Nestled in the Blue Ridge range of the Appalachian Mountains is the quiet town of Black Mountain, N.C. For residents of Montreat, longtime home of Billy Graham, this small suburb is more than their neighbor; it’s a place where they claim as their own.
So when the announcement was made that Billy Graham would be presenting a new message, the local community took notice. Montreat Community Church, where Gigi Graham and her family are members, spearheaded an effort to bring My Hope America to Mr. Graham’s own neighbors.
“A large majority of the business owners in Black Mountain are Christian,” Gigi said. “Daddy always said it’s worth it even if just one will commit their lives [to Christ].”
Invitations were distributed to local merchants so they could invite their customers to a birthday celebration for Billy Graham at the Black Mountain Center for the Arts. A framed photo of Mr. Graham’s late wife, Ruth Bell Graham, sits inside the center, which she helped raise funds to build.
The meeting room set up for the viewing of My Hope America’s first program installment entitled “Defining Moments” quickly filled to capacity. There were people standing in the doorway to catch a glimpse of this important message.
And when they realized even that wasn’t enough, a second room up the stairs from the first – staged with cupcakes and punch for guests to enjoy after the screening – turned into a secondary viewing space.
At the end of the presentation, Gigi Graham’s husband, and My Hope regional coordinator, Jim Wilson gave an invitation for those in attendance. In a room that was full of mostly Christians, six people indicated decisions to accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
Gigi shared that in her father’s early days of preaching, he was once filling in for renowned pastor Torrey Johnson at an event where the leaders were not confident in the young Graham’s substitution. Even then when just one man came forward at the invitation, it was all for the glory of God.
“My father impressed that the way to spell evangelism was P-R-A-Y,” Gigi said. “That is what we continue to do for My Hope. We will pray that these programs will reach even one that need to hear the Word.”
For local and national TV listings of “The Cross,” click here.