Today, Sunday, December 14, 1980, I arrived in Papua, New Guinea. It was unreal, awesome, powerful, and glorious. I knew no one in the country, and had never spoken to anyone in the country. I had told a friend in Australia that I was going to New Guinea. He telephoned some missionaries in New Guinea and told them I would be walking with the cross in their country. I expected no one at the airport but as the plane landed I could see crowds of people lining the airport fence. They began to wave and shout. As we came off the airplane I saw “one way” fingers pointed toward heaven. I could hear words about Jesus… Hallelujah! Glory to God! Hundreds of people were waiting for me, screaming, “Praise God, Hallelujah!” I shall never forget that crowd.
As I came through the Immigration and Customs I could hear the Jesus cheers and singing that poured through Customs. It was electrifying! Finally I walked out with my son Joshua and a friend, Mike Ooten. The crowds of people grabbed at me, screaming, tearing at me, pushing and shoving to touch me. They took the cross over their heads and began carrying it out of the building. They grabbed our bags, some going one way and some another. Then they grabbed me and lifted me above their shoulders and began carrying me out of the airport. A sea of black faces… the airport was in total confusion!
I knew no one … I lost Joshua and I couldn’t see Mike Ooten .Â We had expected no one to greet us, but the power of God descended. It was indescribable!
I was dripping wet with sweat in the scorching heat as I led a huge man to Jesus. The crowd gathered and I found a spot to stand on the back of a truck and I began to preach. The power of the glory of God came. Hundreds of people praying, welcoming Jesus into their lives. This was my arrival in Papua New Guinea.
* * *
Today followed in the steps of yesterday, great and glorious mighty beyond words.
I was in town at noon and a man came to see me and said, “Joe is in hiding, would you meet him?” Joe was the head of one of the biggest gangs in Papua New Guinea and one of the country’s most wanted criminals. I agreed, and went into a back room to meet with him. The power of God fell on him immediately and he began to weep and was saved. It was awesome! He rounded up about 30 other gang leaders from around the city and they came to see me. I spoke to the group and there seemed to be no response, but then I asked them to come to the cross and pray. Many were saved. People began calling out to Jesus to change their lives and save them. Gang leader after gang leader came to the cross, knelt and prayed and gave their lives to Jesus. Everyone was shaken. Leaders of the two largest gangs in Port Moresby were converted in one day. Tomorrow night we will have a rally.
* * *
This is unbelievable… we are living in God’s time. There was a great story of my walk in today’s newspaper that covers the city and most of the nation. I did two radio programs that covered the entire nation in the various languages of the country. They call me “Cross Man.”
Over 750 languages are spoken in this country, one of the most primitive countries in the world. New Guinea, where many horrible World War II battles were fought is a country of many islands and different languages. Many of the people still carry spears, bows and arrows, while a few cities trying to modernize. It is into this place that the Lord has led me.
Today, as I carried the cross through Port Moresby, I saw hundreds and thousands coming to Jesus. The whole place is shaken by the power of God. I prayed for five people today to be healed and all five were healed. This is the truth, when I was in a large crowd of people, one man came up to me and I could see his arm was drawn back and his fingers were drawn and immobile. His limp arm would only twitch a little bit. He had suffered a stroke over a year ago. I was shaken. “Lord, this is like an impossible case. What do I do?” And I felt God telling me, “Pray for him and I will heal him.” It took all the faith I had, but finally I looked at the man and said, “Sir, in the name of Jesus, God wants to heal you. Reach out your arm to me, I want to shake your hand.”
Everyone was staring in amazement. The man reached out his arm and, before my eyes, his fingers straightened out, his wrist was loose, his arm was strengthened and he was healed completely! I saw it… I was shaken and the people were shaken!
* * *
Imagine a hill and valley of houses surrounded by hills and as far as you can see, people running down the road toward the cross. All traffic had to stop because of the swelling sweeping crowd following behind the cross. Old ladies running with babies in their arms, little children pushing and shoving, trying to get near. Young people trying to get Jesus stickers, trying to hear the word of God. It was awesome! The leader of every street gang in town was now walking beside the cross. We preached to crowds of thousands and thousands and hundreds were saved.
