Going the Extra Mile: God’s Love Reaches Key West

By Ron Nickel and TJ Petrino   •   January 17, 2020

The six-city Decision America Sunshine State Tour came to its fourth stop in Key West, Florida, on Thursday. More than 1,300 people from the tourist town came to Truman Waterfront Park to hear a message that rings true on both the sunny and stormy days of life. Another 1,200 viewers watched the event via livestream.
Roaming roosters, creeping iguanas, constant fishing and meandering bicyclists are all common sights on the island. Even though the area is only 4 miles long by 2 miles wide, the island has its own unique culture.
“It’s my first time ever playing in Key West,” Jeremy Camp said before explaining how God changed his life. The singer-songwriter has traveled across the country pursuing his music career and serving in multiple Decision America Tour events alongside Franklin Graham.
Thursday marked Graham's return to Key West after visiting the island in 2017 following Hurricane Irma. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) deployed Rapid Response Team chaplains to minister to affected homeowners as Samaritan’s Purse—another ministry led by Graham—offered physical relief. Although RRT chaplains mostly respond in times of crises, they’re also present along Decision America Tours to offer a listening ear and prayer to attendees.
>> Interested in becoming a crisis-trained chaplain? Learn more.
The sun dipped below the horizon within minutes of the event's start. The beautiful tropic includes two oceans—the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean—that make up Key West's serene, blue-green waters.
Even in paradise, there’s hardship. Everyone needs God. Worship artist Jeremy Camp encouraged the audience to lift their hands together as they sang, “We will overcome.” >> Have you overcome life’s troubles? Jesus is the answer. Come to know Him today.
Outside the Coffee Butler Key West Amphitheater, dozens of protesters held signs about love and judgment. They were invited to an event that told about the greatest lover of all—Jesus Christ.
Just 90 miles from Cuba, Key West is known for being the continental U.S.’s southernmost point. Still, it’s never too far to share the Good News. Graham told attendees about a man named Zacchaeus who went a great height to catch a glimpse of Jesus, climbing a tree to see Him above a crowd. Praise God for those who sought Jesus on the Key West tour stop.
“God knows everything about you, your life,” the evangelist said. "He sees you right here this evening, and He loves you. You’re important to Him.”
Key West is home to mile marker 0—the end of U.S. Interstate 1 which runs more than 2,300 miles from Maine down the East Coast.
After a powerful time of worship, Camp reminded the crowd that God has given us the power to love the unlovable, and that sometimes we're unlovable, too.
In Key West, people who are born here are referred to as “conchs.” But on Thursday evening, islanders received the additional identity of "Christian" when they were born again. Prayer volunteers met with those who made a decision for Christ, talking with them about their newfound relationship and giving them a discipleship booklet called "Living in Christ."
Many Christians around Key West expressed how encouraged they were that the Decision America Tour stopped in their city. Twenty-four churches on the small island have worked closely with BGEA, with 200 volunteers coming together to invite neighbors to the event. Nearly 100 were trained to share their faith through BGEA’s Christian Life and Witness Course.
Hebrews 11:6 says without faith, it's impossible to please God. We're trusting God to continue to grow the faith of those who have been impacted by the Decision America Sunshine State Tour.