12 Crosses for 12 Lives

A little over a year ago, I met Joey, a new chef at a company I chaplain, Sheas’s Express/Cynshea’s Catering in Huntsville, AL. I had been in the restaurant for rounds only a few times before I got a call that tragedy had struck his family. His adult stepson was killed in a car wreck. I met the family at the funeral home immediately to help plan the funeral and begin caring for the extended family.

The night of the visitation happened to be the night of our area’s biggest football game of the year, the Iron Bowl (the University of Alabama vs. Auburn University). That night people forgot about the big game and packed the funeral home. The family and friends were so distraught that the patriarch of the family asked me to share a few encouraging words. I gained permission to share the Gospel and that night five people came to Christ. The next day at the funeral six more people came to Christ.

Over the past year, I have seen God work miracles in Joey’s family and in the workplace using a terrible tragedy to draw people to Himself.  God worked through the grief care that I was able to provide to his family. We have seen God touch a hurting marriage and family and restore hope for their future.

God also worked through Cynthia Shea Hart, the owner of the restaurant. She sponsored all of her employees to attend a Christian marriage and parenting ministry event that I was able to attend. The Lord used this time to bring unity, help Joey, and also opened up a ministry opportunity at the restaurant.

We began a weekly 5-minute “line up” where I do a brief devotion. As a result of seeing God at work in the workplace and through this tragedy, employees have become more open to Christ and others have accepted Christ.  Joey and his wife are now active members in their church. He is a living picture of God’s healing hand that other employees see on a daily basis.

Cynthia Shea Hart added another cross to her large collection of crosses in the restaurant to commemorate God’s saving and healing hand with this situation. It has a large cross in the center to remember Joey’s stepson, Jonathen, who is now in heaven and 11 other crosses to remember those who came to Christ after the tragedy.