Praise God the cross was lifted up above Africa! The last week of October 2003 the cross was carried to an altitude of about 17,000 feet on Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania! When we arrived at the base of the mountain and began bolting the cross together, a crowd gathered and I lifted up the cross, preached and then led them in prayer. It was a glorious beginning and we continued to see many on the mountain pray and come to know Jesus as Savior and Lord.
Our wonderful team of 11 came from the U.S., England and Norway. Each morning and evening and night we had a Bible study led by a different person as we focused on the life of Jesus. We also had a local group of porters, guides and cooks who took great care of us.
The climb itself was not very tough but the chief problem was altitude sickness. We were making a 5-day climb when most do 7 to 10 day trips. I am sure this was God’s plan for us as Joshua and I felt led to make that decision in the arrangements. I was not able to adjust to the fast ascent, and had to walk back down after kneeling over a large rock vomiting blood and water, and then several hours later experiencing altitude blindness! After descending several thousand feet I felt fine.
Denise made a valiant climb for the first day but as you know she had an operation only 20 days before and this resulted in much pain. I am so proud of her attempt and commitment. Ultimately almost everyone became too ill to continue the climb with the altitude problems. We all stopped at our own ‘personal peaks’. Even the guides came down with altitude sickness. But the cross did reach the summit area but not ‘Uluru Peak.” The cross was carried to Hansmayer Cave at 17,000 feet. There Tom Witt, Eugene, Thomas and Rodger held up the cross and prayed.
One of the most profound things in my life was when I made the last heave of almost pure blood and then knew that I was to go no further up. I turned to Joshua, my son as I wiped blood from my lips and said, “Now it is for you to take the cross on up, you must go on. You and
your wife Nina.” Then with tears flowing down my cheeks, I turned to go down and my son and the cross went on up. It was as though an ‘anointing of the Lord Jesus was transferred to my son Joshua’. I cannot explain it, but he felt it too.
He carried the cross with me for 18 years, from a baby to now a 32-year old minister. We have been through wars and deserts and jungles and struggles that only Denise would understand.
Yet now Joshua, Nina and son Gabriel. On the way down the mountain I gathered all the porters, cooks and guides
for a final message of savation in Jesus Christ. Did not want anyone who climbed the mountain with the cross to miss fully understanding the message of Jesus. This message was interpreted into Swahili. Many prayed to receive Jesus.
After we came down from the mountain I carried the cross in Arusha where crowds mobbed around the cross to hear the message of Jesus. Many there came to Jesus. I have had numerous e-mails and letters from Africa since we returned.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt