The man with a cross to bear

Street evangelist Lindsay Hamon spreads the love in Siem Reap.​​
Street evangelist Lindsay Hamon spreads the love in Siem Reap. Miranda Glasser

The man with a cross to bear

Reapers may have noticed an unusual addition to the tourists thronging the streets this past week: a man carrying a twelve-foot wooden cross. Meet Lindsay Hamon: a man on a mission from God.

Former care worker Hamon, 60, from Cornwall, has been carrying the cross for 26 years, and Cambodia is the 21st country he’s visited. The giant cross, carried – or more accurately dragged – over the shoulder, weighs 25kg and has a handy wheel attached to the base to make transportation easier. Still, walking up to ten hours a day in tropical heat chatting to people about Jesus is no mean feat. So why does he do it?

Self-styled street evangelist Hamon says he loves Jesus and enjoys “sharing” him with other people, adding that carrying a life-size cross is a great conversation starter.

“It’s amazing. It’s a bit like a key which somehow makes people trust you,” he says. “They think either I’m a nutcase or some crazy eccentric exhibitionist, but hopefully when they meet me they don’t find that that’s the case.

“I usually walk for about 100 miles or so in a country and talk to whoever I meet en route. I’ve been carrying the cross around Siem Reap for this week and last week and talking to hundreds of people.

“In India it was almost like a pub crawl. We were just going from house to house with people wanting us to come in and wanting prayer so we’d be praying for their granny or children. It was like carrying love with you, like a mobile walk of love. Sounds a bit clichéd but for some reason it captured people’s imagination – to see someone walking down the road with a cross in the middle of nowhere. In Muslim villages they welcomed us with open arms.”

Hamon says he is not out to convert people. “I’d love to do it,” he says, “I’d love to have a big syringe full of God’s love and inject it into people, but that would be forcing his love.

Hamon has walked through countries including Romania, Nepal, New Zealand and Sri Lanka although not all of them have been receptive to his message. Earlier this year he told British tabloid the Daily Mail that he’d been shot at in Bangladesh, thrown out of St Peter’s Square in Rome and confronted by police in Moscow’s Red Square.

Hamon funds his godly travels through donations from supporters, and by occasionally going back to his former care work in his Cornish hometown.

He isn’t affiliated with any particular church.

“I kind of feel that I don’t want to say I am a Baptist or I am a Pentecostal,” he says, “I just feel that I want to be free to be what I am – somebody who loves Jesus.”