Billy Graham’s Christmas in War-Torn Korea

By   •   December 14, 2015

The 1952 Christmas was a humbling one for Billy Graham. After successfully petitioning Washington, he received military cooperation to visit American soldiers serving in the Korean War.
During his first week in Korea, Billy Graham preached 14 times to more than 7,000 soldiers. Over 1,000 of them made decisions for Christ. “Those of us who were there will never forget it,” Samaritan’s Purse founder Bob Pierce said during a radio broadcast recorded there. "And wherever we have spoken, whether in Army camps, chapels or Korean churches, the buildings have been jammed and earnest, sincere hearts have reverently received the message.”
Billy Graham poses for a picture with a United States Marine in 1952 in Korea. At that point, the war was in its third bloody winter and more than 21,000 Americans had died in battle.
“These men were daily facing death for the sake of their country and freedom,” Billy Graham later said. “As I gave invitations for men to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior, hundreds raised their hands in front of their buddies. Many were weeping unashamedly—men who had faced death just hours before.”
Billy Graham and Bob Pierce, the founder of Samaritan’s Purse, visit with a soldier in the mobile hospital unit.
Bob Pierce joined Billy Graham on the trip to Korea to show him the plight of children during the war. One of their stops included a visit to the children’s hospital.
Visiting with American soldiers in Korea.
In an article for Christian Life, Bob Pierce wrote, "the Army provided transportation, built platforms and furnished the finest amplification and lighting they possessed." These things were critical for Billy Graham to preach to the thousands of soldiers in attendance.
“I wept more in Korea than in all the past several years put together,” Billy Graham said. “These experiences changed my life. I could never be quite the same again. ... I felt sadder, older. I felt as though I had gone in a boy and come out a man.”
Despite below-freezing temperatures, men stood and listened to Billy Graham preach the final service on Christmas Day in 1952.