HARLINGEN, TX – Way of the Cross Ministries’ home base is located in Harlingen, Texas, about five hours southeast of San Antonio and about six hours southwest of Houston. Harlingen is eight miles from the U.S. / Mexican border. It is in this lower end of the Rio Grande Valley where Way of the Cross represents Jesus Christ to some of the poorest people in both countries.
The unabashed purpose of Way of the Cross is “to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ and train others to do the same.”
When Way of the Cross speaks of preaching the Gospel, it specifically means teaching others that they can be saved from sin through the blood of Christ.
When it speaks evangelism, it means reaching out to the lost to win their souls to Christ as the organization’s primary objective. There are far too many who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus, and there is so little time to reach them. Doing so, therefore, ranks high above all projects they do to demonstrate the compassion of Christ.
Discipleship and training in the Bible are at the heart of Way of the Cross. As people are won to Christ, Way of the Cross emphasizes memorizing Bible verses for the purposes of renewing their minds, fostering their obedience to the Word, and equipping them to seek and share the Gospel with others who are lost in sin.
A growing number of faith-based organizations have strayed from boldly proclaiming the Gospel in favor of doing “humanitarian” work as a means to an end. Way of the Cross puts the preaching of the Gospel first, following up with acts of compassion from servants of the Most High God.
The seed for Way of the Cross began in 1988 after several men from Harlingen drove to Matamoras, Mexico, to refurbish a former house of prostitution and transform it into a children’s home. Volunteers from both sides of the border worked together to install plumbing and electricity.
At the same time, some of the men converted an old school bus for use in evangelizing other Mexican towns and villages. They fitted the bus with a stage, lighting, sound, and a 20-foot lit cross. Way of the Cross describes the results of using the bus as,
“They went to preach the gospel, the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and experienced tremendous results.”
Way of the Cross has grown to include:
- A Mission Center with 105 beds to accommodate groups on short-term mission trips.
- A Mission Headquarters facility that includes not only offices but also a warehouse, chapel, and prayer room in a 187,000 sq. ft. building. About 20 full-time missionaries use this facility as their base, operating a large local food bank and shipping container loads of food and supplies to other missionary workers in Central America, Haiti, and Africa. The warehouse serves more than 2,600 other ministries in addition to Way of the Cross.
- The Gateway Camp comfortably accommodates up to 250 people.
- The Mexico Mission Center in the foothills of the Sierra Madre Mountains accommodates more than 60 people.
- The San Fernando Orphanage where street children find a home where they are loved and raised to follow and serve Jesus.
- The Shiloh Base Camp in Nicaragua. Twenty full-time staff members minister from the base camp, mentor short-term mission teams, and collaborate with local Bible-teaching churches.
Finally (for this article), Way of the Cross operates Missionary Training Schools at the Gateway and Shiloh camps. Experienced missionaries from Way of the Cross share lessons they have learned, and that can be learned only through experience. The schools emphasize “faith and a biblical understanding mixed with practical applications of how to be a full-time servant of God.”
The men who renovated the building for the orphanage and customized the evangelism bus had no idea what would grow from the seed they originally planted. Just over 30 years later, Way of the Cross is bearing the sweet fruit on earth – lost souls being won for Christ and believers trained to reach others.