These people were participating in Rock the Fort, an event modeled after the BGEA Rock the River Tour. Rock the Fort was funded by BGEA to show an appreciation for our soldiers, as well as make an investment in them. Christian Hip Hop artist Flame and Christian rock band DecemberRadio energized the crowd before Will Graham took the stage to deliver the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“Because these people are in their third or fourth week of basic training, the mood was initially somber. But, it didn’t take long for them to be on their feet, expressing their excitement,” said Julie Fisher of BGEA Crusade Ministries. “One of the chaplains even remarked that it was great to see these trainees enjoying themselves.”
Fort Jackson is the largest and most active Initial Entry Training Center (basic training/”boot camp”) in the U.S. Army, training 50 percent of all soldiers and 80 percent of the female soldiers entering the Army each year.
“Fort Jackson is where young men and women are being trained to become soldiers. Many of these people are coming right out of high school or college, and they are coming for different reasons,” said Will Graham. “Very soon, they will be sent to the front lines and naturally, they are thinking about more spiritual things than ever before. It was a great opportunity to talk to them about the Gospel and give them a chance to respond.”
And respond, they did. Of the 4,000 people in attendance, nearly one quarter of them made significant decisions for Christ, whether they committed their lives to Him for the first time, rededicated their hearts and lives to His service, or confirmed assurance of their salvation.
“It was an incredible day,” said Graham. “I’m really grateful for the decisions that were made.”
A Personal Connection
Besides having a great love for the military as an American, this strikes a personal chord with Graham. His younger brother, Edward, serves in our armed forces as a career.
“Most Americans are patriotic people – they love our military. These soldiers lay down their lives for us. I take great pride in our military and I’m grateful for them. But I feel an especially strong heartbeat for the military right now since my brother is among the soldiers.”
A Continual Burden for Our Soldiers
Graham has a burden for our soldiers and prays for them often. “These soldiers are subjected to things that most of us civilians will never have to endure. They go in our place, and I pray for their safety. They all have families at home, wondering if they will ever see them again. I pray for comfort for those families too,” explained Graham.
While these are important prayer needs, Graham says that the most important need of soldiers is the same as all of mankind – that they will know Christ.
“We all die, whether it’s in a firefight in Afghanistan or driving to the grocery store or just simply old age. My granddaddy is 92 years old. He’s not going to live forever – at least not on this earth. These soldiers will face the possibility of death on a regular basis,” said Graham. “Not only do our soldiers need prayer for safety, they need to have God present in their lives. Then, they will have the strength and the wisdom to get through any difficulties that lie ahead. That is my ultimate prayer for them.”