Dear Family and Friends,
In April, I returned from the “ends of the earth” – some of the islands in the South Pacific, and one of the greatest cross-carrying trips of my life! I carried the cross through five islands in the three different nations of Fiji, Tonga, and Vanuatu. If you look on a map, just find Australia and go east to find these tiny nations. On the map you will never realize how large these places are – the smallest island I walked through was 60 miles long and 40 miles wide!!
No map ever told me how many precious people live here, either. Though many had heard of Jesus, most had never known that they could know Him or that they could give their lives to Him and live with Him forever. Honestly, from the time I arrived at the airport, going through customs, up to the last person who stamped my passport as I was leaving, I had the beautiful privilege of leading people to Jesus throughout this trip!!! On some days, I would come around a corner and find hundreds of people who had been waiting for days because they heard the cross was coming to their region! I would be welcomed as a guest of honor and asked to speak to all the nearby villages. On Palm Sunday, the roads were lined with people with palm branches in their hands.
In January, I felt that God was stirring me to go with the cross to Fiji and some of the other islands in the South Pacific. Wanting to make sure that it really was God, I prayed that He would make it clear. Later, in February, I attended a meeting in Washington D.C. where I “just happened” to meet Prime Minister Rabuka of Fiji, who loves Jesus with all his heart. We talked for a short time, then he turned and said, “Why don’t you bring the cross to Fiji? We would love to have you walk through our country!” Now, I know that we’re to “live by faith, and not by sight (or by confirmation), but it sure was wonderful to hear those words. Once in Fiji, I had the wonderful opportunity of visiting his office and giving him a Bible! I then carried the cross nearly 200 miles through two islands of Fiji where the response was absolutely incredible!
In Vanuatu, I carried the cross deep into the jungles where the Namba people live. These beautiful people live high in the trees; these are the same people who build towers of bamboo, tie a vine to their ankle, then, dive off (the original “bungee jumpers”)! When I was six or seven years old, I read an article in a National Geographic magazine where I saw these people and had always thought it would be so wonderful to one day see these people … who would ever think that God would answer a little boy’s dream like that?!! These people were so simple and pure! They wanted to know things like what Jesus looked like and what does He think about the Namba people. The only response I could give was, “He loves the Namba people so much that He carved your name on the palms of His hands (Is 49:16) when He died to take away your sins … and I think He looks like you!” The chief then gave me his walking stick and said, “You’ve brought God’s ‘stick’ to us, I want you to have this!”
One of my interpreters was an anthropologist working together with “National Geographic” (researching tribal peoples) who claimed he was an atheist. Although I never prayed with him to commit His life to Jesus, I’m not sure how much of an atheist he ended up being … On a bumpy, single-engine plane ride, as we turned sideways to fly under the trees in order to land on the grass runway below, a female anthropologist, who was with us, began to cry. My interpreter turned to her and said, “Don’t worry; God won’t let us go down! We have a preacher and a cross on the plane!” Later, in a city, he saw me with the cross and ran up to give me a hug and said, “Keith, those people are still talking about you bringing the cross to them. Do you realize they will still be telling the story of you bringing Jesus to them over a hundred years from now?!” I was humbled and thrilled with the thought; then I felt God impress on my heart that not just one hundred years from now, but for eternity, we will all be hearing of the things that He has done through each of us (changing diapers, praying for the lost, teaching a class, visiting a neighbor, etc.) The seemingly insignificant things you do each day for Jesus really do count for eternity!
We want you to know what a blessing you are! Thanks to each of you for the wonderful love and support you are showing us. You’ve shown us the love and character of Jesus – as you have cared for us and the people of the world. Thanks for your friendship. Please continue to let us know how things are with your life. May we all be a witness for Jesus and remember that whatever we do to the least, we do for Jesus!
Jesus Bless You!!