What do you do with 300 extra Rock the Range invitation cards?
For 72-year-old Caroline Hernandez, the answer was simple — start a grass-roots, door-to-door effort in her neighborhood to get the word out about the Aug. 27-28 Festival hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
“I love Billy Graham,” said Hernandez, of Arvada, a northwest suburb of Denver.
It wasn’t as simple as it seemed. The cards she had didn’t have all the specifics about the Festival, but thinking quickly, she typed up a note with more information and her phone number and attached a copy to the back of each card.
“We believe in this stuff,” said Hernandez, a counselor for all three events this weekend. “That’s why we’re involved.”
Hernandez and her husband, Eliseo Echegoyen Hernández, have a long history with Billy Graham’s ministry. Both were involved in the 1987 Rocky Mountain Crusade at Mile High Stadium.
And her husband, now 96 years old, was a pastor in El Salvador for 44 years and was one of the El Salvador representatives in the 1966 World Congress in Berlin, Germany, and the 1974 Lausanne Congress on World Evangelism in Switzerland, both supported heavily by BGEA.
“He came to the training, but I don’t think he’s going to come out (to Rock the Range),” Hernandez said. “I think he’ll be more effective at home praying.”
Hernandez, however, wasn’t about to sit at home with all these invites laying around.And while she mostly left cards at the door of her neighbors who weren’t home, one woman opened and welcomed the news of Rock the Range with open arms.
The woman told a story about the 1987 Crusade, where Billy Graham prayed over her nephew who was sick with Leukemia and how grateful she was to this day for Mr. Graham’s ministry.
“He accepted Christ at that 1987 Crusade,” Hernandez said. “And six months later he died.”
Denver Youth Rolling Up Their Sleeves
Preston wouldn’t call it nerves. Well, not exactly.
The 15-year-old has never done anything like leading his peers to Christ at a massive evangelism event. But the Wesminster, Co., native isn’t about to let a few butterflies stop him from sharing the Good News of the Gospel.
“I’m more excited than nervous,” Preston said. “You just don’t know what you’re going to experience.”
Preston was quick to get involved in Rock the Range, jumping at the chance to take the FM419 Training the first weekend in June. Over 700 students attended that event with over 130 making decisions for Christ.
“It sounded like a good opportunity to get close to God,” Preston said. “If you come to those kinds of experiences, you get really excited. The people they had speaking, I liked the way they talked. It wasn’t ‘thou shalt not’ kind of stuff.”
Signing for the Kingdom
Tim Knetl’s 1996 Subaru is getting quite the workout lately.
After finishing up as program director of a deaf camp in Salem, Oregon, Knetl drove over 1,300 miles to Denver, arriving just a few hours before Thursday’s counselor rehearsal night.
Knetl wasn’t about to pass up an opportunity to share Christ with the deaf of the Denver area.
“There’s so many deaf people in the world and a very small percentage know Jesus Christ,” Knetl said. “I also want to grow more in my faith. And I think this will help.”
Knetl’s recent adventure nearly takes a Rand McNally atlas and a Sharpie to keep track. About a year ago, he moved his wife and child from Austin, Texas, to Aspen, Co., for what seemed like a promising job opportunity, only to get laid off because of the economy.
Looking for work, he’s traveled to Chicago and Oregon — several times sleeping in his trusty Subaru — and hopes to eventually landing back in Texas, around the Corpus Christi area.
But in the meantime, his local church in Colorado was holding a Christian Life & Witness training and he quickly came on board.
“Just to talk to people about Jesus Christ,” Knetl said of why he got involved in Rock the Range. “To reach out to them.”
Knetl was born profoundly deaf in his right ear and severely deaf in his left ear, where he wears a hearing aid. But he has learned to communicate well. The first language he learned as a child was sign language, starting at age 2 ½.
His passion to reach the deaf runs deep.
“I’m psyched. If they see interpreters up front, it will draw deaf people to that area,” Knetl said. “And hopefully they’ll get saved.”
Rock the Range, which will be held at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Co., includes two full days of high-energy music along with messages from Franklin Graham. Rock, hip-hop and popular Christian music artists performing at the event include Skillet, Lecrae, The Almost and The Afters, Lacey Sturm from Flyleaf and Michael W. Smith. There will also be a KidzFest program Saturday morning for children featuring God Rocks!
Watch all of the excitement LIVE from Rock the Range! Log on to billygraham.org/rocktherange on Saturday, Aug. 27, from 6 to 11:30 p.m. (ET), 4 to 9:30 p.m. in Denver for web streaming. Watch on Sunday, Aug. 28, 6 to 9:30 p.m. (ET), 4 to 7:30 p.m. in Denver.
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