LAUREL COUNTY — If you traveled US 25 in Laurel County on Friday, you might have passed two men on foot taking turns carrying a large wooden cross.
Ray Cope and Robert Anderson from Lily Holiness Church set out on foot from the intersection of Cumberland Gap Parkway and US 25 (locally known as Malfunction Junction in Corbin) at around 10 a.m. Friday morning in an effort to bring people to Christ and to help raise money for a church Christmas giveaway.
Lily Holiness Church Pastor Ryan Osborne said his church came up with the idea after Adrenaline Cycle used the church parking lot to give away Christmas presents last year. Osborne said the church wants to give back in the same way this year.
The men walked, carrying the cross, to raise money in hopes for creating a meaningful Christmas experience for Tri-County families.
Osborne spent several hours last weekend walking through town like Cope and Anderson did Friday. Osborne added this fundraiser was also a way to increase the church’s outreach ministry.
“I wasn’t expecting it to be 95 degrees outside in September,” said Osborne about his walk last weekend. “It was a very humbling experience. We got a good response. A lot of people stopped and we got to talk to them about Christ.”
Cope said he felt led to be a witness for Jesus and help raise money for needy kids.
“I’m just trying to be a light for Jesus Christ,” said Anderson.
Some people pledged donations by the miles the two men walk and others just made one time donations.
Cope said his biggest aspiration while walking the busy highway is that someone will see the two men and the cross and realize that they need Jesus.
“We just hope that we light somebody’s day up,” said Anderson. “In the meantime we can help needy children for Christmas.”
Osborne said when the time comes, the church will send out a mass mailer asking for the needs in the community and then they will follow up with an application process. Osborne said he hopes to raise $1,000, but if the church raises more, that just means they can serve more families.
After watching friends at Adrenaline Cycles, Osborne knew it was his turn to act.
“This year we thought we wanted to be involved in something like that,” he said. “We want to raise as much money as we can.”
Friday Cope and Anderson walked to the Kentucky State Police Post in London for an approximate total of 14 miles.