Elissa's Cross: Story Behind the Commemorative Plaque on the Signpost to the Nations

For some this story may be hard to believe, perhaps even for those of us who witnessed it. But nevertheless, it’s true! Elissa was a quiet, pretty, self-conscious student in my girls’; small group at YWAM Honolulu during the January 1997 DTS. This story is really hers, but since I was a witness, I’m relating the details which I recorded in my prayer diary as the events unfolded at that time. On Wednesday, Feb. 5th, 1997, Elissa got a wake-up call from God regarding some matters of the heart. One of those issues was an unhealthy dependence on dark music. On this particular day, Elissa’s CD player wouldn’t play her favorite new CD—one she described as intense “rage music” that contained rebellious and angry lyrics. Elissa wondered if there was something spiritual going on in regard to why her CD wouldn’t play. So she put in a Christian music CD and said, “In the name of Jesus, play!” It worked! She and a couple of her sweet housemates (Dena and Elisa) ran over to tell us how excited they were because it seemed God had just done something significant in her life! Elissa confessed that the
rage music was an unhealthy thing in her life, but she didn’t really have a willingness to give it up. Twelve days after that, I felt prompted to do a one- and-a-half-day fast for Elissa concerning the ungodly music and her inner freedom. We left it in God’s hands.

The night of God’s amazing sign and wonder took place on Friday, February 21. At around 10:30pm Elissa and Dena came to our house, very excited. Elissa asked, “Can I start a bonfire? I want to burn my CDs?”. This was totally her idea, not ours. She had 3 bad ones she’d picked out. Andy Williams (my husband and staff leader) built a small fire in the garden by the gazebo and poured a little lighter fluid on the CDs. A small crowd of YWAM friends began to gather around us. We prayed, and Elissa threw in the 1st two CDs, then hesitated on the 3rd. This last one was her favorite. It’s also the one the Lord had previously prevented her from playing on her CD player. Amidst the brief struggle to decide, she looked at the fire and prayed, “God, I CAN’T do it; help me”. Immediately a line of fire arced from the small fire about 5 feet away and onto the 3rd CD as it burst into flames! Andy quickly picked up the flaming CD to throw it in with the others. We watched in amazement as it was consumed instantly, much faster than the first two. But something more amazing was happening: there was a sparkling blue, sizzling fire burning the grass where the CD had been, forming a perfect shape of a CROSS! We were all in awe! It was like some kind of special effect from an action movie! But more incredible by far of course, because it was real. A cross was burned into the grass and it never spread out of its original shape. We knew we were in God’s Presence, witnessing His power at work in a wondrous way. Some gasped, but no one spoke for a long moment as we all just tried to wrap our minds around what we were experiencing. Personally I felt I had to confirm some things, so I asked Andy, “Did you make a cross in the grass with the lighter fluid” Andy immediately told us he hadn’t, not at all, and he demonstrated how he’d carefully moved his hand around in circles just inches above the ground as he poured the lighter fluid onto the CD’s. I’ve never seen anyone happier than Elissa that night. She told us she had been afraid she would feel so empty without that music, because it had been her source of comfort (an idol really). Instead, she felt so FULL of God and full of His joy! She lay there in the grass beside the cross long after everyone had left, looking at the night sky and basking in God’s love, amazed He’d made a cross just for her. The next morning she was still beaming with joy! What a transformation the Holy Spirit did! In the days following, Ryan Sutton and another YWAMer poured a concrete mold of the burnt patch left in the grass by the cross. Later, the concrete mold was embedded into the base of an international sign post showing the distance in miles to various outreach cities.

This article was written by LaRaine Williams. She and her husband Dr. Andrew Williams are former YWAM Honolulu DTS Staff and were among others who witnessed the events recorded in her journal account of “Elissa’s Cross”.

The plaque posted on the international signpost located on the grounds of the YWAM Honolulu base was donated and dedicated by Keith & Joan Martens to commemorate this miraculous sign from God on the anniversary of Keith’s 25th year serving as a DTS speaker at the Honolulu base. Keith also had the opportunity to minister to Elissa earlier that same evening and witness the events recorded in LaRaine’s account as he walked by on his way back to the Hospitality House. Keith led her to renounce her reliance on music as a source of comfort in her life. She then invited the Holy Spirit to be her only source of comfort and to bring freedom and restoration. This was one of the many things Jesus did to set her free during her DTS. May this plaque of remembrance be an ongoing cause for praise in glory to God and to serve as a continual reminder and call to bring the love and power of Christ to all nations.