* * *
Most times I don’t see people healed. There have been only a few instances. Normally when I see people healed, it’s when I am walking down the road, and usually when I see healing, everyone is healed and the healing takes place every time. This healing power lasts for only a matter of minutes, hours or sometimes for a matter of days. Everyone is healed, not just a few. I have no explanation. It is astonishing to me. But most of the time when people ask me to pray or come to me for healing, I don’t see the people healed. When God does the healing, it is complete and it is astounding. Praise the Lord!
I’ve been here less than a week and I’ve seen 120 gang members saved. Every gang leader in Port Moresby is now converted to Jesus Christ. The main leader who was converted the first day has now turned himself in to the police and he was returned to prison where he had escaped. But soon he will be released for authorities have said they had never seen such a change.
There has been a drought here. It hasn’t rained since March. People need rain and are praying for rain. Today it rained… the heaviest rainfall on record. All the people were saying, “It’s the cross! It’s the cross! The cross came and it has begun to rain.”
Today I carried the cross through the largest village in Papua New Guinea. The chief and the old man of the village presented me with The most important thing they had to give me… a necklace with a huge boar’s tusk surrounded by shells and two nuts. I was made me a New Guinea tribesman. The tribesmen also gave a similar gift to Joshua. Now we are real Papua New Guinea people!
* * *
If I said this was a glorious Christmas Eve, it would be a poor adjective. This day is beyond words!
I started carrying the cross in Mt. Hagen today at 8:00 p.m. Hundreds followed us everywhere. People in grass skirts, some in little bark G-string skirts, others with feathers in their hair, some in western dress. All came to hear the word of God, and to see for a moment what was happening. The man with the cross was here. The power of God poured out. People were on their knees with their hands up. People were crying out to Jesus. I preached over and over. At noon today I preached in a huge market. Near a primitive jungle I saw two very old men sitting at the foot of the cross touching it… one was wearing a G-string and the other was in old pants. They were so precious. I asked another man to try to talk to them but they couldn’t communicate. They seemed to have heard about Jesus but knew nothing about the cross, yet they were drawn to it. They were looking at and touching every inch of the cross. Finally, I found someone who could interpret and both of the men gave their lives to Jesus.
I preached Christmas Eve night at the Philadelphia Church. It was one of the greatest movements I have ever seen. As I was preaching in the crowded building, surrounded by a sea of black faces all along the walls and out the door, the Lord gave me this vision. I could see all the people for 2,000 years … the black, red, brown, white, every color, every look, every description… and I could see them all glorying to the cross, glorying in the Lord.
I was preaching on the Scripture passage where angels sang the night that Jesus was born, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men.” The angels were glorifying God and I was thinking of all the people through all the ages of every color that had gloried in the cross and gloried in Jesus. I was crying, the people were crying. It was awesome. All I could feel inside the church was that the angels were there!
It seems as though Jesus must have been standing outside the church. No one saw anything, no one was looking out, but I’ve never been in a meeting before where I felt the Lord was standing there and all around… His glory, His angels… we glorified God like Revelations 5 where it says, “Worthy is the lamb that was slain to receive power and riches and wisdom and strength and honor and glory and blessings.”
These were primitive people and God was visiting them and they were all crying out. It went on and on and on. The whole church was caught in the glory of the Lord and we glorified God and praised Him. I never wanted to leave that place, for it was the greatest Christmas Eve I had ever spent. But I had to leave as I had plans to preach down the road. I continued on with the cross and the people followed me. They were singing and clapping. It was just beautiful as we walked with the cross. Joshua and my interpreter, Charles, were with me. I arrived at the Catholic Church. The priest had asked me to come that night and preach at this, the most important Mass of the year… Christmas Eve Mass. Just as it turned into Christmas Day. Thousands of people packed the church and stood all around it. Seas of people were inside and out the church. We pushed through the crowd to take the cross to the altar. The priests were Polish and American. When I arrived they had me speak and the glory of God came … strongly and powerfully. I shared about Jesus and the people coming to the cross of Jesus at His birth. The people were smiling and crying. I prayed for the people to invite Jesus into their hearts. There was no way to have an altar call, for there were so many people you couldn’t move. But it was glorious! Jesus was there! I don’t think it could have been any more wonderful than it was the night Jesus was born except we could have seen him face to face. It seemed that the Lord was all around the place!
