At 8pm last Sunday night five exhausted men wheeled a heavy wooden cross onto the old Beit Bridge on the South Africa-Zimbabwe border at the end of a 2 000km pilgrimage walk that started in Cape Town.
Reini Coetzee, the visionary of the journey, who together with fellow East Londoner, Sive Mjoli, completed the full distance, said they were touched by the warm welcome they received from a crowd of people in Musina — some of who were crying at the sight of the cross.
“The cross is still a symbol of hope all over South Africa,” said Reini, who believes that God will use their walk for healing, restoration and unity in SA to “do something big in the country”.
“I am excited about South Africa and Africa as well,” he said.
He also thanked the Lord for giving him the strength to complete the arduous journey despite being hospitalised in Midstream, Gauteng in December after he became seriously ill with Covid-19.
David Smith, who also got Covid in December, Antony Minter and his son Daniel , who were all in the team that set out from Cape Town last September, completed the 1 500km stretch to Gauteng.
After Reini’s recovery, he, Sive and newcomers Klaus, Abraham and Tertius, restarted the last 500km stretch to Musina. All three of them said the experience had deepened their relationship with God, said Reini.
About 40km before Beit Bridge, Reini said God sent a man who stopped his car to talk to them. The man was moved to tears by the cross and their mission. He worked on Beit Bridge and was a key to getting them onto the bridge at the official completion of their mission.
Some of the people who welcomed the cross walkers in Musina — including a number of children — walked with them for the last 12km stretch from the town to the bridge. They were also escorted by uniformed police.
Reini counted two healing experiences as being among his highlights of the journey.
“In one place — I think it was the Beaufort West area — I prayed for a young last in a wheelchair. She was 15 of 16 and had never walked in her life before.
“And I took her out of that wheelchair believing God that she could walk a couple of steps. And she did, she walked about 20m with my assistance. But we have to believe that the Lord has started a healing there.
“The other one [healing experience] was when I was in hospital when I was on oxygen. The Lord told me: ‘Although you are on oxygen I am the Breath of Life and I will take you out of hospital because your work on earth is not done yet.”
Reini also marvelled at the “openhearted” support of South Africans all along the way who had reached out to ensure their needs for accommodation and provisions were met.
He said he was sad to say that the Lord has told him that his crosswalking days are over as He now wants him to focus on his Gospel outreach ministry — Revelation Ministries — and the community in Gonubie, East London.
He said he began crosswalking in 2016, just walking with the cross in the Gonubie area and later undertaking longer pilgramages.
“It’s been five glorious years of walking with the cross. I did what the Lord asked me to do and now it’s a new season.” he said.
He said his ministry is hosting a Good Friday service in Gonubie tomorrow and then honouring all of the men who walked with him during the Cape Town to Musina pilgrimage.
“Those men are all true knights of the cross,” he said.
Reini said that tomorrow he will also go on one last walk with the cross around Gonubie where his crosswalking began.