A former inmate who had come to accept Jesus Christ as his Savior after hearing a message from a prison ministry while incarcerated handcrafted an 11-foot cross as a token of his appreciation.
The wooden cross was crafted by a man named Alfio who had been arrested more than 50 times throughout his life. He became a Christian through a prison ministry started by Hollywood Impact Studios (HIS) in 2009.
Eleven years ago, Alfio was released from prison — two years earlier than scheduled. He now lives in Washington State with his wife JoEllyn and began creating crosses for churches.
Alfio made a special 11-foot cross “as a gift representing peace and hope” for Hollywood Impact Studios’ prison ministry. He said God lead him to craft a “unique cross that spells out the pain Jesus went through.”
The restored inmate told CBN News about how he decided to come to Christ. “I had to pick a side and I picked Jesus Christ,” Alfio explained. “He said ‘Follow me and it’ll be better than you think.'”
In 2008, then-senior vice president at 20th Century Fox Gary Hall and his wife, Cyndi, founded HIS prison ministry in order to share the gospel with Los Angeles County Jail inmates. The organization also sought to teach prisoners a trade so they would be able to earn a living after being released from jail.
According to the website, HIS “uses the art of television and filmmaking to change lives by providing a training ground where Hollywood professionals teach and mentor incarcerated men.”
In 2017, Gary retired from 20th Century Fox in order to devote all his attention to HIS prison ministry. “I didn’t think He would allow me to use Hollywood for His glory,” Gary said.
While Alfio’s 11-foot wooden cross is completed and ready for delivery, he and his wife need to figure out a way to transport it from Washington to California. This is where God’s providence and the story of gospel restoration shine brightest.
Former inmate and student of HIS prison ministry, Tony Mendoza, has volunteered to bring the cross back to California. Mendoza, who spent more than 20 years in jail and 30 years in addiction, will set off on a week-long expedition on Oct. 26.
Along the way, Mendoza plans on talking to people about the cross, encouraging them to write prayer requests or their favorite Bible verses on a piece of tape, that will then be attached to the wooden symbol.
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help transport the cross to California. As of Friday morning, $645 of its $3,000 goal has been raised.