The priest took me to the rear of the church to the little place where they lived and we ate some cake and prayed together. We cried and made a circle and hugged each other, and spoke of the beautiful love of the Lord. I stood there with these priests who sacrificed marriage and children, but were full of the love of Jesus and working and giving their lives in the cause of Christ. That Christmas night, first in a Protestant, then in a Catholic church, I felt the unifying bond of Jesus Christ and had the greatest Christmas Eve I’ve ever known. I’ve seen a great move of God’s Spirit in Papua New Guinea. It was powerful!
Praise the Lord; it has been 11 years today, December 25, 1980,
that I have been carrying the cross around the world. And here I am in the jungles of New Guinea on Christmas Day … Hallelujah.
All along the road today I can only see a sea of black faces. People pouring out of the mountains onto this little trail as far as
you can see, women suckling babies, carrying loads, old men, young women, hundreds, thousands… people rush up saying,
“I’m a bad sinner, can you help me?” What an awesome, awesome time!
* * *
January 1, 1981 – God did a mighty miracle today. Peace was the word and salvation came. There is deep violence in this nation and in this area it is at its worst. There is war between the tribes. There was no traffic on the highway today, only Army and police patrols. Load after load of them drove down the highway toward the fighting. We were warned by the Christians not to walk, but I felt we couldn’t concede one day to the devil. We can’t concede one moment to him!
We were on the road at 4:30 a.m. Crowds were waiting all along the way to see the cross, not to fight. The police were amazed. This was the first peaceful New Year’s Day in many years. Everyone was waiting for the cross.
Today deep conviction, the glory gets more, more, if it’s possible. I climbed up an 8,093 feet mountain. Not many people were at the top, but when we came down… wow! It was unbelievable! We met a crowd of about 100 men dressed in g-strings and war masks, all carrying spears and bows and arrows. I learned they had come
from miles around. One of the chiefs, through an interpreter, said, “We welcome you. We have gathered to greet you. You are a man of God.” Then he held up a spear and presented it to me. He said, “This is our spear of war, but the cross has brought peace to us. We surrender the spear to the power of the cross. We have heard
about Jesus and the cross, now we’ve seen it.” I then preached to them. They all knelt and gave their lives to Jesus Christ. Hallelujah!
I was walking down the road one day and saw a small group of about 50 people. Through the interpreter I learned they had walked for three days and had sat at the roadside for another three days to see the cross. Six days to see the cross! After I preached and shared everything I knew about Jesus, I kissed them and prepared to leave. As I started to walk away, my interpreter Charles said, “Arthur.” “What?” I asked, as I turned back to him. “These people say you told them that Jesus was coming again and that we should be ready for His coming. That He was born, lived without sin, died on the cross, rose again and ascended into heaven.” They have a question to ask you. They heard that the man with the cross was coming and they walked for three days and waited for three days, then you came. They are wondering if they should wait for Jesus here at the roadside or should they go on back to their village?”
Tears poured down my cheeks as I thought of the tremendous thrill and excitement they had for the return of Christ. It was so powerful to see these who were so excited about the return of Jesus. Should they stay and wait for Him or should they go back to their village? Glory to God!
As far as the eye can see, clear to the top of the hill and all the way back down the road was masses of people. The road was completely blocked. It was chaos. It is the largest meeting I’ve had so far. Thousands upon thousands of people crowded around. It was awesome. I preached a sermon in the center of the city where people were weeping, on their knees, they were crying. It was just unbelievable… unbelievable! Glory, glory!
Today was another one of those unbelievable days. It was glorious… a day of salvation and joy. Thousands welcomed the cross into the city. The highway was blocked as thousands poured into the streets. The police were trying their best to keep order, but it was hopeless. There must have been 25,000 to 30,000 people lining the roads for miles into town. It was impossible to stop and preach to all of them because we had the entire road blocked. One can never know what is it like to see this… the people along the road, in the trees, standing on the tops of cars, sitting on top of houses, waving and cheering, pushing and shoving to see the cross and follow along for a while. The power of God fell as I preached hard. At noon there was a sea of people as I preached. Thousands prayed and confessed Jesus Christ as their savior.
The front page of the local newspaper featured a picture of a little nude black boy. He had gotten lost in front of the hospital as a huge crowd surged past trying to see the cross – he was swept up in the crowd. The police had looked for him all over the city and finally two people found him wandering along the road far from where he had been reported lost. A picture of the cross and me shared the front page with this little boy. What a sensation!
