51 years of carrying the cross around the world by Arthur Blessitt

Glory! This is the 51st year of walking carrying a 12 foot cross around the world. (1968-2019) My mind is focused on Jesus!  As of October 17, 2019 I’ve walked with the cross 43,326 miles (69,726 km) including every nation, major island group and territory. For the Glory of God. Jesus did it. At the age of 78 I’m still carrying the cross in 2019! This is the Guinness World Record for the World’s longest walk/pilgrimage. 86 million steps, over 19 billion pounds carried as I walked with the cross. The weight is figured by the total of my body weight and the cross weight on my shoulders multiplied by the number of steps.

The faces of millions of people I have seen or met along the way flood my memory. As a young pastor the night Jesus called me to full time evangelism as I prayed on a hilltop outside of Elko, Nevada. Jesus showed me the sky filled with the faces of people I had never seen before. People of all colors, races, cultures and religions. It was to these I was called. None of these faces I had ever seen before. His call to me was the world! I have now seen almost all the faces I saw that night. I believe when I see the last face Jesus will call me home.

This took place about four years before Jesus called me to make the 12 foot cross and take the first steps with it. I was then 27 years old. I had no idea what lay ahead or that my life would become so intertwined with the cross. I got a taste of carrying the cross in 1968 and 1969. But little did I know it would consume my life when I walked out of Hollywood, California down Sunset Strip on Christmas Day, 1969 heading east toward New York and Washington DC.

I was to become a fool in the eyes of many and a saint in the eyes of others. The road with the cross would lead me through wars, jungles, deserts, cities and to every continent, nation and major island group and territory.

I walked into the world to meet people face to face. To hear the hurting and lost calling out to hear the message of love and hope as well as the screams of hate, anger and rejection.

To help lead people to know Jesus as their Savior and Lord is the ultimate mission of carrying the cross and of my life. I preach and share the Gospel message of the cross, the Holy Blood of Jesus shed for our sins on the cross. The call is to repent of our sins, believe and trust in Jesus and to follow Him. Nothing is greater than to share the hope and life there is in the resurrected Christ.  

Along the way I was to kiss the lepers, touch the sick and diseased. I wept with the hurting and shared hope with the lost and dying. I saw the love of Jesus manifested in peoples lives and rejoiced with them along the roads. Sometimes one person and at other times with tens of thousands of people.

The people of the world have welcomed us or we would not be here. We ate their food, drank their drinks, slept on their mats or bed and were welcomed as family the world over. However, neither the cross or Jesus or ourselves were always welcomed.
The curses rang out, knives at my neck, guns at my head, a firing squad with guns pointed at me, spit on my face, beaten and so often in danger, arrested 24 times and in 54 nations at war. My life became a saga of struggles and triumph, praise and damnation. Attacked from every direction beyond what anyone could imagine. Don’t ever think that carrying the cross around the world will only attract applause.

I’ve carried in my heart the suffering of the poor, the hungry and wept with the pain of seeing injustice, discrimination, hate, killings, wars and persecution. The attacks on the followers of Jesus in our world is so common. Lack of freedom of religion is rampant. It has been a true miracle that my wife Denise and I have gone openly into all these nations that have sought to destroy and restrict the Bible, the cross and the message of Jesus. Yet Jesus led us in and led us out.

The cross the devil hates. Anything to destroy the cross or the cross carrier is open game. I had to reach the point where criticism and praise affect me the same.

There were no bodyguards to protect. The way of the pilgrim is not to defend yourself but to bless your enemies. To love in the face of hate, lies, evil and discord. This has been for us to live out and put into practice as Jesus has asked us to do.

Our life of walking with the cross and sharing the message of the cross… Jesus has been hard for many to comprehend. Denise and I are too religious for many of the secular and too secular for many of the religious. The cross shakes everything up. I’ve been turned away from leaving my cross at over half the churches I’d asked to leave my cross at overnight but was never turned away from leaving my cross at a bar.

I want to clearly say that my wife Denise is fearless and loving yet strong and a true follower of Jesus. So often she is in front of me and faces the dangers first. God knew that I could not make it without her. She is as much a part of the cross mission as I am. We are one. How awesome to have been blessed with Denise by my side.

Many don’t know where we fit. I’ve been welcomed and kissed on the cheek by Yasser Arafat in the middle of war, spent the night at Prime Minister Begin’s home in the Sinai, received the Sinai Peace medal in Egypt at the Presidential Palace, met with Pope John Paul II in Rome, took Billy Graham into the battlefield in Belfast, prayed with George W. Bush in Midland, Texas, preached on stage during the 1960’s with Janis Joplin, Bob Dylan talked with me in the park as I preached in Miami, have been welcomed by the President of the United Nations General Assembly and preached at some of the largest churches and stadiums in the world. On and on I could go.

