Mizzou Crossroads entertains with night of inspirational stories, music

Speaker Joe White constructed a cross on stage to symbolize freedom from sins.
Speaker Joe White holds up a cross that he assembled onstage Monday night at Jesse Auditorium. White is known for touring the country and building crosses.

Hundreds of students gathered in Jesse Hall on Monday for a night of music, prayer and celebration at Mizzou Crossroads, an event hosted by AfterDark ministries.

According to the AfterDark website, since the organization’s creation in 2000, events such as Mizzou Crossroads have brought entertainment and conversation about Jesus to more than 350,000 students. A concert, along with a speech by AfterDark event presenter Joe White, invited students to reconsider the role of religion in their lives.

The night kicked off with a concert from Thi’sl, a hip-hop artist from St. Louis. His music got the crowd on their feet, dancing and chanting along with him.

Thi’sl explained to the crowd how God had impacted his life.

“One day someone told me something that changed my life,” Thi’sl said. “They told me about Jesus.”

After the conclusion of Thi’sl’s performance, White took the stage. He encouraged the crowd to question who they were and where the meaning in their life came from.

He then took on the role of a Roman cross-maker, and created a cross on stage by lifting, axing and nailing together logs.

“Everything is different because of this one man,” he said, imitating a Roman soldier. “Everyone knows he ain’t no god. Jesus, they call him.”

As the cross came together, White said when Jesus rose from the dead the world would never be the same.

“After the crucifixion, you would think in your mind that would be the end,” White said. “The Darwins, The Nietzsches, the Stalins (and) the Osama bin Ladens have tried to erase him. But there is one thing that historians agree on - is that on that day, everything changed. Whatever happened on that cross that day, it wasn’t the end.”

White said before Jesus died, he recognized everyone has a certificate of debt, or sins. Jesus took all certificates of debt and gave people freedom, he said.

“You just need to give your heart to Jesus to be pure,” he said.

The event asked young adults to explore the role of religion in their lives, and students showed up for many reasons.

Third year nursing student Paula Nguyen said she attended after finding out about the event from her Christian friends. The event allowed her to see things with a new light.

“I enjoy seeing new perspectives on the Gospel,” she said. “It’s very attractive when it’s fun. It was very renewing and something I needed.”

Junior Garrett Connolly said he had never been to a Crossroads event before, but came to be with several of his fraternity brothers. The event promised to aid Greek Life members more than just spiritually.

“It’s a deal with my fraternity, Phi Gamma Delta,” he said. “We are here for our philanthropy. Crossroads is going to give $250 to the philanthropy (of the chapter) with the most members here.”

Sophomore Jane Carter said those involved with AfterDark had a large impact on her life, and she wanted to come to the event and help out in order to give back.

“I spent nine summers of my life with them, and I know the impact it had on me,” she said. “The Lord really gifted Joe, and I wanted to help out. (Doing this) was kind of a way of giving back.”

Carter said the event could be a stepping-stone to a more active religious life.

“One thing I think is really cool about this event is it’s not just a concert,” she said. “They follow up with emails and inform students about campus ministries.”

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