The morning sun beat down and drops of sweat fell from my face as I bolted the cross together near Negombo, Sri Lanka, to begin the crosswalk. Before I finished, a large crowd had gathered. I shall never forget the smiling eager faces in this land. The scene was ever changing. People. Women in lovely dresses carrying babies, crowds, leaping smiling children who often followed me for a great distances, men in tee shirts and a wrap-around skirt or shorts. Bicycles, motorcycles, ox carts, cars, buses, and trucks all jammed the narrow roads racing along at a high and dangerous speed. There were no mufflers and the sounds often were deafening and the exhaust fumes were pure. No environmental controls here!
Food and goods were everywhere; in stands along side the road, being carried on heads, ox carts, bicycles, motorcycles, and every way imaginable. The people wanted to see the cross and me. They waited along the road in groups as far as the eye could see. They shook hands or leaned forward to have their heads blessed as I touched hundreds or thousands per hour. Sri Lanka is a former British colony and many people spoke English. People gave me all types of food and drinks. I had little idea what I was given, but I ate and drank with the constant prayer, “Lord kill them all, all the diseases in Jesus name.” It was a powerful time of witness, praying with the people and knowing such love.
Denise, my wife often joined me walking as we had a rental car and driver. The route we walked took us along the coast road. There were palm and coconut trees, banana trees and delicious fruit of all kinds. For days we walked through fishing villages.
Though Sir Lanka is predominately Buddhist, there is a large community of believers in Jesus along the coast. Also there are many Muslims in the northern area that is trying to gain independence by civil war. There is always the threat of bombing or assassination in the country.
Once I was in a home for breakfast and there was a huge roach in my coffee!
We came here from the cold in Bhutan, and it’s well over 100 degrees so the body is in a state of shock.
In the capital city of Colombo there is a constant traffic jam. What a time in the heat and crowds, with two sore feet. Denise walked with me through the city. Many people wanted to talk. Some people had seen me on the road, others had heard of the walk; still others saw the story and photos in the newspaper.
I prayed with many people to receive and follow Jesus. Often men would have me put a Jesus sticker on their car or truck and then bless the vehicle. One elderly man, a hotel manager came up crying and after hearing us, he prayed. He invited us to his home the next day where we ate, talked and prayed with his family
In the city center a man in a business suit came up and began to speak to Denise. He said, “I’ve seen this,” pointing to the cross and me. “I was dying one night, but a man came to me, oh, I can never forget him, he said I should follow Him, afterward I was immediately well. I began praying only to Him but I did not know his name. Passing a store one day I saw a picture of him, he was hanging on a big cross like this. I said ‘This is the gentleman!’ I bought the picture of Jesus and follow only Him.”
We told him about the Bible that tells more of Jesus and we are getting one for him. We helped the man to understand who Jesus is and how to receive Him as Savior and Lord. We prayed with this man and he gloriously welcomed Jesus in his life. It was on of the most moving times of witness ever. Jesus had revealed Himself to this man. Now we were to tell him more and lead him into the Kingdom.
Today along the way a man came to me. He was a Buddhist priest and he told me one night he had a dream about Jesus and Jesus asked him to follow him. He had never heard about Jesus before. The next morning he left and now has a local church that meets on the beach where they feed the hungry children.
This was the second man that Jesus had appeared to and revealed Himself.
I met a huge elephant in the highway today and diverted quickly to let him have the entire road.
Lying in bed under a mosquito net in bad pain from hurting feet and back, I thought, better the pain in my feet than the pain of one soul in hell for eternity. Jesus endured the cross and death for us sinners that He might save us and present us before the Father in heaven. Whatever the cost or pain I shall go on. Oh, I love you Lord, I am totally, completely and absolutely, happy, fulfilled and satisfied in following the Lord Jesus Christ. I desire nothing more than His smile and that deep look that understands all.
We left with a deep burden for peace in this war torn land of lovely, smiling people.
They welcomed the two pilgrims on the roads of Sir Lanka.
Pilgrim followers of Jesus,
Arthur and Denise Blessitt