Crossroads began in 1995 in Steubenville, Ohio, by a group of 40 pro-life college students. Every year, the students walk thousands of miles to help Americans value life along the way.
A 14-year-old girl in Billings, MT., is contemplating suicide when a young man knocks on her door. He asks her to join him in a prayer vigil that night.
That simple invitation changed her mind about taking her life.
The young girl is one of hundreds of thousands positively affected by the ministry of Crossroads, a group of pro-life students who wanted to make an impact.
Crossroads began in 1995 in Steubenville, Ohio, by pro-life college students.
“About 10 went out to California in their broken-down cars without a clue as to how they would make it across America, but they just started walking,” and now after 11 years, “it’s still going,” said organizer, Andrew Doran. “They were tired of feeling helpless in the struggle to protect life, and wanted to do something unequivocally proactive.”
This year, students divided into three routes and began a three-month-long walk in May from the cities of Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle. On each route, students walk in shifts and rest in vans, ensuring that someone is walking at all times excepting weekends.
The walkers endured rain and heat on the 3,000 mile trek and relied on the financial support of strangers.
“In the end, it’s all well worth it,” said Martha Nolan, National Director of Crossroads in a statement.
The purpose? To promote the value of human life, which, according to the walkers, includes but is not limited to the abortion issue.
“Oftentimes when we say pro-life, they think ‘abortion,’ but I think being pro-life is so much more,” said Matt Maes, 21, walk leader of the northern route.
“We want to help bring about a culture of life, and we want to begin in America because we believe that America has been blessed by God and has great responsibilities,” Doran agreed.
“The death of Terri Schiavo this year really hit home a reality that most of us have been blind to for years,” and Doran added, “when life is valued not by its inherent dignity, but by its convenience or relevance, then weak life is not safe.”
Combined, the walks will cover over 9,500 miles through 31 states, and walkers will encounter millions of Americans along the way, including an estimated 250,000 people in churches alone this summer.
Many are touched by their message, including the fourteen-year-old, who publicized their impact on her life through an anonymous thank-you on the website.
“This girl obviously wasn’t aborted, but there are still other life and death issues, and one of them is suicide,” said Maes.
The walk taught Maes faith. With only an eighth of a tank of gas left in Montana, the van had 20 miles before the next gas station.
“We just prayed and prayed, and just as we ran out of gas, there was a gas station in the middle of nowhere, and it opened right when we got there,” he said. “A big part of our faith was not worrying but trusting in God.”
Crossroads hopes to bring life issues to the forefront of the dialogue in churches today.
All three groups are expected to arrive August 6, 2005 on the steps of the United States Capitol building.