The path of the cross winds it way through every nation in the middle east and the world including North Korea. Our lives as pilgrim followers of Jesus has led my wife and I and also my children to feel that the world is our home. Fifty years with the cross has changed me as well as it has changed others. I feel as much at home in a crowded Indian market as I do in Los Angeles. I feel more at home kicking a ball made with rags by African children than I do at Disney World. I love to preach on the roadsides with no time clock and live stream on the internet for as long as I want to. It is too hard now to fit me into an 18 minute sermon inside a lovely building with a time clock that turns red when you go overtime.

On the road I returned to my early young days of preaching in jails where there was no music. So I have preached the world over with no music groups or worship music to warm up the crowd. I just speak and the people who want to hear will stay.

When I walk, I walk with Jesus. Wherever we go we share Jesus. Whatever we do we seek to lift up Jesus. That is my passion. I am just a simple Jesus loving gospel preacher and a lover of people the world over. We love all people. We share Jesus and when people meet Him He gives them a new heart and life. When the heart is changed the life starts to look more like Jesus. I stay focused on letting Jesus change people, not me.

Another thing I’ve learned is commitment to the call and mission Jesus gives for us to live. To stay determined and to go forward no matter what is ahead. I learned early on that ‘circumstances don’t alter the call’. We are to act and not live our life reacting to the events, words or actions of others. Follow Jesus.

I am a work in progress. Jesus has been grinding me to powder so that He can blow me where He will. I’m a saved sinner. Every day I pray and repent and say “Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God have mercy on me a sinner.” I love the Holy Spirit showing me where I have failed and welcome God being the Potter molding me and making me more like Jesus. I want to be convicted of my sins, things I may do or things I did not do or thoughts that are not from the Mind of God. I truly love to follow Jesus.

I love the Bible, the Word of God. I quote scriptures as I walk, sing songs to the Lord along the road. I worship and praise God. Jesus likes my company too. I love to live in the Presence of God the Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.

One day soon I shall take my last breath and will step into the glory of Heaven and onto the streets of Gold to meet my God the Lord of Hosts.

I feel that I’ve had the most blessed life in the world. From a child I’ve sought to follow Jesus. I recommend Jesus to you.
See your sin…Understand your need, repent and welcome Jesus who shed His Holy Blood on the cross for my sins and yours. Ask Jesus to save you and come to live in your heart right now. Start following Jesus without shame. Tell others the message of salvation in Jesus.

The greatest value in this world for a follower of Jesus is to lead a lost person to Jesus to be saved. I live from one soul saved to the next. A person’s soul and where they will spend eternity is the most important thing in the world. Jesus said “what shall it profit a person if they should gain the whole world but lose their own soul.” If we say we love others yet do not care where they spend eternity, something is very wrong.

Together we shall see a world-wide awakening as the cross is shared and Jesus lifted up in all the earth.

The cross has been with me for so long my body has been changed by the weight of the cross…my shoulder, my feet and my knees, etc. But most of all the weight of the cross and the Presence of Jesus has changed me, my heart and life.

I close with this thought. Simon of Cyrene was in Jerusalem at the time appointed by God to be there to help Jesus carry the cross to Calvary. Simon was a sinner like you and me but he could help Jesus on the way to the place where Jesus was to die on the cross. Simon could help carry the cross but Simon could not die for the sins of the world. Only Jesus, the Word that became Flesh and lived without sin could do that. God gave Himself and shed His Blood for our salvation that whosoever will may come.

After the cross and the resurrection and Jesus ascending into heaven those that know Him as Savior are to be His witnesses.
We are to carry the cross into all the world with the message of Jesus.

I don’t know why but before Jesus called me to carry a large life-sized cross on a long journey, it to my knowledge had never been done before. Sure some had carried the cross at Easter and others a few miles. But I have never been able to find any historical evidence of a person carrying a large cross across nations or continents. I am so humbled and truly unworthy to even carry the cross. But I learned that Jesus’ call makes me worthy. I have learned not to follow the normal but to be willing to step out and break through the walls that have been holding back the bold and daring in their journey of following Jesus and His radical callings.

Now there are thousands carrying large crosses in nations and cities all over the world. What Jesus called me to do has opened the floodgates and people will be carrying large crosses until Jesus comes. May God bless all those who are or will be carrying crosses for Jesus as a witness to others and God bless all the pilgrims who are following Jesus. I encourage you on your journey. Remember this world is not our home. We are but pilgrims and strangers “For the gate is small and the way is narrow that leads to life, and there are few who find it.” Jesus said.

This is just another step on the long journey with the cross for the One that is truly Worthy! Jesus, Jesus, Jesus!
Worthy is the Lamb! Amen. All Glory to God.

Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt, Luke 18:1;

Copyright © 2019 All Rights Reserved.

