Florence stood by the fence, with this feeling she couldn’t figure out.
It had to be the Holy Spirit empowering her to share Christ with someone at Rock the Lakes in downtown Green Bay.
But who would she encounter? What would be her story? And what would Florence say?
“I’ve been waiting my whole life to do a Billy Graham event,” said Florence, 60, of Pulaski, Wis. “But one never came close enough to where I lived.”
So when she heard Rock the Lakes was coming 17 miles away, she knew this was her time.
And as Franklin Graham gave the invitation to receive Christ Sunday evening, Florence, one of hundreds of trained counselors on hand, also went forward and almost immediately connected with Jeanne, a retired woman from Green Bay.
It was as if two long lost friends had reunited.
Jeanne was struggling with family drama. She had suffered much strife and was dealing with a lot of pain.
“I’ve been through a lot with my family too,” Florence said. “I knew the Holy Spirit put us together.”
As the two talked, Jeanne told Florence she knew about Jesus, but “had never heard it explained the way Franklin explained it.”
“She had never asked Him to be her Lord and Savior,” Florence continued.
Jeanne had virtually left church altogether, after the pastor of her church became an atheist.
But she wasn’t ready to give up on God. Not just yet.
Florence started with her arm around Jeanne, but by now she had her hands clasped together and that feeling by the fence was confirmed — the Spirit was hovering square over the two women.
Florence, wide-eyed, could only explain it one way: “I could feel the Holy Spirit giving me the words to say.”
And just as Jeanne told Florence she had never prayed to receive Christ, Franklin Graham led the hundreds who came forward in a prayer of Salvation.
The timing was impeccible.
“She just started saying it,” Florence said of Jeanne’s prayer. “I could sense a change in her in that moment.”
Ten minutes after Jeanne’s conversion, Florence was still nearly in shock.
“I’m still shaking,” Florence said. “I’m even more in awe of God than ever before.”
More than 100 countries reached
The two-day evangelistic outreach event at Leicht Park in downtown Green Bay featured eight bands, one rainstorm, an amazing rainbow, gorgeous sunset and a live streaming broadcast to more than 100 countries and territories.
Sunday’s event was hit with a rain shower shortly after the 4 p.m. start time, but after a short delay, the program quickly hit a serious note with Lacey Sturm from Flyleaf giving a gripping testimony how God saved her from committing suicide.
The event began with California hip hop artist Marcus G, before L’Angelus, a high-energy Cajun worship band from Louisiana, had the end of their set slightly disrupted by a brief downpour, but the violin-playing, hair-swinging band continued to a crowd of umbrellas.
After the rain passed over and a rainbow appeared, guitar wizard Dennis Agajanian’s “Ain’t No Grave,” led into a 20-minute worship set by The Tommy Coomes Band, which prepared the crowd for Lacey to share her story. Also sharing a word of testimony was former Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills wide receiver Don Bebee, a six-time Super Bowl player.
Total attendance for the two-day event was 24,000, but the highlight for hundreds receiving Christ had nothing to do with a musical performance.
“Why Jesus?” Franklin Graham said Sunday evening. “Because He’s the one who took your sins to the Cross.”
“He’ll change you, forgive you and set you free.”
The night ended with Canadian band, The City Harmonic, bringing a unique piano-infused worship style before The Afters’ 30-minute set hit a prophetic note when hues of red and pink glowed in the distance as the band sank their No. 1 hit, “Light Up the Sky.”
Michael W. Smith teamed up with L’Angelus for a powerful hour-long set, mixing in old, new and worship favorites, fueled by a crowd that seemed to know every word.
The night was capped off with final invitation from Will Graham — grandson of Billy Graham and son of Franklin Graham — before a surprise fireworks show sufficiently lit up the sky.