
In Arkansas, Steve has had more folks stopping to talk. “Somedays I meet a dozen carloads of folks and get in several miles.” Other days are slower and the road is quiet for lengthy periods of time. In Arkansas, Steve observed, “This state has been amazing. At least 10 to 20 people have stopped about everyday. Rarely do they turn down prayer. They are friendly, but I’m feeling a hunger more than anything. They are looking for someone to bring them hope.
As a fellow believer. Epp welcomes their prayers and visits. Other days he meets those with hurting hearts like the man who hopped out of his car to snap a picture. “He had been a hard core drug addict for 37 years,” Steve said he learned before they prayed together.
In 2015, Steve walked from North Carolina to California. Since then he has walked other directions and states. He said, “I have walked in 19 states. I hope to eventually hit all 50 carrying the cross and talking with anyone who stops.”
Steve walks. Saundra drives. Every day she takes him from their small travel trailer to the road where he stopped the day before. Then she waits at a nearby library for him to call for lunch or to finish for the day.
Instead of planting another church, he plants the love of Christ in one individual after another. “I think it is about being there. We are being The Gospel. We just want to let people know we love them. Everyone needs prayer for something: a physical thing, a family, a job… Some do not see fulfillment in the church; we point them to Christ.”
With that in mind, Steve plans to be in Washington D.C. this spring, to walk in from Virginia carrying the cross, praying with whomever he meets along the way. He will go on praying for individuals and the nation because he is The Man with The Cross bringing the love of Jesus to one person at a time wherever he meets them.