Comments (13)

  1. Felt a nudge in my heart to check on you and the family. So glad you are still on his side of Heaven.

    I began covering you many years ago, during the time you traversed through the jungle… when others turned back and refused to follow. I still laugh at one of my favorite prayers I learned from you. Lord, kill anything that moves, thank you, Amen

    As we draw closer to see our Beloved coming back for us, I just wanted to see how you were enduring to the end. Blessings friend, I may no longer be ministering in the Amazon jungle, but it does not look like you have slowed your roll.

    When the time comes, just take that final step…. into eternity.

    Sherry Lyn

    1. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
      You have stirred my heart for evangelism again and I’m crying tears of gratitude.
      God bless you and your family, continue to fight the good fight.

  2. Very happy to know you are still serving Jesus. My name is joe Canipe. I am married to Elaine Galloway who who a member of the youth ministry at Glen Haven Baptist church in Decatur Ga. You were there when Larry Ferguson was music and youth pastor. I was the youth pastor that took Larry’s place when he left. Elaine and I are in ministry in NC . She and I were glad to find your website. May our precious Lord continue to bless and use you. Joe Canipe

  3. I hear you are in my town of Hamilton VA this afternoon. I’d love to walk and talk with you but I have a daycare in my home and can’t leave the children. God bless you and if you need a meal or anything at all we are on Stone Eden.

  4. We saw posts today about your story and live off of Rt 7 in Western Loudoun. Please let my husband and I know if you and your wife would like to share a meal. Our home is open to you. Blessings.

  5. What a ministry! I have never heard or seen you before, but I saw a post about you walking around Loudoun and Berryville for the past few days. My husband Matt and I would love to have you and your wife over for a meal. We live in Berryville. May the Lord almighty continues to walk with you and let his name be glorified! Blessings to you today and always.

  6. I saw this article online today and was so happy to read about how you have continued your ministry for all these years. Over 50 years ago, when I was in High School in Atlanta, GA, you came to our school and spoke at an assembly for all the students. Then you invited us to hear you at a local church – I went with my girlfriend, and on that day I came forward and received Jesus and He totally changed my life. I’ve wanted to write you to thank you for being His messenger for me. I read the Bible as you encouraged us to do starting at the book of Matthew – but when I came to Matthew Chapter 6, I thought that I had never met anyone who had truly trusted God – taking no thought for the morrow, but trusting Him to care for us and provide. I fell away for a few years, got into some drugs etc. But a year later the Lord got ahold of me and called me to serve Him. I have been involved in full-time service for the Lord for the past 50 years, and I wanted to thank you Arthur for leading me to Him! I know you have a great crown of reward in Heaven!

  7. AWESOME ! I get so excited every time I log on and read your inspiration you give. The DAY OF THE LORD message was so special. And
    the fog you experienced I know was sent by GOD to give you an extra special day. GLORY GLORY GLORY ! Thank you Arthur and Denise for your witness for Jesus.
    Love and prayers
    Keith @ Stephanie

  8. Thank you for all that you have done in the name of Jesus. In January 1984, we walked, talked and prayed together on Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, California. Precious sweet memory. Wendy

  9. Beloved Arthur and Denise Ron and I rejoice with you over the victory of your lives laid down and desire with all our hearts to follow the trail of tears, joy, blood, love, sacrifice, obedience and glory for Jesus that you are walking before us. Arthur you said you were going to put my prayer need on your cross and pray until I told you all is well. I have never been so moved in my life. I know what that cross is and means in and through your life. I’m not worthy. Your prayers are precious oil before the Lord and He Is Answering. He Is Doing a huge Work in my life and I know He Will Complete it. Your prayers are priceless to me and to us. We love you Arthur and Denise and we are believing for many more days, miles, steps and souls and joy unspeakable for your lives as you continue with your hearts and eyes fixed on Him and His Glory. Thank you with all of our hearts. Lord God Let us go and do likewise in Jesus Name.

  10. Dear Arthur and Denise, I recently ordered your movie, “The Cross”. We showed it at our little Assembly of God Church in Yarnell, Arizona last night. All were blessed and deeply moved. Thank you Jesus for the work you have done in Arthur and Denise’s lives. Your lives exemplify what true surrender to Christ’s Call looks like and that it is possible! If you are ever in Arizona, please know that you have an open invitation to share a meal and a night’s stay in my humble home in Peeples Valley. I have so many questions to ask you and would be honored to have you. God Bless You and your dear family! Your Sister in Christ, Shirley

  11. Hi Arthur my name is Kim I was wondering if you were in Redding California not that long ago I think we saw you at an intersection carrying a cross also was wondering when you walked around the world with the cross did you have problems getting out of plane to go overseas

  12. Praise GOD! You and your wife are so loyal-faithful to GOD no matter the cost. The LORD JESUS WHO paid the ULTIMATE PRICE on the cross is Well Pleased I’m sure! If you’re ever in Long Island, New York/Port Washington-you and your wife are welcome to come for dinner there or in Glen Cove. Thank you for your faith, dedication and love for the LORD. It bolsters my faith and I’m sure many other’s

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