Bridging the Gap in Bridgeport

By Ron Nickel and TJ Petrino   •   May 29, 2019

Franklin Graham and David Crowder have become good friends while traveling and sharing the Gospel together, with Franklin preaching the Good News and Crowder telling people about Jesus through his music. They did the same Tuesday night in Bridgeport, Connecticut, during the sixth of seven stops on the Decision America Northeast Tour.
Always bold in telling people about Jesus, Franklin Graham was also soft toward the audience, sharing his own experience of accepting Christ into his life in his 20s. “Jesus, if you can just take the broken pieces of my life and put it together, you can have it,” he remembered. Throughout the Decision America Tour, Franklin has had a particular concern for future generations and the spiritual condition of the world they will grow up in.
The sixth stop on the Northeast Tour was held at Seaside Park, overlooking the calm waters of Long Island Sound.
This couple busted out a fun umbrella for whatever weather may come. Other fun things from the state of Connecticut: It’s home to the first hamburger (1895), Polaroid camera (1934), helicopter (1939) and color television (1948).
Based on 2014 stats from the Pew Research Forum, more than half of adults across Connecticut seldom or never read Scripture. Five years ago, 43 percent of them didn't believe the Bible is the Word of God. One way the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association helps spread the Gospel is through Decision magazine, the evangelical voice for today. Many in the crowd took a copy on Tuesday evening. Read more from Decision.
Beautiful churches can be found across the state of Connecticut, and many of them have been praying ahead of the Decision America Tour. Franklin Graham has often said it’s vital to cover a place in prayer, asking the Holy Spirit to move among the people, before preaching in a certain location. Only God can change hearts.
These free evangelistic events began in 2016 with the original Decision America Tour at all 50 state capitals. Since then, Franklin has held multi-city Decision America Tours in Tennessee, Texas, California and the Pacific Northwest. Guitarist Dennis Agajanian has been a regular throughout the tours.
You can be forgiven of every sin, no matter the severity, Franklin said, as he shared the story of the Prodigal Son. In the Bible, the Prodigal Son was a wayward child who committed many sins, but was readily forgiven when he went back home to his father. Is it time for you to return to your Father in heaven?
Keen and clear-eyed, World War II veteran Stew Lahey said, “God reigns!” He pointed to the sky prior to the event and laughed, “Not that kind of rain.” Thankfully, the skies held back until the event was over.
The night ended with a bang—literally. Colorful umbrellas opened up across the lawn of Seaside Park as people faced left of the stage to watch the sky burst into color. Like previous stops on the Northeast Tour, the forecast called for rain in Bridgeport. The crowd of about 3,600 came prepared for wet weather, but didn’t need their raincoats or umbrellas until the very end, just as the event wrapped up with a cheer-inducing round of fireworks.
More than 25,000 people have been part of the Northeast Tour so far. Many have brought loved ones to hear about Jesus, and some on Tuesday had tears in their eyes after hearing the simplicity of the Gospel.
David Crowder hails from Texas, but has been a staple onstage as Franklin Graham crosses the Northeast.
Right by Seaside Park is the University of Bridgeport. Half an hour north in the city of New Haven is Yale University, the third-oldest higher education institution in the nation. There were plenty of college-age faces in Tuesday's crowd, along with children and the elderly—all of various ethnicities.
These folks came prepared with lawn chairs and a cooler. Did you know one of America’s pastimes originated in Bridgeport? In 1871, William Frisbee opened a bakery in town and sold pies in glossy tins—what he called “Frisbee’s pies.” Students from nearby Yale realized that when the pie tins were empty, they could be tossed back and forth. By 1948, Walter Frederick Morrison and Warren Franscioni picked up on this fad and invented a plastic version of the disk. The Frisbee was born.
The Decision America Northeast Tour with Franklin Graham began on May 19. Before Tuesday's stop, the tour reached Portland, Maine; Burlington, Vermont; Manchester, New Hampshire; Springfield, Massachusetts; and East Providence, Rhode Island.
The tour's last stop is in Syracuse, New York, where Billy Graham preached 30 years ago in April 1989. Don't stop praying for the Decision America Tour—not only for the new believers so far but for the tour to continue drawing those who need to hear about Jesus.