Nine years ago I started passing a Tuareg Cross necklace among the students at Morningside. It started as a way to encourage students and draw them closer to each other all while pointing them to Jesus. Over time it grew into a summer tradition. It’s traveled all over the US and to three other countries.
Last summer when I began student ministry in Florence I decided to introduce it to the Ebenezer students. We passed it to one another throughout the summer of 2013, but I couldn’t really tell if it was something that connected at Ebenezer like it did in Spartanburg. So this summer I decided to retire it for a season and stop passing it.
On the drive to camp this week, one of our students, Mackenzie Grimsley said, “Nathan, are we going to pass that cross again this summer?” Just a few hours later Drew Wike texted me to say he was thinking about the Tuareg cross and how much it meant. He wanted to know who had received it so far on the trip. I told Drew that I wasn’t sure if it made much of an impact last summer. Drew said…it was one of his favorite parts of our summer last year. By this point I was beginning to doubt my decision to retire the cross. Then a few hours later I read a Facebook message from one of my friends and youth volunteers in Spartanburg. Malcom McClure told me he was praying for our trip and he shared how much he loved camp and the memories he had of youth camps with the Tuareg Cross.
After three out-of-the-blue reminders of the impact of the Tuareg cross I knew we needed to bring it back for summer 2014. I called Ashley and she mailed it overnight to us here in Cleveland, TN. While we waited for the cross we began “passing it” without actually having the cross. I started it with Mackenzie because she was the first person to remember the cross this summer. Mackenzie passed it to her big sister, Logan because of the influence Logan has had on her walk with Christ. Today Logan passed it to Kade Fambrough (aka Fudge Bar). The cross arrived at camp today just in time for us to carry it on our last day of mission sites.
The important thing here isn’t a piece of jewelry. We don’t worship the necklace. The Tuareg Cross has become important to students for these nine summers because of The One who gave His life on the cross. Tonight our church group time was one of the most powerful moments I’ve experienced this year at Ebenezer. These students have made some huge decisions for Christ this week. Sins were confessed, walls fell down, and healing began to occur in the lives of many in our group. The Tuareg cross is just jewelry, but the sacrifice Jesus made on the cross at Calvary is what gives these students life, hope and freedom from the chains of sin.
Pray for these students and adults as we travel home tomorrow and as we live out the commitments we’ve made to The Lord!