Rain or Shine, Thousands Show Up to Hear the Gospel in New Hampshire

By   •   May 24, 2019

The third stop of the seven-state Decision America Northeast Tour with Franklin Graham took place in Manchester, New Hampshire, on Thursday. Although weather forecasts predicted rain, thousands still showed up to the event, eager to hear the Gospel.
The evening kicked off with Dennis Agajanian, whose guitar picking had people clapping to the beat.
New Hampshire was the first of the 13 colonies to declare independence from England, leading the revolutionary cause in 1776. The city of Manchester continues to make waves as the largest metropolitan area in the state. Less than 60 miles north of Boston, it sits on the banks of the Merrimack River.
Although this was Franklin Graham’s first time in the city, his father Billy Graham preached in Manchester twice before—1964 and 1982—including at Gill Stadium where Franklin spoke on Thursday. >> See photos from Billy Graham's Crusades in the Northeast.
Many families, friends, youth groups and college students came to the event. Among them was 22-year-old Anthony, a University of Massachusetts Lowell student who came forward at the end of the event to rededicate his life to Christ. "I felt I had sins I needed to overcome and challenges to face," he said. "This decision was long overdue. Now I feel I am fully forgiven."
Before Franklin Graham took the stage, his son, Will Graham, prayed for him. Earlier in the day, Will had a book signing for his new devotional in Charlotte, North Carolina, before flying to New Hampshire to support his father. >> Get your copy of Will's Graham's book, Redeemed: Devotions for the Longing Soul here.
At the end of Dennis Agajanian's set, many stood to join in singing "God Bless America." Dennis traveled with Franklin during most of the 2016 Decision America Tour visiting every state capital to encourage Christians to pray for the nation.
Hope for revival is one reason behind the Decision America Northeast Tour—and worship is just the start of it.
With more than 80 colleges within 50 miles of Manchester, young faces were common in the crowd. Among them were 17 teenagers from a nearby church. "My grandma told me about [the Decision America Tour] and I told all my friends," 18-year-old Collete said (pictured left). "Our younger generation is falling away," she later added. "[Events like this] are more important now than ever. ... This country has lost its morality so bringing people back to the Word of God—and what it means to be a Christian—is so crucial."
Collete and her friends joined the energetic crowd that joyfully twirled and jumped around in front of the stage as David Crowder and his band led worship. At the event's conclusion, some lined danced to his version of "I'll Fly Away." But even the close of the event didn't end worship—they continued dancing while the rest of the crowd dwindled.
Dark clouds loomed overhead as Franklin took the stage. "All day long I've been watching that radar," Franklin said, commenting on how storm after storm seemed to be coming through. Several colorful umbrellas popped open as a few raindrops fell from the sky. But Franklin continued, "People have prayed. Even if we get a little sprinkle, I’m not leaving. God’s brought us here tonight." Counting the rain as a sign of God's blessing, he shared the Word of God.
"There was a man in the Bible who had zero hope," Franklin told the crowd. "Maybe you feel like that right now." Sharing the story of how blind Bartimaeus was healed by his faith in Jesus in Mark 10:46-52, Franklin told the Gospel message while many listened intently.
The 60 degree temperature was considered a warm day in New Hampshire—perfect for an ice cream cone. On average, the state receives more than 60 inches of snowfall per year.
Rain has been in the forecast every night of the Decision America Northeast Tour so far, but it has yet to hinder any of the events.
"Outside of Jesus, there's no hope," Franklin said as the sun set behind him. "Jesus is able to discern your heart here tonight. He sees you, he knows everything about you. Jesus knows where you are in your life." >> Do you have hope in Jesus? Place your trust in Him today.
Many went forward to receive that hope. Walking to the front of the stage, those who made decisions for Christ were approached by prayer counselors who offered them prayer and a booklet to help guide them in their walk with Christ.
The state's motto "Live Free or Die" is often carried out by locals choosing a more carefree lifestyle. Even New Hampshire's traffic laws are loose, not requiring drivers to wear seat belts. But no matter how much freedom one has on earth, there are consequences for sin. True freedom only comes through Jesus Christ. John 8:36 says, "Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."
"God will set you free tonight, but you’ve got to come to faith in Jesus Christ," Franklin shared. Praise God for those who are now free after Thursday's event.