April 16, 2014
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MAY  16, 2012 ARCHIVED STORIES:

ESCATAWPA, Miss. (BP) -- An unusual sight -- an 11-foot-tall wooden cross with hundreds of written prayer requests nailed to it -- has been turning motorists' heads and prompting some of them to get out of their cars since Jan. 23.

For 100 days, pastor Terry Long has kept vigil at the cross.

"There's something about the cross that has power and speaks to people. People make fun of the church, but they aren't making fun of the cross."
-- Pastor Terry Long
Today (May 15) is his concluding day at the busy intersection of Highways 63 and 613 near the Mississippi Gulf Coast.

"I felt the Lord told me to do three things," said Long, who has been in the pastorate since 1981, the last eight years at Lilly Orchard Baptist Church in Escatawpa.

"One was to put a cross out here on the highway. At first I didn't know where it was to go, but it just clicked that this was the intersection. Through a series of circumstances, this is where I ended up.

"Second, I was to pray for revival for a hundred days, every day," Long continued. "I was to push everything aside and just do this, pray for revival in our county and in our country. I was to not take a salary from my church for those hundred days. I was to give it back to the church.

"Third, I was to fast and pray. And on the 10th day, five men from my church met with me just to see how things were. They knew I hadn't eaten and had given my salary up. In that meeting, they said, 'We understand why you gave your salary up, but we feel like we want to be a part of this -- we're missing a blessing. We want you down at this cross, and we'd like to restore your salary,' and the church has done just that," said Long, a bivocational pastor who does construction work.

A native of Jackson County along the Gulf Coast, Long had begun praying for revival earlier in January. "I was concerned for the county -- I remember when the churches here were full and alive, and God impressed on me this was what I needed to do. He just dropped this in my heart."

The pastor said he argued with God that it was "too radical." Read More

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