‘Cross-carrier Chuck’ shares message of hope

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, November 9, 2004

AHOSKIE – Two thousand years ago in Jerusalem, when Roman law spelled out capital punishment in the embodiment of crucifixion, it was not uncommon to see men carrying crosses through the public square, but to see a man carrying one in downtown Ahoskie recently surely begs an explanation.

Chuck Johnson, otherwise known as &uot;Cross carrier Chuck,&uot; is on a mission to walk across the country on foot to share a message of hope, forgiveness and love to all who are willing to lend an ear and, on Thursday, that journey led him to the small town of Ahoskie.

&uot;I do this to help remind people that they need God in their lives,&uot; said the 42-year-old Anaheim, California native who is on his ninth trip across the nation.

Raised in by Christian parents in San Jose, Johnson said that his calling came to him after a two-week long outpouring of intense prayer to God.

&uot;I had been reading the Bible since I was seven years old, but it wasn’t until after college in 1986 that I received the Holy Spirit,&uot; he said.

&uot;After I was baptized I prayed every day, asking God to fill me with His spirit and it wasn’t long before I knew exactly what God wanted me to do.&uot; Giving up all he had, with the exception of $55 dollars, Johnson purchased the materials he needed to build his first cross, leaving him with mere pocket change for his journey.

With the cross fully constructed, Johnson set off from Tijuana, Mexico and has since traveled over 30,000 miles, encouraging and praying with people along the way.

&uot;I have been to every state in the U.S. except Alaska and Hawaii,&uot; said Johnson who has been sojourning wherever the Lord leads over the past 18 years.

&uot;Sometimes I stay in a motel so I can shower and rest, but other times I simply sleep outside,&uot; he said. &uot;It just depends. My home is wherever the cross is.&uot;

Johnson says he doesn’t worry about what the next moment will bring because he knows as long as he is seeking God, He will provide for his needs.

&uot;He never gives me more than I can handle,&uot; said Johnson. &uot;One time when I was just outside of Bakersfield, California, a young man pulled over and offered to give me a ride. I noticed that his truck was sputtering pretty bad so before I got in I jokingly asked him if his truck was going to make it and to make a long story short, it didn’t.&uot;

With a gas station in their view, Johnson said the two untied the cross and began walking in that direction. &uot;As we got closer, a man greeted us with his eyes, reached into his wallet, pulled out $300 and simply said that God told him to do this. Ironically, that was the exact amount it cost to repair the man’s truck.&uot;

Johnson, who has no source of income except for donations, said that although he doesn’t hitchhike, he does accept rides when offered. &uot;I don’t walk the whole time. There have been many occasions when someone has stopped and asked me if I needed a ride and I have taken them up on it to get to the next town.&uot;

To avoid the cold winter weather, Johnson said he is setting his sights on the south. &uot;Right now, I am heading for Florida, but I go wherever the Lord leads me,&uot; he said.

As a result of his pilgrimage, Johnson has also begun writing a book to document his traveling experiences. &uot;I wanted to record some of the experiences I’ve had on the road and write about the interesting people I met,&uot; he said.

The tentative title for the unfinished work, &uot;I Carry the Cross, God Does All the Work&uot; is a reflection of Johnson’s philosophy.

&uot;I don’t preach to people, I pray with them and let God do the rest. When people ask me if I’m in the business of saving souls, I tell them, ‘no, I can’t do that, only Christ can do that. I’m just here to encourage Christians and share the gospel with those who want to hear it.’&uot;

On his way to Florida, Johnson plans to visit Windsor, Williamston and Rocky Mount before trekking down Interstate 95.

On average, Johnson said it usually takes him between four and five months to travel across the country.

&uot;It’s quite the workout, but I haven’t been sick in 20 years,&uot; he said with a laugh. &uot;It just goes to show that you can’t outwork Him or out give Him.&uot;

For more information on Johnson’s ministry visit: www.crosscarrierchuck.com.