BY MARILYN TINNIN
Berry’s Seafood & Catfish House
The 25-ton, 110-foot-tall cross just south of Florence on Highway 49 is impossible to miss no matter what hour of the day or night you happen along there. It stands like a beacon of light before a sea of cars in a packed parking lot. And it is not a church parking lot—rather this parking lot surrounds Berry’s Fish and Seafood Restaurant.
Forty-five-year-old Carroll Berry has come through some tough times in his life, and over the past decade or so as he sought refuge and comfort in the Lord, he found healing, restoration, and peace that grew a love for God inside of him that he wants to give to everybody he meets. In 2015 he kept hearing on the local newscasts that Crosses Across America wanted to erect a big cross on I-20 in the city of Brandon but the city council was opposed to the idea. He decided to approach the organization headquartered in Vicksburg and offer a spot on some Rankin County land he owned beside Highway 49.
You could say the rest is history. He says, “God just laid it on my heart to do this.” Lest you think he was self-serving, God also “laid it on his heart” to pay for the $170,000 cross. He modestly says he really only ended up paying for half of it because many churches and friends chipped in.
Carroll has been an entrepreneur since he bought his first restaurant from his father when he was 19 years old. He explains, “That was in the day you could borrow money from the bank before you were 21.” Doing most of the cooking himself and working hours and hours and hours, he turned that restaurant into two more and seems to just have a natural head for business, buying land, developing a few strip centers, and being generous to others along the way.
His wife, Kayla says, “This man’s heart is so huge. He just believes in going big or going home.”
Kayla’s journey also includes a lot of brokenness and failed relationships and the blessings God brings through suffering. They eventually lead to joys of the Ephesians 3:20 variety.
The couple almost missed each other despite the persistent efforts of a mutual friend to get them together. Kayla is a Christian singer and worship leader who does women’s conferences. As the daughter of a pastor, she comes from a family of ministry where everyone can also play an instrument and sing! Find her on YouTube. You will not be disappointed.
The Berry’s will welcome their first child, Kristian Carroll Berry, to the world at the end of July. If you are into numerology in the Bible, it can’t be coincidental that this young man’s due date is the seventh month, the 27th day, in the year 2017.
Carroll has a lot of goals for this little boy, the most important being to introduce him to the Lord Jesus. He plans to pray unceasingly over him as he has already begun to do and to spend untold time with him just being a dad who pours into his family—every day in every way.
This little one is going to hear morning, noon, and night, “I love you.”