The following are excerpts from my dairy:
Today we loaded onto the auto ferry from Helsinki to Tallinn, Estonia, one of the Baltic Republics. We watched the Western World vanish as we sailed on the sea toward the former U.S.S.R. It was 1992. Now it was just God, the cross, the Land Rover, a little food, gospel materials and us. We face a turbulent, struggling land. Nothing is certain except the presence of God. Oh, Lord, Thy will be done. Cover us with the Holy blood of Jesus that defeats all the work of Satan. “Thy will be done in us, on earth as it is in heaven!”
It was dark when we arrived and drove off the ship into the cold wind. In Finland, we had gotten a visa for Estonia. Estonia customs only looked in the small trailer and waved us through.
We are parked in a market area of the old city. We raised the top tent that is on the Land Rover and climbed up by a ladder. It’s only a thin cloth so it’s almost like sleeping outside. A huge wind is blowing. It sleeted, rained, and then turned to snow. This top is not made for the cold. There is no heat; we slept with all our clothes on including coats, hats, and facemasks.
It is dawn and we awoke to the cold, our water bottle frozen beside us. Snow everywhere, and a strong wind blowing. The cross is mounted on a rack at the side of the Land Rover. We took it off, prayed and I began walking. We got lost from each other in the city but we returned to where we began and started anew!
The weather seemed to constantly change. First snow, then pouring rain, then a blizzard so strong you could see only a few yards, then sun and cold, then again snow. The sidewalks and roadsides are frozen, snowy, icy, and slippery. A number of people came up to talk. One man took me into a restaurant and fed me a hot meal. At the end of the day we stopped at a hotel to park. They let us have a hot bath, free! Denise was so cold today, I feel so sorry for her but she never complains. She is the greatest. What a struggle it is for her. She is so beautiful all wrapped up with nothing but her eyes showing. Again we are sleeping in the cold cuddled in each other’s arms and wrapped in our clothes and sleeping bag.
Today, the ground was frozen solid, very cold indeed. Our breathing and body heat in the tent at night creates moisture, and then it freezes. Now our bed is wet on top each morning. It gets wet and cold at night. We carried the cross through Parnu, Latvia today. Denise had driven up and parked to wait for me. Just after I arrived a man walked up and spoke English. He was a young pastor of a new church, which meets in a building just beside us. He said he was praying when God told him look out the window, the message is there. He saw the cross and came to us. We went in and preached to these lovely and radiant young people. They had me pray for each person, they were all crying. It was powerful.
Afterward, they took us to a hotel that was a former communist party guest resort. It was free for us as the former communist chief was now a follower of Jesus! We had a bath and a dry bed. Oh, it’s tough but it’s the way I love to live. My love, Denise, is clean, warm, and dry tonight. We love you, Jesus.
We bought gas today, it’s terribly difficult to find. We slept parked by the seaside in a gorgeous place. There was sand, snow, bushes, a lagoon, and sunshine of the Baltic Sea. Denise cooked a great dinner, we are so happy after a long day’s walk. On Easter we preached in a city center and hundreds gathered and many prepared to receive Christ. What a way to live.
During much of 1992 my wife, Denise and I carried the cross through Russia and all of the former USSR. The USSR was just breaking up after the fall of communism. We only had a tourist visa for two weeks in Russia and no permit for the Land Rover and no visa for any of the other countries! Jesus got us through all the borders and checkpoints with no visa or permit. We made it through over 250-armed roadblocks. God led us to places to fill up with gas, as only a few gas stations were open the entire trip. We went from extreme cold and snow to the desert heat all in one historic and glorious trip. The impossible had happened. The cross was carried in all the USSR. All glory to God. Many were saved as the cross was carried in all of these nations.
Denise drove the 4×4 Land Rover. She would drive up the road a few miles and wait for me to arrive carrying the 12-foot cross. I would have something to drink and eat and then walk on. In most of these nations we would drive part of the way and then carry the cross a few days or a week or so. We had Bibles and gospel material in Russian and local languages. The Land Rover was also towing a small trailer with food and the gospel materials. We carried many cans of gas on the Land Rover and inside was a stove. We slept in a pop-up tent on top the Land Rover. When we left England we drove and went by ship to Finland. We crossed over to Estonia and made a complete loop around the USSR and then drove back via Poland and back to England. We drove almost 11,000 miles and I walked many hundreds of miles in the USSR.
In order we carried the cross in the following countries:
Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine, Trans-Dnestr, Moldova, Crimea, Abkhazia, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Tadzikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Siberia and Russia.
Jesus did it. All glory to God.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt