7. EASTERN EUROPE
Hungary, July 21, 1981 – As I was flying into Budapest on Maley (Malev) Hungarian Airlines, I prayed, “Lord, how do I get the cross through immigration and customs? It’s another communist country. Generally, open manifestation of religion is not allowed.”
I felt the Lord say, “Do not look to the left or to the right, just keep going straight through customs.
When I passed through Immigration I knew that no one realized I had a cross, but when I got to Customs I just picked up my cross and backpack and started walking. The Lord had told me not to look anyone in the eye, just to walk straight ahead. So, I didn’t stop. I didn’t slow down. I walked right through the Customs line and no one said a word to me. I walked all the way out to the curb and then I asked, “Now, Lord, what do I do?”
When I was on my way to Poland earlier this year, the Lord spoke clearly to me. He said, “Lie down and I’ll tell you exactly what to do. You become nothing and I’ll be everything.” Before this time it was not common for the Lord to speak to me in this way.
Since my trip to Poland, the Lord has spoken to me without hesitation, clearly giving me orders, “Don’t do this, do that,” so I lay down again, stretched out on the pavement in front of the airport, my face to the ground and prayed. I felt the Lord tell me, “Don’t carry the cross mostly in Budapest. Start at the city limit sign and walk to Szeged.”
It seemed the Lord has said if I started in Budapest I would be arrested, but if I started at the city limit sign and the police saw me, they would think I had started in the city and had permission to the walk.
As I carried the cross through Hungary, the people were very warm and responsive, but also fearful. They kept saying, “You’ll be arrested and you and anyone with you will be in very bad trouble.” A preacher told me, “I can only stop and speak with you for just a moment, but you are a miracle, a blessing to all of us. We are all watching you. Many people are driving down the road to see you. We are so happy, you bring us hope.”
About 1:00 Monday afternoon, July 22, 1981 – Crowds had gathered along the streets of the small town of Kiskunfelegyhaza, but no one would speak. Everyone seemed afraid. I said to my son, Joel, “God wants to move in this place but the people are afraid to come near us. Let’s go into a restaurant to eat and give the Lord time to do something in the town.” We went into a restaurant and ordered our food by making signs.
Crowds began to gather. Larger and larger crowds gathered in the City Center. I had my shoes and socks off, cooling my feet. Suddenly I heard the sound of a police siren. A car raced up and three police officers holding their Billy clubs got out and ran into the restaurant. They spoke to a waiter, who was looking at us and then they demanded our passports. They could speak no English and I couldn’t speak Hungarian, but I could tell what they wanted. I put my socks back on and motioned for Joel to continue eating. I got our passports and showed the policemen our photos. They examined our passports, which were stamped. I showed them my book and pictures of me with Pope John Paul II and photographs of me with Yasser Arafat. I motioned that I was walking around the world. I was smiling and happy and I asked them, “Are you sure you speak no English…speak any English?”
They shook their heads. They couldn’t speak a word of English. I began shaking their hands and acting as if I were speaking friendly words. I was saying, “Now, in the name of Jesus I bind you Satan in the name of Jesus have these policemen get in their car and leave so I can preach to the crowd of people without fear.”
In a few minutes the policemen holstered their Billy clubs, turned and left the restaurant, got in their car and drove off. The people rushed around us in amazement.
When we finished eating a huge crowed gathered around us as we walked through the heart of the city. Someone interpreted and we share Jesus Christ with them.
We had no problems when we arrived at the Yugoslavian border after having walked across most of Hungary. We were only granted a visa for a few days so it wasn’t possible to carry the cross in much of Yugoslavia. We prayed after crossing the border and decided the best thing to do was to drive through most of the country; then stop and carry the cross wherever we felt the Lord led us. We shared Christ in many places along the way; trailer parks and restaurants and then I carried the cross in the area of Prokuplje. Joel and another son, Joshua walked with me in the rural countryside. We felt this was what the Lord wanted us to do. Because of our short visa, our time to carry the cross was limited.
When we arrived in Bulgaria we were only granted a 30-hour visa. The time we were being allowed in countries was getting shorter and shorter. The cars in front of us at the Bulgarian border were being searched. The agents looked through the cars, took everything out of the car and even searched the drivers’ pockets. When our car arrived at the border with a 12-foot cross with a wheel on it, tied to the top of the car, the agents just motioned us through. No problems! We were in Bulgaria!
It took most of our 30 hours in Bulgaria to drive across the country toward Turkey. We drove for miles and then along the main highway we stopped and unloaded the cross. Joel, Joshua and I began walking. As we walked along the road near some fields, a motorcycle policeman rode up to us. He looked at the cross and then at us. I kept walking and said to the boys, “This is it.”
I prayed, “Lord, confuse his mind.” And God did. We continued to walk and pray and act normally. God did it, finally the policeman raced off, but he continued looking back at us. The Lord had confused his mind!
We witnessed to several people…a farmer in the field came up to us and we shared with him about Jesus. He could speak a little English so we prayed with him. Now it was time to drive on to the Turkish border.