* * *
I preached time after time in this town and then tonight as I stood to preach, the glory of God came. People began to weep and to wail… it was unreal. So strong was the conviction of God that I stopped preaching. I felt God say, “120 people will surrender to preach.”
I gave the invitation for preachers. When we counted 120 people were standing at the front to go and preach the good news of Jesus. Hundreds and hundreds of others were saved. A spirit or repentance has been sweeping this place, deep conviction of sin. People overcome with guilt and sadness… a desire to be clean. One man came running up and said, “Give me a new name.” “What do you mean?” I asked. “A witch doctor gave me my name,” he said, “but now I know Jesus and I want a new name.” I gave him my name.
Today I went by boat from Madang to Wewak. It was an unbelievable trip. It
was only supposed to take about 12 hours – but it took 24 hours. A huge
storm came up and we almost sank. Waves swept up and over the boat.
I was seasick for 24 hours nonstop. When we got off the boat crowds of
people waiting to see the man with the cross and for me to preach.
Glory to God!
Today I saw over 5,000 people converted in a massive response. People were gathered as far as you could see in every direction in this small town of maybe 2,000 or 3,000. The police and army estimated there were from 10,000 to 15,000 people gathered.
Manus Island – Mike and I arrived by airplane unloaded the cross and came into the little town. It was just one of the most wonderful days that one could ever live in this world. Unreal- awesome- crowds gathering before we got up. I preached 22 times today from 8:00 a.m. to 12:30 the next day. We went almost non-stop, preaching everywhere – in the market, stores, schools, and the hospital, a radio station, and at the government headquarters. There was a little boy that followed me all day and he called me his father. I loved him, oh, I loved him. People are coming from all over the island to see the cross. There is deep conviction, everyone wanting to shake my hand. I have never seen such hand-shakers!
A committee from the Catholic Church asked me to carry the cross and speak there tonight and the Evangelical Church decided to unite with them. That night we gathered at night at the Catholic Church and the people were everywhere – all over the altar, all over the floor, the seats were all filled, many were standing inside
and hundreds and hundreds more were outside. It was glorious singing. It was pouring torrential rains, yet no one outside left. Hour after hour they stood soaking wet. It was awesome. I believe it was one of the more spirit-filled meetings I have ever seen. I preached in the glorious power of the Holy Spirit. I stood the cross up and began to preach as the people wept and wailed. Seven people stood and gave testimonies of having received Jesus as their personal Savior, and then as I gave the invitation, crowds of people flooded the front. People were weeping. Their hands were on the cross. It was unbelievable – hour after hour after hour. I finally went over to the priest’s house at 3:00 in the morning and we talked, came back and the church was still packed, people crying and weeping. In the early morning hours I lay down and fell to sleep.
What could top yesterday? Today! In the morning I met with the Acting Prime Minister of Manus Island and then went to the airport. I’ll never forget two ladies that come all the way across the island to see me.
They had arrived too late, so they got a ride to the airport and caught up with me just before the small propeller plane arrived. The two ladies came running up, their front teeth were rotted out and they were chewing beetle nuts, which when mixed with lime makes a red juice – a kind of drug. Their hair was a mess and they were smoking cigarettes, but they were smiling and crying and hugging me. They were so happy. I knelt and
prayed with them and they gave their lives to Jesus Christ. I think it is one of the most beautiful scenes of pure love I’ve ever witnessed, for they weren’t concerned about their hair, their dress, or their missing teeth… but they were smiling, and with open arms they embraced me.
We flew to Kavieng on the island of New Ireland today. It was just unbelievable. All over the Island businesses were closed and people came by boat from surrounding islands as far as 100 miles away to see the cross. Some traveled up to 200 miles on land. The town will normally hold maybe 3,000 people, but there were at least 15,000 people in the area that day. The whole town was blocked off. The police had put up roadblocks and barricades. The schools were on holiday and the government offices were closed. The pastor said he had never even seen most of the people before. Many heard
of my visit from an announcement that was made on radio and others learned of my arrival by word of mouth. Deep conviction was everywhere. It’s impossible to describe the spirit of the people. I preached impassioned… the whole area was shaken by the power of God.
In less than three months in Papua New Guinea, I had preached 493 times to over a quarter of a million people. Almost 70,000 had confessed Jesus Christ as their Savior.
These were some of the most glorious days of my life. Special thanks to Mike Ooten and my son, Joshua Blessitt.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt