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Yuma man honors his creator by making, giving away wooden crosses
Lowell Everole can be reached by calling 581-2214 or sending email to email@example.com.
You might say Lowell Eversole prays with his scroll saw.
The winter visitor knows how to make lots of things, but only one creation leaves Eversole's workshop honoring his creator.
Eversole says he wants to touch people's hearts and to remind them of the love Jesus Christ has for them.
So he makes crosses.
Eversole began his ministry three winters ago, starting out small by sharing crosses at a church men's group. But word spread quickly about the faithful fellow's unique ministry and requests for crosses soon came his way in a holy flood.
He figures he's made and handed out around 2,000 of his wooden crosses since then.
“My goal in doing this cross ministry is to get the cross in front of people. To me, looking at the cross is a reminder that Jesus gave his life on the cross for me and that I should be doing something. My perception of Christianity is if there had been no cross, there would be no salvation.”
The way his heart sees it, crosses hold the power to make the world a better place.
“The more we think about Jesus and get our minds off wars and politics, the more we tend to think about the good things and about God. We have less time to fool with the things of the world.”
Eversole gives his crosses away for free but humbly accepts donations, which help handle the cost of wood and other supplies.
His smallest cross stands four inches tall, making it perfect for hanging from a rearview mirror. The largest cross, meanwhile, measures four feet in height and is made with churches in mind.
“The standard size is about 16 inches tall,” Eversole said, adding that he offers up dozens of styles. He also accepts special requests. “If people can draw a picture, I can make it for them.”
Eversole's friends say they are truly inspired by their pal's natural generosity and by how far and wide his cross making has been felt by friends and strangers alike.
“He just has a heart for that cross. It means so much to him,” said Lee Dean, a friend in Yuma. “He told me once ‘You know, there are few tears on those crosses.' That really touched me.”
One of Eversole's crosses hangs in his friend's home.
“When I see it, I think of the Lord and what he has done for me,” Dean said. “I used to be an alcoholic and I was delivered from alcohol and became a songwriter to glorify the name of Jesus Christ. To me, the cross means everything.”
He added that everyone should know someone as wonderfully good as his pal Eversole.
“He's a very friendly, talkative guy who has more abilities and gifts. He'll come to your house and fix your sink or the leak in your pipes. He does so much for everybody,” Dean said. “He also sings in church and has a great voice. He's just a big, lovable guy.”
Such talk of praise would likely make Eversole blush and run for cover. He'd much rather be in his shop working on a new cross design.
Eversole mostly gives away crosses at church events, but more and more, folks are coming to him looking for crosses.
“We are not selective on who we give them to. We don't care if you are Baptist or Catholic or Pentecostal. We give them to everyone equally,” he said, adding, “I say ‘we' because I have some people who are helping me with this these days.”
Eversole got into the business of making crosses after he read an email about a Michigan town's battle over a cross in the city's official logo. Residents responded by launching a campaign aimed at displaying a cross in front of every home and business.
That got Eversole to thinking about what he could be doing here in Yuma.
“Old country folk like me tend to think that we ought to be doing something. I made a few crosses and the demand just kept increasing.”
Some crosses are quite plain, while others sport a simple design. Some say “Jesus.” Some are three crosses stacked together.
But don't misunderstand Eversole's intentions. He stresses that decorating a cross is not a must.
“I'm not trying to make the cross look attractive. Some people are just attracted to different things. I just do the best I can.
“To me, the beauty of the plain and simple cross is the fact that Jesus died on an old, rugged cross. It wasn't fancy and shiny. To me a cross doesn't have to be a pretty thing. It is a powerful thing.”
Eversole and his friends make about 40-50 crosses a week these days, compared with 20-25 just last year.
“It's really spreading by word of mouth,” he said. “It's beginning to get pretty widespread.”
Just this month he set up a display at Foothills Assembly of God Church. His collection of free crosses greeted people as they entered the church.
“You would be amazed by how many people stood there with tears in their eyes. They are moved by the cross because of what Christ did and because, I think, of his presence in their lives.”
Eversole gave out several hundred crosses that day.
“People are very grateful, but I don't think I have done anything great. But if they're affected that way, that's great.”
He also gives winters visitors crosses to take back home to their church communities up north. “Very often, people will end up calling once they're home and say ‘Hey, I need more crosses!'”
Eversole also gives away crosses through his work with church groups that build homes and churches around the country, plus Mexico. That service and outreach mean a lot to him. “I just don't understand how a Christian could see someone in need and not be affected by that.”
The Alaska resident says an aging body is the only reason he would ever let his youthful heart turn down the chance to help his fellow man. That includes making crosses.
“I am 75 years old. I can't do what I used to do. If I get out to my workshop by 8 a.m., by 2 p.m. I have to sit down due to my osteoarthritis. There's a saying down South that it's not just the age of this old body's frame, it's the mileage that's slowing him down,” he said, chuckling softly.
But don't expect Eversole to stop praying with this scroll saw anytime soon.
“I'm going to stay in the cross-building business as long as I can do it. I'm not disabled by any stretch of the imagination. Getting older — you really don't think it's going to happen until it does. You think you are exempt, then you find out you aren't. But I'm not worrying about it. I'm just going to keep on doing what I'm doing for as long as I can.”
Darin Fenger can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 539-6860.