I needed a driver who could also interpret for me as I crossed the border in my Land Rover from Nigeria into Cameroon.
Praise the Lord; today I found a driver and an interpreter. I couldn’t find a follower of Jesus for this job. The driver I hired is Muslim. He is interpreting, wearing a little Muslim cap, as I preach to big crowds about Jesus. When I asked him if he would interpret correctly and not tell about Mohammad when I’m talking about Jesus, he said, “I swear on Allah my God I will tell the truth.” I answered, “Okay, just tell the truth.”
Tonight when I ended and gave the call, “If you’ll give your life to Jesus right now, then I want you to raise your hand.” Well, my interpreter didn’t say anything, but had his hand up.
“What did you tell them,” I asked. “That if they wanted to give their hearts to Jesus to raise their hand?”
He said, “I do.”
And I said, “No, you didn’t. You didn’t say anything. You are the only one with your hand up. You haven’t told them.’
And he said, “I want to give my life to Jesus Christ.”
I suddenly realized that he was the first convert. So, I just stopped for a few minutes, explained more of the gospel, led him in prayer, and he was converted. Most of the village was converted.
Well, glory to God! I arrived at a village today and believe it or not, they had a kerosene refrigerator! Of all glorious things! And, I had a BIG glass of ice water! Oh, what joy it is to drink cold water! It’s funny, when you live in the midst of abundance, you cannot even conceive of being without it. But when you’ve been without little things for so long, and you finally get them again, they seem so big and important. So it is with life. We take so much for granted. I think living on the road like this heightens it. One really appreciates the little things. Even a bed, you just get so excited when you see a real bed. When you get into a clean house and there are no flies, you can’t believe it. When you find the ultimate, an air conditioner, it feels like heaven and really makes you appreciate everything from the convenience of getting water without having to go and carry it. Most children like just turning on the faucet, they just turn the knob or punch a button and here comes the ice, and open the refrigerator door and it is cold. But that’s not the way most of the world lives. Many people have to carry their water for miles most of their lives, as well as their firewood and food.
November 24, 1973. To my children: It is still possible that I can get home for Christmas. Wow! Wouldn’t that be wonderful! My children, home is where you are. I look forward to that.
You won’t believe this, but I’m having a swinging night at the local go-go. I’m loose and free in Bachooakagbe. Have you ever heard of it? Well, it’s a local hot spot. The men and I have been having a revival!
I’ve been having a long talk with the local repairman, a foreman, a road worker and a large crowd of people who gathered around. I taught from the Bible. After that, I started singing. I’d sing a song and then they would sing a song. Mine would be something normal, and theirs would be, “ooyu bouyoo.’
“It was really fun and we all had a great time. Perhaps, there is not much beauty in my voice, but there is lots of love for Jesus. Many people gave their lives to Christ. The chief even came and joined us. We all sat around and had a beautiful time together.
Tonight while was taking a bath the whole village was gathered around me. It was dark and I thought I was safe. Then a very unusual thing happened. Suddenly a car came around the corner of the road, and there I was, in full spotlight. Now I know how the girls in Hollywood feel.
It was glorious to be with the people.
I was so very tired. I have walked across West Africa and nine countries this year. I had heard of a church mission rest house on the road where I was walking. My heart’s desire was to make it to the rest house and take a day or two off. Some missionaries had told me about it and that it was air-conditioned.
When I arrived carrying the cross the rest house people looked at me with a strange disdain. They informed me this was only for missionaries! I said that I had walked a couple of thousand miles in Africa preaching and carrying the cross. They wanted to know what church group I was with and I told them, “I’m just with Jesus!’ I have preached along the way to just about every group going. I am a follower of Jesus and I have the money to pay for a day or two. I would be so blessed to be able to get a room. They firmly informed me that I could not stay. Only real missionaries from recognized groups could get a stay.
With a broken heart and tears flowing down my cheeks I carried the cross on, ready for another hot night on the road sleeping in the back of my Land Rover.
