Dear Family and Friends,
By the grace of God, we recently completed an awesome and glorious walk with the cross through the South American nations of Guyana and Suriname. My friend, Eric Neubauer, from Texas, traveled with me on this trip. Eric drove ahead of me in the car with gospel material and supplies . He had some wonderful opportunities to speak with the people in the villages as well. When I think about Guyana and Suriname, I think of precious people, incredible beauty, and intense humidity! Each night, heavy rains would begin at around three o’clock in the morning and continue until nearly nine. Then the sun would come out, and we would enjoy a sauna for the rest of the day (ha!)!
The road often passed through dense jungles that were full of mysterious sounds from strange, yet beautiful animals. Lovely macaws and parakeets would fly overhead, and curious monkeys would watch the cross go by! Yet, as always, the most beautiful part of these countries was the people! Oh! What kindness! We were constantly offered food and drink–even places to sleep for the night! Both countries were incredible places of beauty and contrast.
Though we were in South America, Guyana’s national language was English, while Dutch was spoken in Suriname. At times I almost felt as if I was walking through an African village, Indian marketplace, or Caribbean countryside. These countries were some of the most ethnically diverse places that I have ever visited. As I walked down the road, I would daily pass Muslim mosques, Hindu temples, and Christian churches in just a short stretch. The response to the cross was glorious and absolutely amazing! We began walking in the center of Guyana’s capital, Georgetown.
With no announcement of our arrival, we were amazed at the response! It was almost impossible to walk because so many people were coming to the cross. That first afternoon it took us four and a half hours to carry the cross just three blocks! The response along the road was no different. At times there were so many people it was difficult to walk. As the word spread that the cross was coming, people began to wait along the roadsides. Many would look through their fences or be hanging out of their windows, waiting for the cross. Minibuses and taxis would often stop and ask me to talk with their passengers. It seemed as if there was an unending stream of questions about the cross and Jesus. With God’s help, I had the privilege of preaching countless numbers of times every day! If preaching too much can kill you, this would have been close! Oh, but what a great way to go!
One day a precious man from a Hindu background waited while I spoke. Afterwards, he said, “I really want to talk to you but I can’t. You’re from a different religion.” I asked him what religion he thought I was. He replied, “It’s obvious with your Cross that you’re a Christian.” I said, “Sir, I’m a follower of Jesus.” He told me he had never heard of one of those. I asked if he knew any Christians, and he said he knew a few. I asked him to tell me what he knew about Jesus. He shared with me the little that he knew. Then I asked, “Based on what you know about Jesus, would you say that those Christians are following Jesus?” He smiled really big and said “No! But, I think I’m starting to understand the difference! I explained who Jesus was, what He did, and how we can know Him. Then I said, “Sir, in just a little while, I’m going to walk on down that road, and you’re going to go your way. Would you say that you know me?” He replied, “No, we’ve just met.” I continued, “Many of us who call ourselves ‘Christian’ have done that with Jesus. We have truly met Him, but we have kept going our own way. True Christianity is more than finding Jesus; it is following Him. Sadly, many of us have only met Him, but never followed Him.
“Jesus doesn’t want to simply meet us. He invites us to stop what we’re doing and follow Him. The Bible calls it repentance. As we follow Him, we truly begin to know Him!” I told him how I have met people from all around the world and from all kinds of religious and ethnic backgrounds who have met and chosen to follow Jesus. He said, “I want to commit my life to following Jesus. I want to know Him.” After we prayed, he said, “You’re wrong about one thing I’m not going to keep going my way. I’m going to go with you!” He asked if he could carry my cross for a while. Then for the next few days, this precious man walked with me or ahead of me, gathering people in Hindu and Muslim villages so we could tell them about Jesus. Literally hundreds of people came to know Jesus because of this man who chose to follow Jesus rather than settling for just meeting Him.
I am truly convinced that true Christianity is more about following Jesus than simply finding Him. We have been sensing that God wants us to carry the cross in Greenland and Iceland. God willing, I will be leaving in the morning. Please pray for Jesus to lead us with the cross as we walk in these two countries. Please pray for a glorious response among the people and the churches there.
We want to thank you so much for your prayers and support. Thank you for your calls, letters, notes, and e-mails that encourage us to go on with the cross. Because of the sacrifices that many of you have made, we believe that you truly go with us to the nations in a very real way. Often we are asked how we are able to go with the cross to these places. It is such an honor to be able to say that some “friends of Jesus” support us and send us to the nations. We thank God for you. We are so humbled and blessed to have some of the most wonderful family and best friends we could have on this earth. Thanks!!
God Bless You!!