Palestine West Bank & Israel 1982, 2007 & 2011
My son Joshua and I entered Israel in 1982. We rented a car and tied the cross on top and drove to Lebanon and on to Beirut during the war there. Please read the report on the Lebanon, as it will complete this story by telling the start of the trip from Jerusalem.
Following are excerpts from my diary:
Joshua and I carried the cross into Israel this afternoon. No problem at the border with Lebanon.
“It’s the man with the cross. You are famous. Can we have your photo?”
In Israel, car after car stopped us. Army trucks, jeeps …it was difficult to walk. People are so friendly.
We carried the cross on down to Acre and then walked on south toward the West Bank. We did two newspaper interviews today. Joshua who had been with me in the war in Lebanon went to stay with some friends in Jerusalem. I carried the cross on. I sure miss him. At 12 years old is a giant man of God.
Today, just before dark, a man stopped his car and he and his wife came up to me. “Meet a man who loves God, who loves peace, and who wants nothing.” We had a great visit, and then he asked, “Where do you sleep?
“At the first place anyone asks me to,” I said.
“We would love to have you in our home,” he said. “But we are Jews. Does that matter?”
I laughed and replied, “Well, I was hoping to get to meet one of those around here.”
They laughed. I stayed the night with them and the wife cooked me two meals. They had one meal at 6:30, then another dinner at 11:00. They put the cross at the door of their house and invited their friends at the Moshav Hayogev to come in and talk with me. The lady who was about 65 years old, said, “I make jewelry and sometimes get requests for crosses. I bought a book once with different designs of crosses in it, but I’ve never understood anything about why people want crosses. Could you tell me about it?”
What a question to ask the world cross carrying pilgrim!
We had a long conversation and I explained the life of Jesus and then His death on the cross for our sins. Now the cross has a powerful meaning for them.
Carrying the cross through the hotly disputed West Bank. Today I carried the cross through Janin. The Palestinian people are so great to me. They were stopping me all day to talk and to hear the witness of Jesus. I carried the cross on through the mountains to Nablus. It was a great walk up and down these historic mountains. People brought food and drink. It was glorious.
I spent the night at Jacob ‘s Well, which is the well where Jesus asked the woman to give Him water to drink. A priest gave me a room there and water from the well. It was my only food. Praise the Lord! What a place to lay my head.
As I was walking up a mountain with the cross an Israeli Army bus coming from Lebanon stopped. The troops were all trying to talk to me at once. It was absolute confusion! Finally they asked me to come into the bus. I left the cross and went inside. They all got quiet. There were about 80 men and women. Most of them still had their guns in their hands. I was so hot and tired. I decided to get right to the point.
I said, “I carry the cross to share the good news of Jesus on earth, to show that He loves you and that God sent Him to live and die for our sins. He rose again and lives today. The way we can know God is through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The temple has been torn down. There is no longer a blood sacrifice made in Jerusalem for the sins of the people, but Jesus Christ is without sin, and He is holy. He died on the cross. That was His sacrifice, and that is sufficient to pay for your sins. When you accept His death on the cross you can have peace with God and know Him as your Savior.”
The glory of God came onto that bus! I finished my talk with a prayer and then the soldiers burst into applause, then rushed off the bus, blocking traffic. They grabbed the cross and held it up into the air and took pictures. I was crying. Many of the soldiers were crying.
“Thank you for coming to us and for going to West Beirut. Please stay on the road! It makes the world a better place.”
They finally drove off waving and smiling. I was weeping. Oh, Lord. How wonderful! How wonderful!
I carried the cross on through Ramallah and then on to Jerusalem.
What a day! I carried the cross through Old Jerusalem for the third time. The first time was in 1977, the second in 1980, and now it is 1982. This time I came on foot from Beirut, Lebanon from the very door of death. Joy flooded my soul. I was home! I guess in some strange way most people who have ever been here feel that Jerusalem is home. It is THE CITY of the world!
I looked over the city with Joshua was beside me. We stood on the Mount of Olives where Jesus had ascended into heaven and where He had wept and sweat drops of blood the night before his crucifixion. We carried our crosses down the old trail and into the city walls, along the Via del a Rosa to the church of the Holy Sepulcher and to the Garden Tomb. The cross had arrived the third time to Calvary where Christ had died for our sins. I was happy, but sad. Still the world lies in darkness even though light has come.
We spent several days more speaking in Jerusalem and carrying the cross.
God bless the people of these Bible lands.
Dr. Bob Lindsey, the dear pastor of the Narcus Street Baptist Church in Jerusalem. He is just one of the most brilliant and Jesus centered persons I have ever known.
He is one of the world’s top experts in Hebrew, and is so full of love and kindness. The Narcus Street Church is a fellowship of believers from every background including Jewish, Arab and Christian. It is truly an international body of Christ living in a truly New Testament spirit. I am officially their missionary to the world.
Dr. Wes Brown, scholar and private teacher to me, and great leader in the pursuit of all the truth about Jesus.
Colonel Dobbie and his wife Flo, who ministered at the Garden Tomb during my first two visits and who now work with the Christian Embassy in Jerusalem. They have always received me with love and honor. He is a mighty influence for our Lord there.
Reverend Jan Willem Van der Hoeven, at the Christian Embassy who has stood with me on each visit.
I could go on and on … Dr. Scott, Leon, John and others. What a family in Jerusalem. The church of believers in Jerusalem has always welcomed, helped and loved us. We say “Thank you.” You live in my heart always