Jesus commanded us to take up our cross and follow Him. Well, Mike Vickers took that very seriously. He spoke to Chris Rolfe about his amazing adventures worldwide.
For eleven years Mike Vickers has wheeled a 12-foot wooden cross through 30 countries, sharing his faith and praying with thousands. Others have been less than pleased to see him - he was once threatened with being crucified himself!
It’s all part of life running a remarkable ministry - Cross The Nations - which Mike says God called him to while he was a pastor in London in 2008.
“I felt God tell me to walk from Thurso to Brighton carrying a red flag to represent His Kingdom,” he says. “So I walked through Britain in honour of our Christian heritage and of Jesus.
“I wrote down every time I sat with people and shared my faith - I had at least 1,500 conversations. I seemed to meet people at a moment only God could have planned, when they were open and asking questions.”
Mike organised another walk during Easter 2009, from Great Yarmouth to St Davids. This time, inspired by American evangelist Arthur Blessitt, who shares the gospel while wheeling a 12-foot cross around the world, Mike swapped his flag for a cross and set out on his first ‘cross walk’.
Again, he had the opportunity to walk and pray with hundreds of people. Then God gave Mike a new challenge: to follow the example Jesus set in Luke 10 when He sent the disciples out two by two. “Jesus told them not to take and possessions or money - He wanted them to be absolutely dependent on God. I felt God say I was to preach and pray, but my ministry would only be successful if I let Him provide for me.”
So in July 2009, Mike set out on a 21-day walk from Galway to Bangor, taking no wallet and arranging no accommodation.
“In 21 days I never slept rough or went without a meal, and my needs opened the door to share the gospel. People came to faith and were healed, especially men. Something about the risk and physical challenge seemed to get their attention.”
But it seems that God had still greater plans.
“I then felt the Lord give me a mandate to walk the whole of Europe. I’ve been around 30 countries. When I get home from one, God reveals where to go next.”
Mike found a companion in 2013 - evangelist Alan Saunders. Together, God has led them to pray for soldiers, pastors, a psychic and others. He has provided accommodation in luxurious mansions, halfway houses and even a hotel they later discovered was a brothel!
Travelling has sometimes been dangerous, but here Mike has experienced God’s miraculous protection.
During a cross walk in 2010 in St Lucia - a rare non-European trip - Mike entered the village of Soufriere. “A group of men shouted, ‘Blasphemer! Why are you mocking Christ?’ A crowd surrounded me. One man said, ‘We’re going to get a hammer and nails and put you on that cross.’
“Minutes later, he returned with a hammer and rusty nails. They were stirring the village into a frenzy. An image of my wife and kids flashed before me. I knew it wasn’t going to end well.”
But then the crowd inexplicably fell silent.
“The men who were out of control went silent and walked away. I didn’t understand what had happened.”
Days later, when Mike called his wife Sarah, he found out. “Sarah asked what I was doing at 5pm on Wednesday. At that time, our six-year-old daughter Bethany had raced downstairs shouting, ‘We’ve got to pray for Daddy. He’s being bullied!’ Sarah called our boys, Ben and Jacob, and they prayed, ‘Wherever Dad is, we ask for Your protection on his life.’
“Then the penny dropped: 5pm in the UK was when we were in Soufriere.”
Mike has experienced many other challenges - including anaphylactic shock in a remote part of Bulgaria - but God continues to protect and provide for him and his mate Alan.
“The fact we don’t plan things means the Holy Spirit can manoeuvre us to where He wants us to be. Our stories often begin with, ‘One of us needed the toilet and we got talking to someone,’ but we know God is leading and guiding us the whole time.”
Wife plays a crucial role
Mike’s wife, Sarah, plays a crucial role in his ministry. “Often, she hears from God, getting pictures about places I’m visiting which open doors while we’re there.” Says Mike. “My children, Ben, Jacob and Bethany, pray too.”
Mike’s son Ben became a Christian after joining Mike on a cross-walk.
“He’d struggled when I had a quintuple heart bypass,” Mike says. “He felt I was putting my life on the line preaching the gospel, so why hadn’t God healed me? He saw me wheeling the cross up a steep mountain two years later, realised God was healing me, and gave his life to Christ.”
Stories shared in churches
Mike and Alan visit churches across the UK to share their amazing stories. They’ve visited Elim churches in Scotland, London, Guernsey and more, and would love to visit others.
Pastor James Glass, of Elim Glasgow, said: “Mike really stirred us up and made us hungry for God to move in greater ways - especially in salvation and healing. I highly recommend Mike and his team. They will refresh you and expand your vision of what God wants and can do. These guys are trailblazers - like John the Baptists preparing the way of the Lord.”