Just over a year ago Eastern Cape businessman Robbie Hift had a vision from the Lord to erect a giant steel cross to deter suicide jumps off the 140m-high Van Stadens Bridge west of Port Elizabeth. The public responded with an outpouring of practical and financial support and today the 14m-high white cross stands tall, proclaiming hope in Christ to passing motorists and the finishing touches of the project are nearing completion.
Quite a bit of maintenance was done on the cross recently after high winds thundered across the valley and the steel cables anchoring the structure became slack and had to be tightened, said Hift. A perspex panel 6m above the ground was cracked as a result of the wind action. The maintenance team had to erect scaffolding and organise a team to climb up and replace the panel, he said.
The giant letters spelling ‘JESUS LOVES YOU’ have been manufactured and a team is busy constructing steel frames onto which the letters will be bolted. The frames will be erected on the hillside in front of the Cross of Hope.
In another recent development a Karoo farmer caught the vision and offered to erect an electric security fence around the whole installation. His R25 000 funding covers the fencing but there is still a need for a steel gate to enclose the area and protect the Cross of Hope from theft and vandalism.
“We have managed to locate a beautiful, strong galvanised double gate which is 4 m wide and 8 feet high and we can get this for a bargain price of R5 000. So we are calling out to compassionate people who are willing to help us to fund this double gate,” said Hift.
He said anybody wishing to support the gate appeal can make a deposit into the bank account of St Nicholas Church at Standard Bank Account No. 080023649, Branch 050-017 in the name of St Nicholas Church, using the reference “Bridge Cross”.
Outlining further vision for the project, Hift said that once the “Jesus Loves You” letters and the fencing is completed, solar lighting will be installed to illuminate the cross and the letters.
“We have been promised this solar lighting from the Rhino Group in Port Elizabeth. They are busy building a prototype showcase house at Crossways Farm Village,” he said.
He said that anyone wanting to offer any kind of help with the Cross of Hope project, or to share a testimony relating to the cross, is welcome to email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.