Prents often do what they can to teach their children the ways of the world. There are times, however, when implementing the lesson plan has the inverse effect, and it’s the parent who learns a thing or two. A tree-chopping father from Ohio named Chris, from the YouTube channel Chop With Chris, found this out in a surprising way after he sent his daughter on a church trip to El Salvador around Christmastime in 2013. The video below reveals how his life would never be the same after she came back.
In an exclusive interview with SF Globe, Chris explains that his mother had to raise five children on her own after his father had passed. It was his upbringing that today gives Chris the motivation to never have to watch his children struggle.
“In my infinite wisdom,” he says, “I sent her on a mission trip with a local church group to El Salvador.” Chris explains that he wanted his daughter to experience “how much of the world lives; where life is a daily struggle.” The hardships of suburbia sometimes need a frame of reference.
Chris admits, however, that he “never expected what happened next.”
After his daughter returned from El Salvador and he thumbed through some photos, he noticed a small tin shack. It was the village church, and something wasn’t right. “There were no religious symbols in the church,” he explains, so he immediately trudged out into the snow and started chopping into a fallen tree. “I knew what had to be done and I knew nothing would stop me,” says Chris.
Using a sledgehammer and some wedges, the video below shows him busting apart the fallen tree draped in snow, and then cutting away the wood with his ax. Chris doesn’t use conventional methods to craft his wooden art. Unlike a majority of woodworkers who use powerful machines, Chris only uses hand tools, giving each piece he makes that extra personal touch.
Chris tells that over the next four days he worked diligently, sawing and carving away at the wood until he crafted a cross for the church. A church he had never stepped foot inside of.
“A cross from my heart,” Chris calls it. Though it would be from his hands, not his heart, that the wooden cross would be delivered.
“From my home. From my hands. From my heart to all of you.” This is a translation of Chris’ speech that he gave, in person, to the Salvadoran congregation as he bestowed upon them the symbol of his gratitude. A cross that now rests at the front of the church for each service.
“What started as a life lesson for my daughter turned into an experience I will never forget,” says Chris. Transforming that lifeless, fallen tree into a symbol of mutual respect and understanding gave Chris’ soul new life in a way he never could have known.
When Chris left the congregation, the pastor whispered into his ear, “Come back again, Chris.” When he reflects on it now, he says that “My heart has never left, and I definitely will return.”