14th August, 2009
For the past 39 years, Arthur Blessitt has been walking the globe, carrying a 12 foot (3.6 metre) wooden cross as he visited every nation and island group in the world with the message that the cross of Jesus is for everyone. Mr Blessitt, who recently released his autobiography simply titled The Cross, spoke with DAVID ADAMS...
It's 39 years since you started carrying your cross with your first journey in LA. What initially prompted you to do so?
"I had made a large cross to hang on the wall of 'His Place', our Jesus Coffee House on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood in 1968. Late in 1969 Jesus spoke to me at 5am in the morning as I was praying and said to take the cross off the wall of our building and carry it on foot across America and identify His message with the people where they are."
CARRYING THE CROSS: Arthur Blessitt's new autobiography, The Cross.
"The cross is the focal point of all history; past, present and future. It is the sign of the love of God."
How did that develop into the ministry which has seen you carry the cross over 38,000 miles all around the world?
"I just walked on at the call of Jesus to carry the cross in every nation and major island group. I walk, people come to the cross and I share the love of Jesus and the message of salvation in Him. I pray for and bless people in Jesus Name. It is simple. I love Jesus and I love people."
You have been preaching since the age of 15 - have you always known God?
"At the age of seven-years-old in a outdoor meeting I heard the message of Jesus and after the meeting talked with the evangelist as he was about to leave. He shared Jesus with me and knelt down and led me in a prayer to repent and welcome Jesus into my life. Jesus has been there ever since and I’m now 68! Glory!"
What does the cross mean to you?
"The cross is the focal point of all history; past, present and future. It is the sign of the love of God. At the cross, the worst of man met the best of God and there is hope and eternal life in Him. The cross is where Jesus carried our sins and shed His Holy Blood for our redemption. The cross is the place where whosoever will, may come and find forgiveness and new life. At the cross Jesus welcomes us into the family of God."
You've carried the cross in 315 countries and island groups, including 52 countries which were at war at the time. How do people generally respond when they see you walking with the cross?
"Each nation is different but the world has been welcoming of me, my family and the cross. Some places the crowds line the roads for miles waiting for the cross like much of Africa and India and the Solomon Islands and Poland and South America. Other places it is one person at a time but almost always there is a constant flow of people coming to the cross and a day is praying with people from dawn into the night."
What, for you, was the most challenging walk?
"The jungles of the Darien in Panama and Colombia. Carrying the cross over the Hindu Kush in Pakistan into Afghanistan. The Sinai, Sahara and Namibia deserts. Also through active war zones."
In terms of your walks, what are you most grateful to God for?
"The unchanging, always presence of the Presence of Jesus! Always!"
Your walks have brought you into contact with some world leaders, including Pope John Paul II, former US President Jimmy Carter, Libyan leader Muammar al-Gaddafi and the late Palestinian Liberation Organisation Leader Yasser Arafat, whom you met when you were walking through West Beirut in 1980. What did you say to him and how did he respond?
"I met and talked with and prayed with Yasser Arafat three times for a total of several hours. I shared Jesus, read from the Words of Jesus and led prayers that I asked him to pray. He was very kind and smiling when with me. He gave me a large pearl cross. He told me the cross was more powerful than the sword. One time he came to see me in the middle of the battlefield in Beirut, Lebanon."
What has your walk taught you about the love, power and and faithfulness of God?
"God is the Lord of Hosts! The Lord God Almighty. Jesus has taught me that love is beautiful and stronger than evil. Jesus said all power is in His Hands. Line yourself up with the will of God and He will bring to past His glorious will and purpose. Nothing can stop the destiny of God's will!
How do you decide where to walk next and do you have to train to be able to walk such long distances?
"Since I was a child Jesus has taught me to hear His voice and obey turning right or left or going one way or another. This is how He has led me to the nations. I have never trained, only lived and obeyed and in that Jesus led me to the world. Jesus did it! I have only been a donkey carrying the cross and pointing people to Jesus."
Have you ever been stopped from walking somewhere you felt God was telling you to?
"I have been delayed...ha!...but never stopped! It took many years to get the visa to North Korea. Iraq did not give a visa so my wife Denise and I just went and carried the cross to the border and Jesus got us in!"
Is there anywhere you would like to walk with your cross but still haven't?
"Yes, the ‘Streets of Gold’ in heaven! Oh, yes! I would love to carry the cross in the outback of Australia; spend time with the pigmies in central Africa; go deeper into the area of the Bushmen. I love people. I wish I could walk every road on earth but I can walk the road Jesus leads me on through His mercy and grace.
"I pray everyone reading this will either fall at the foot of the cross and welcome Jesus into your life or pick up your cross and step into your mission and calling in the will of God."
Arthur Blessitt's book, The Cross, is published by Authentic Media and Publishing. It can be ordered via www.arthurblessitt.com or www.authenticpublishing.com or bought in Australia at www.word.com.au or www.koorong.com. Information about the movie The Cross, released in US theatres earlier this year, can be found at www.8x.com.