“Too many young people have given up on trying to find purpose and meaning in life,” said Franklin Graham. “But I believe we will see thousands repent of their sins and give their lives to Jesus Christ as we stir their hearts with Christian music and the message of the Gospel.”
Baton Rouge is a fitting springboard for the Rock the River Tour. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has had a unique presence in Louisiana since Hurricane Katrina ravaged New Orleans and the Gulf Coast in 2005. Rapid Response Team chaplains helped restore thousands of broken lives, while relief teams from Samaritan’s Purse repaired or rebuilt homes that had been struck by Katrina’s fury.
Six months later, 30,000 people gathered near the tattered Superdome in New Orleans for a Celebration of Hope. Both Billy and Franklin Graham shared the Gospel.
Remembering Hurricane Katrina, Franklin said, “No one will ever forget the scenes of these people standing on roof tops, waiting to be rescued. When God sent His Son to earth, it was a rescue mission to save us from our sins. We all can have the hope of Heaven if we put our faith and trust in Jesus Christ.”
More than 1,360 people accepted Christ through the Celebration of Hope.
Franklin seized another unique opportunity for evangelism when he proclaimed the Gospel with inmates at Louisiana State Penitentiary in Angola. Once considered the bloodiest prison in the United States, Angola Prison houses more than 5,100 inmates, most serving life sentences. One hundred inmates responded to Franklin’s call to accept the Lord, joining more than 2,000 prisoners who now profess faith in Jesus Christ.
The spiritual needs of Angola Prison guards were also addressed when Samaritan’s Purse built a chapel for them and their families. The church is a center of community activity, with Sunday services, Bible studies, and even a vacation Bible school for children.
Now, Baton Rouge and the youth of Louisiana are the focus as BGEA prepares for the kick-off of the Rock The River Tour. “Young people in America’s heartland need to know that God loves them,” Franklin said. “Pray that the Holy Spirit will lead many to faith in Jesus Christ as we take the Good News up the Mississippi River this summer.”