The annual event is Friday, April 10.

Tanya Pacheco has been part of youth and worship ministry in Houston the past five years. She said holding a cross alongside U.S. 63 on Good Friday stands out among her experiences.

“This is probably the best four hours I’ve spent serving Jesus in a very long time,” she said.

Pacheco was one of more than 50 area Christians who gathered Friday to hold 10-foot crosses alongside the highway. The symbols of the Easter weekend began at the city limits sign next to Steve’s Tires on the south edge of town and ended at the other city limits sign just north of the Houston Area Chamber of Commerce Fairgrounds.

The crosses were held about every two-tenths of a mile. There were 22 total.

“We’ve had people stopping and asking why we were holding the cross because they associate crosses beside the highway with deaths and accidents,” said Cindy Sillyman, who held a cross with her daughter, Amber, near Burch Insurance. “We let them know we were here to honor Jesus and what he has done for us.”

The local effort was part of a statewide movement called “Carry the Cross.” It originated in Sikeston and this year established a goal of placing as many crosses on U.S. 63 and 60 in Missouri as possible. More than 500 Christians across Missouri participated.

The Houston event included several churches, the ministry Undivided Hearts and the Fellowship of Christian Athletes from Houston High School.

“It was such an incredible sight to see Christians of different ages and denominations come together as one to bring honor and glory to Jesus,” said Jeff McNiell, who helped organize the event. “That’s where the heart of many of the recent rallies and events in town has been –– to break down the traditions that have for far too long separated us as a body of believers and celebrate our Savior together as one.”

Sillyman said one woman –– with tears in her eyes –– stopped to say ‘thank you.’ A gentleman from a local automotive shop delivered candy and sodas to everyone holding crosses.

“Just the reaction from people –– the thumbs up, honking horns, yelling, waving –– it has been a phenomenal experience,” Pacheco said. “It has been great to pray for people as they drive by and know that God really loves them. He loves them that much that he died on the cross for them.”

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