My family has a special heart for this part of the world. My maternal grandparents, L. Nelson Bell and Virginia Bell, were medical missionaries in China, and my mother was born there.
We are grateful that God has given the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association incredible opportunities to proclaim Jesus Christ as “the way and the truth and the life” (John 14:6, NIV) in Asia over the past few months.
At our Crusade in the Philippines in February, the turnout–and the response–were overwhelming, with more than 30,000 people making life-changing decisions for Jesus Christ. At almost the same time, nearly 2 million people in India have committed their lives to Christ through our My Hope telecasts across the world’s second-most-populous nation, and that number is growing as reports continue to come in.
These are answers to prayer, and I believe this is only the beginning. Later this year we will hold a Crusade in Okinawa, Japan, and starting next year we plan to hold International Schools of Evangelism for church leaders and Christian workers in various parts of Asia.
Bringing the hope of Christ to this part of the world is a giant task. There are hundreds of major cities and thousands of languages to consider. Despite the obstacles, the Church has seen tremendous growth in the past decade. Persecution and oppression have only served to strengthen believers, as they “rejoice that [they] participate in the sufferings of Christ” (1 Peter 4:13, NIV).
One example of growth is South Korea, whose people have embraced the Gospel in recent decades and are eager to share God’s love with their neighbors. South Korea has become the second-largest missionary-sending nation in the world. I’ll never forget the more than 1 million people that came to my father’s Crusade in Seoul in 1973.
People in every nation need to hear the Gospel of Jesus Christ, “for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved” (Acts 4:12, NIV). Everything we see tells us that Asia is on the verge of a great awakening. People who have lived in the darkness are beginning to see the light of Jesus Christ shine in their hearts.
“Open your eyes and look at the fields!” Jesus told His followers in John 4:35. “They are ripe for harvest” (NIV).