A car stopped and a man and his wife got out and greeted me. They were teachers in a school ahead and were from Canada. I told them about the crosswalk and my mission for Jesus and witnessed to them. I will never forget their response. They replied that they were not believers in Jesus but atheists. However they would like for me to go to their home just a few miles ahead, spend the night and rest for a few days. The said they had an air-conditioned bedroom! With joy I walked on to their home. They were so wonderful to me. They slept on the couch and gave me their bedroom for two nights. What love! What beautiful people.
I carried the cross through West Africa from Sierra Leone through Cameroon. I had a Land Rover with supplies and a bed inside to sleep in. In each nation or language area I would get a driver that would also be my interpreter when I preached. I would stand on the hood of the Land Rover and preach. The driver would go in front for a few miles or to the next village and wait for me to arrive. Should it be a village I would preach. Most of the time almost everyone in the village or town would gather to hear the messages and see the cross. Often in a day I would preach to a few thousand to tens of thousands of people. Many hundreds to thousands of people prayed the sinner’s prayer to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord and to become followers of Jesus.
Every day was hot. I poured sweat and had to drink, drink, and drink, not to dehydrate. Sometimes I was in open country but much of the time I carried the cross through bush trees with small farms along the roadside. Then every short distance was another village. I could see crowds of people around the Land Rover looking and waiting for me to arrive. I would arrive, get some water to drink then stand on the hood of the Land Rover and preach. Then I would do a brief Bible study of how to live for Jesus.
Then I would sit and rest a few minutes before walking on. People were crowding around trying to talk with me as I rested. Sometimes I used the interpreter but often the people who spoke English came up to talk.
In most villages and towns many people would walk through the streets with me. Sometimes I would have hundreds leave town walking and slowly lose the crowd as we got further out of town.
Oh, I loved the people! Often the village people were bringing me food to eat as I rested.
Late in the evening we would park the Land Rover in a village near a house and spend the night. I liked to sleep in the homemade bed we had constructed inside the back of the Land Rover. With the windows open it had a breeze and all my supplies were nearby. I had a radio and could pick up BBC and VOA radio. This was my way of keeping up with the world.
My main diet was canned food and fresh fruit. In each capital city you could find a store with Western food. I would supply up.
I just lived each day in the Glory of God and in the presence of people. I remember that almost every night I went to sleep with people gathered around the Land Rover peeking in at me. Ha.
What a wonderful way to live. I walked from dawn till night almost every day. I would lie down and rest for about an hour or so at noon. This helped refresh me and also got me out of the hottest time of day.
I had a new driver interpreter and he too was not a believer, but a good driver and interpreter. We preached over and over in village after village. One day when I arrived with the cross he said to me, “Are you going to say the same thing you have been saying for the past several days?’ I told him yes.
He replied, “I know what to say and I can say it better and faster than interpreting for you.’ I let him preach standing on the hood of the Land Rover. I stood beside him and just greeted the people. Many gave their lives to Jesus and prayed the prayer of salvation. I then did the follow up Bible teaching for new converts. On the last day he was with me he asked me to pray with him, as he wanted to receive Jesus as his Savior and follow Jesus. I asked why he had waited so long. He replied, “I wanted my motive to be right. I did not want to be saved to try to get you to give me a big tip of money. You have already paid me and given me a tip. Now I am free to go. Well I truly want to follow Jesus just because of who He is.’
I carried the cross from Nigeria past beautiful and awesome Mt. Cameroon to the capital Douala.
I returned to America just in time to be with my wonderful father when he died. In a few months I returned to Cameroon. I then drove across Africa to Kenya to the carry the cross through East Africa and on to South Africa. That drive took me on the road to the capital of Yaounde and then to the Central African Republic.
I had a wonderful time in the Cameroon. I loved the people and they welcomed the cross and me. So many thousands prayed to receive Jesus as Savior and Lord.
God bless the beautiful people.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt