A Fresh Start In Terrell

By Richard Greene, Decision Magazine   •   March 26, 2012

Tired of the aimless direction of her life, Kayla* called a longtime friend she knew she could confide in and get help from. Though Kayla had not talked with Melanie* in a few years, she knew Melanie would still listen and give her trusted advice—even some tough love.

Fifteen years ago, Kayla was active in the church youth group led by Melanie and her husband, Jason.* She accepted Christ as her Savior back then and wanted to serve Him.

But Kayla wandered and started hanging out with the wrong crowd. She loved to party, and alcohol and drugs became a part of her daily life.

Recently Kayla’s life caved in, and she grew frustrated with where she was headed. She desperately wanted to change course. So Kayla called Melanie.

Melanie was so surprised, but glad to hear from the 23-year-old. Melanie told Kayla that a Will Graham Celebration was being held at the Terrell ISD Performing Arts Center and invited her to attend with her. Kayla agreed.

After the Rend Collective Experiment from Northern Ireland and Brenton Brown from South Africa led the audience in worship, Will Graham stepped on stage and proclaimed the Gospel of Jesus Christ.

“For some of you tonight, you’re a long way from God,” Will told the crowd of 1,300. “You gave your heart to Christ years ago, but you’re now living in quiet rebellion.

“You need to repent of your sins and turn back to Christ,” the 37-year-old evangelist warned. “God wants to take away all your guilt and shame and give you a new heart and a new beginning. But you need to confess everything to Him.”

Will then extended an invitation for people to get out of their seats, walk to the front of the auditorium and pray to commit their lives to Jesus Christ. Kayla hesitated.

“Some of you may be holding back and you know it,” Will then said. “But we’re going to wait on you. You can still come and tell God that your heart is broken. He’ll forgive you of all your sins and give you a fresh start. There’s still time. You come right now.”

Kayla did just that. She walked forward and joined the 59 others who responded. Before she began talking with a volunteer counselor about her decision to surrender her life to Christ as Lord, Kayla spotted Melanie.

The two embraced and cried together. Then Kayla prayed to rededicate her life to Jesus. After the service, she joined Melanie to hang out together and talk about where her new life in Christ would now head.

“My husband and I have a long history with Kayla,” Melanie said. “I just praise the Lord that He was faithful to draw her back to Himself and that her heart was tender toward Him to recognize she needed help and that she would reach out to me.”

Close to 5,000 people from the Terrell area attended one of the four Celebration meetings and 220 made decisions for Jesus Christ.

More than 80 local churches representing 14 denominations partnered together to organize the three-day event, and about 600 area volunteers helped to make it a fruitful spiritual harvest.

During the Saturday morning KidzFest, Ryan, who turns 7 years old in April, turned to his dad and said he wanted to go down front and ask Jesus into his heart. His father, who committed his life to Christ two years ago through the influence of his teen-aged daughter, encouraged Ryan to respond to Jesus and walked hand in hand with him when evangelist Tom Toombs extended the invitation. Ryan’s dad had been talking with his son about Jesus since his own conversion, and tears coursed his cheeks as Ryan accepted Christ as his personal Savior.

*Not real name. Pseudonyms were used to protect privacy.

OTHER STORIES FROM TERRELL

By His Wounds We Are Healed
“God didn’t create you for a vocation, He created you for a relationship,” Will Graham told the 1,450 people attending the Saturday evening service of the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration in Terrell, Texas, east of Dallas. A desperate young woman listened intently as God moved in her heart.

Transformed Prodigal’s Powerful Tale
One former prodigal says of this weekend’s Celebration: “It’s a privilege to take part in this united effort with so many good churches so that lost souls can hear that God loves them, that Christ died for them and that they can have their lives transformed forever by the power of the Gospel.”

Riding High for Christ
Former bareback bronc champion Todd Pierce, who ministers on the professional bull riding circuit, will share his testimony at the second of two Will Graham Texas Celebrations.

Mapping Out a Plan to Reach Terrell, Texas
Blowing up an 8-foot-tall map, Pastor John Lowrie and First Baptist Church is making sure every home in Terrell, Texas, is prayed over for the Trinity Valley Will Graham Celebration this weekend.

Tedashii’s Holy Hip-Hop
Looking forward to the Trinity Valley Celebration, Tedashii said he appreciates being part of the Will Graham team and the spirit of prayer that saturates these events. “You can just look out and see God moving here. There is no where I’d rather be.”

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