Outside Edge "The Independent" England
By Andrew Tong
Sunday, 12 April 2009
Surely the toughest endurance exercise ever undertaken has just been celebrated on film in the United States. The aptly named Arthur Blessitt has spent 40 years walking around the world with a 12ft wooden cross weighing 45lb.
Now 68, he left Hollywood, fittingly, on Christmas Day 1969 and walked 38,102 miles through 315 countries to relive Christ's journey to Calvary every day. Along the way he faced a firing squad in Nicaragua and survived a bomb in Northern Ireland. George W Bush reportedly became a born-again Christian after meeting him, but alas he didn't join in. Doctors had told Arthur not to go because he had suffered four minor strokes. Truly a miraculous effort.
Carrying Christ's Cross Around the World
The Longest Walk: Arthur Blessitt Has Carried the Cross Through 315 Nations, Walking 38,102 Miles
Commentary by ARTHUR BLESSITT
DENVER, April 10, 2009
Evangelist Arthur Blessitt made the Guinness Book of Records for completing the "world's longest walk": a 40 year, 38,102 mile trek around the world, all while carrying a 12-foot-high cross. His story has been turned into a documentary, "The Cross," which was released last month. He wrote this story for ABC News.com
In the spring of 1968, I made a 12-foot-by-6-foot cross to hang on the wall of our Jesus Coffeehouse on Sunset Strip in Hollywood, Calif. The young people coming into the building were deeply touched to see a huge rugged cross. I would carry the cross on short trips along the streets of Hollywood and share with people the love of Jesus.
Then in the fall of 1969, I felt the call of Jesus to take the cross off the wall and carry it across America to identify the message of Jesus with people where they are. On this walk, I felt at home on the road and with the people as I saw the hunger of people for the love and hope of Jesus.
Soon after, I did my first overseas crosswalk through the United Kingdom and Ireland in 1971. From there it was on to the world.
I have now walked and carried the cross through 315 nations, territories and major island groups, this includes every nation and continent covering 38,102 miles, which is more than 1½ times around the world at the equator. The journey has gone through cities, deserts, mountains, jungles and 52 nations at war.
I was chased by elephants, attacked by baboons, a crocodile and a green mamba snake. I have been arrested, jailed or taken in for questioning two-dozen times. Once I was taken out to be shot before a firing squad. This has been through rain, cold, snow and extreme heat.
My passion and mission has been to obey the call of Jesus and lift up the cross and the love of God to all peoples. The welcome has been glorious with villages and towns gathering to greet the cross and hear the message of Jesus.
I have walked around the world but I have carried a cross. The cross is about Jesus and Jesus is about Love.
As people come to the cross they feel this love and hope. No matter what nation or religion people are equal at the cross. Even in the most hopeless places wracked by hunger and war, people would gather at the cross.
Bringing Hope to War Zones
As I carried the cross through the war in Beirut, Lebanon, in 1982 and prayed with Yasser Arafat, I came upon a place where a bomb had exploded months earlier. One single flower was blooming in the ashes of war, death and destruction. I sat and cried and smiled for out of the ashes of war, pain and suffering, a flower was blooming.
The cross and Easter and the resurrected Jesus are all like that flower offering hope, love, forgiveness and salvation in Jesus Christ.
In a world of war, suffering, suicide, depression, greed and revenge, the cross and Jesus suggest a place where all may come and find life.
Sure it has been difficult walking the road with a heavy load but people are worth the sacrifice. I am not a sportsman but a pilgrim with a mission. Many people need hope and God more than anything. People can welcome Jesus into their lives and come to know Jesus in a personal way.
What causes me to go on? The prospect of the next person I may meet! I love God and I love people; I try to keep it simple.
I have spent most of these years on the road with the people. My wife, Denise, drives in front of me -- she goes a few miles and waits with water and food. We have been together in such places as Iraq, Iran, Somalia, Pakistan and North Korea. She is tender yet fearless.
Often one or more of my children have been with me.
I have hundreds of stories and am thrilled that now the story is being told in a new documentary called "The Cross" now showing in theaters across America. It contains film footage and photos I have gathered from around the world.
I hope it helps people see that God loves them and that Jesus was and is 'sinner friendly'. Jesus welcomes every person no matter what their struggle or failure.
I am just a sinner living in the mercy and grace of Jesus. I'm just a donkey carrying a wooden load in the form of a cross, lifting up Jesus knowing that he will draw all to himself.
Peace, love and blessings to all at the glorious Easter season. Let us focus on Jesus and the power of his love to change this world and each person in it.
After 40 years on the road, I am more excited and optimistic than I was when I started!
Jesus did it. All glory to God.
