“Incline your ear, and come to me; hear, that your soul may live” (Isaiah 55:3, ESV).
For some of the 70,000 people pouring into Seoul World Cup Stadium on June 3, memories came flooding back.
Exactly 50 years ago on June 3, 1973, 1.1 million people attended the historic finale of Billy Graham’s Seoul Crusade—the largest in-person outreach of his ministry. Over five days, 3.2 million people heard the Good News, and more than 72,000 made decisions for Christ.
At the 50th anniversary event, some came back to Seoul to thank God for what He did for them personally—and for the exponential growth of Christianity in their nation.
Talking about it, their eyes lit up.
“I felt God’s grace,” one petite woman shared, remembering the Crusade. “I cried a lot. I loved it. I remember how Billy Graham was so energetic.”
A husband and wife recalled sitting on the ground at the Yoido Plaza airstrip. Within a couple years, he became a pastor and they started a church in Seoul, which grew from six people to thousands in attendance.
More than 5,700 churches from across South Korea participated in Saturday’s celebration. Christian leaders are praying this milestone will spark another revival—something they say the church needs once again.
God answered the prayers of many believers as more than 6,400 people made decisions for Christ.
Franklin Graham was invited by a group of local leaders to speak at the special gathering and boldly proclaimed the Gospel.
“Jesus Christ came to save you,” Franklin Graham said. “If you’re willing to accept that by faith, believe on His Name, turn from your sins, your soul will be safe in His hands for eternity.”
Sitting halfway up in the stadium, 42-year-old Sung Eun had never grasped that she was a sinner. She wasn’t even sure Jesus was real.
As Franklin Graham preached, the mother scribbled thoughts and questions on a paper program.
“I cannot see Him, hear Him,” she wrote. “Why is it so difficult to confess my sins? Why not follow Him?”
As the sermon went on, she added, “I believe He died for me.”
Franklin Graham asked those who wanted to receive Christ to stand, and Sung Eun did.
“This was my first time meeting Jesus personally,” she said after confessing her sins and praying to surrender her life to Him.
“I didn’t want to come,” she admitted, but a friend had invited her. Afterward, tears of joy slipped down her face. “I feel relieved,” she said.
A Father in Heaven
Five decades ago, Seung Hyun Jang had just returned from serving in the Vietnam War when he volunteered at the 1973 Crusade.
Shuffling into the stadium, surrounded by his family, the elderly pastor leaned heavily on two canes.
Thinking back 50 years, he recalled Billy Graham saying that we’re never alone because we always have a Father in Heaven.
“I was so touched by the message,” he said.
He also remembered watching Dr. Billy Kim interpret Billy Graham’s message from the platform, mimicking his tone and gestures.
As the special day came to a close, tens of thousands sang hymns and proclaimed God’s glory and His goodness.
In a time of fervent prayer, leaders and attendees asked God to draw South Koreans to Him once again.
“Let the generations arise,” they prayed. “Let Your power and Your Word pass over and revive our nation.”