Blind missionary travels by the vision of his faith
Miranda Koerner Boerne Star Writer | Posted: Tuesday, June 5, 2018 12:00 am
Dean Chollar, of Boerne, has been to more than 50 countries around the world, from Kenya to Nicaragua. But he’s only seen a few of them. After Chollar was let go from his post as a missionary for going blind, he decided to start his own ministry, Crossway International, in 1997. Crossway International shares the gospel through projects such as water well drilling, medical clinics, schools and care for orphans and needy children. In addition, Chollar and his other associates host evangelical events such as seminars and church events.
“I felt like God wasn’t finished with me, but I couldn’t travel and couldn’t teach,” Chollar said. “Now, I teach seminars and preach on a regular basis but I have to memorize everything. It takes a lot of time for me to prepare a sermon.”
Chollar developed Crossway’s three-prong strategy: education, faith and serving others. At each location, missionaries try to bring relief to locals, whether it’s through creating a school or providing goats to widows for them to have an income. During acts of service, they share the gospel and teachings of Jesus. Chollar and his associates also meet with local churches and teach a seminar on how to teach the gospel in simple, clear terms. Bruce McIntosh, Crossway International Training Specialist, says Crossway has two educational purposes: to teach the Bible and its message to Christians clearly and to educate non-Christians about Christianity. Even Crossway’s name is a dedication to the simplicity of its beliefs.
“The reason for Crossway existing is to make the gospel clear and how Jesus died for us on the cross to pay for our sins,” McIntosh said. “(Our missionaries) make sure it’s clear and they’re very careful about the phrases and terms they use so it doesn’t mislead people. One of the seminars Dean teaches is called, ‘Make It Clear.’ In my experience working with churches and ministries, sometimes the teachings are not clear. When I was 18, someone asked me what religion I was and I didn’t know, because I didn’t go to church. I spent two years going to different churches and reading in the library about different religions. In those two years, I found people couldn’t answer my questions and I couldn’t find anything that made sense about what church was and why it existed and how it related to God.”
McIntosh said his own confusing experience led to the simplicity of Crossway’s message.
“Someone finally told me, ‘Heaven is perfect, and you’re not, and if God let you into heaven it wouldn’t be perfect. That’s why God sent us Jesus. He was perfect and he died on the cross to absorb your imperfections so you can believe.’ Stop believing what you used to believe that you can be perfect enough and accept that Jesus paved your way to heaven. When I tried to find that message (in other churches), I couldn’t find it because it was buried in theological phrases, so how could a visitor find it if they weren’t looking for it like I was? When we use common phrases like ‘washed in the blood’ or ‘give your heart to Jesus,’ it takes away from the message that Jesus paved the way and put your faith and trust in him. I’m careful to avoid those things and so is Dean. That’s one of the calling cards of Crossway. That’s what the name Crossway means — Jesus died on the cross to pave our way to heaven,” he said.
Chollar is quick to point out that along with spreading evangelical ministry, Crossway is dedicated to setting up self-sustaining aid to those in need. Many projects, such as schools and well-drilling, often continue after the missionaries leave.
While Chollar enjoys traveling and helping others, he does admit that seeing people in such meager conditions can be humbling. Some of the countries Crossway missionaries travel to, such as Pakistan, can leave converts at the risk of death due to local politics and Muslim beliefs. Such realities weigh heavy on Chollar’s heart.
“It takes a person of faith,” Chollar said. “I walk by faith not by sight. I lost my eyesight, but not my vision. As long as you follow God, he provides. We can’t do everything for everybody, but we can do something for somebody. It’s a special calling and desire to help people that are hurting. There’s a lot of hurting people. The poorest person here would be considered wealthy in the countries I go to.”
McIntosh said that out of all the churches he’s worked with, he enjoys the outreach Crossway provides.
“My favorite experiences have been meeting people in all the different countries and becoming friends with them,” McIntosh said. “My absolute most favorite experience, and I know it’ll sound like a canned answer, is when I have an opportunity to teach and train. Whether it’s biblical counseling to local pastors or church leadership, I just love making the Bible clear.”
Gary Jones, Crossway’s international director, said everyone at Crossway shares Chollar’s passion for both the teachings of the Bible and helping others.
“At Crossway, I was able to have a ministry that reached all over the world,” Jones said. “I could help make churches around the world better equipped to do ministry in those countries. The work we do is not unique. The most unique thing is Dean and how he’s so active and passionate, but totally blind. I think that makes a difference in those we minister to and shows there’s no limit to what God can do through individual in ministry.”
Dean Chollar ** Office: 1-830-249-2322 ** Cell: 1-210-326-3190 ** www.gocrossway.org ** email@example.com ** Correspondence: CrossWay International * 14 Fabra Oaks Road * Boerne, TX 78006-7901 ** Contributions: CrossWay International * PO Box 1784 * Boerne, TX 78006-1784