Courtesy of ABC News International
While Jesus carried his cross from Jerusalem to Golgotha, Arthur Blessitt went one better and took his across every nation in the world
By Electa Draper
NY TIMES NEWS SERVICE, DENVER
Sunday, Apr 12, 2009, Page 14
The logistics of marching across the world with a giant wood and metal cross are tedious and mind-boggling, from checking it, tucked into a ski bag, at countless airports, to hauling it in the two Land Rovers worn out by the Blessitt family.
Checkpoints and roadblocks in militarized zones were, of course, problematic - try doing the paperwork for a visit to North Korea or Saudi Arabia, when it was closed to tourists, and where activity by Christian churches is forbidden. He walked the countries of the former Soviet Union in the weeks after its collapse.
If you ask Blessitt how he sees himself, he says, "All I've been is God's donkey." He is "obedient."
The Life-Changing Message of the Cross
Thursday, 09 April 2009 04:33 PM EDT
By Stephen Strang of Charisma Magazine
As today is Good Friday and we are thinking about Christ's death on the cross, I decided to devote the Strang Report to sharing my thoughts about Matt Crouch's new documentary: The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story.
I found this documentary to be very moving when I saw it at a pre-screening on March 24. If the movie is still playing in your area, I urge you to go see it. When it comes out on DVD, I urge you to buy it.
The Sun, England: Cross roads
By GRANT ROLLINGS
Published: 09 Apr 2009
Some people might say they have a cross to bear, but Arthur Blessitt has spent the last 40 YEARS walking around the world carrying a 12ft-high, 45lb wooden one.
For the American preacher it was Easter every day as he relived the moment Jesus Christ carried a cross to his own crucifixion.
The 68-year-old Christian's religious zeal led him through 52 war zones, brought him face to face with a firing squad and into the book of Guinness World Records.
Arthur holds the record for the world's longest walk, having covered an amazing 38,102 miles. And now a film has been made about his remarkable story.
He says: "I have carried the cross around the world and lifted it up in nation after nation. Now I'm to walk down the red carpet and into the heart of Hollywood and lift the cross up there."
He says: "My prayer is that every person who sees the movie will fall at the foot of the cross and become a true follower of Jesus or pick up their cross and step into their own destiny in the power of Jesus."
Film Chronicling Arthur Blessitt's Walk of Faith Premieres Tonight
Tuesday, 24 March 2009 01:05 PM EDT
By Adrienne S. Gaines, Chrisma News
March 24, 2009 - A charismatic evangelist who has carried a 12-foot wooden cross into every nation of the world is taking his gospel message into unchartered territory—movie theaters nationwide.
The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story, which documents the evangelist's 39-year journey through 315 nations, premieres tonight at the Holy Land Experience in Orlando, Fla., and at Grauman's Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles. The $1.7 million documentary opens nationwide on Friday.
"When you finish [watching the film], our prayer is that everyone would either fall at the foot of the cross or take up their own cross," said Blessitt, who will ceremonially raise the cross outside Grauman's tonight during the Hollywood premiere.
The event will be broadcast live on the Trinity Broadcasting Network, which also owns the Holy Land Experience.
Blessitt said throughout his journey, he learned to hear God's voice more clearly and to walk by faith. "I had good theology as a young preacher, but walking around the world has made me live it," he said.
In the early days of his ministry, he said he sensed God saying, "I'm grounding you to powder so I can blow you where I will." His faith has been tested every step of the way. In Spain, he says God told him to give a bullfighter his coat, his only source for warmth.
"The sovereignty of God is that if He wants me to walk tomorrow, He'll have to keep me alive," Blessitt concluded at the time. "As time went on, I learned to [rely on God]. Jesus said: ‘Go to the Iraq border. Go to Saudi Arabia.' And you reach a point where you realize only God can get you there. It's total trust.
"People perceive you to be bold," he added. "But you're just walking with Jesus."
Crouch said God is always pushing the least likely people to do the most important tasks. "Who can qualify as the least likely?" Crouch asked. "That's the message for audiences."
MOVIE INSIDER: Will 'The Cross' Cross Over?
By BECK/SMITH CELEBRITY GOSSIP
Crouch went through some 160 hours of footage on Blessitt to make the 90-minute documentary, which he narrated himself. According to him, "It's a roller-coaster ride of emotions, extreme laughter to sorrow and everything in-between. I mean, strip away the religious context and you have this amazing story of a man who lives a truly dynamic life. He'd arrive in a country like Sierra Leone with $50 and no contacts in the days before cell phones, and somehow manage to make it.
So, his story is inspiring and challenging -- whatever it is inside of you that you feel you're meant to do, go for it. Just do it! If ever there was a poster guy for Nike's slogan, it's him."
Blessitt's book of "The Cross" is already in release. The fim, "The Cross: The Arthur Blessitt Story" gets its premiere at Grauman's Chinese Theater on March 24, appropriately right in his old stomping grounds.