Faith Sparked 50 Years Ago Comes Full Circle

By   •   September 26, 2022

Fifty years ago at Billy Graham’s Cleveland, Ohio, Crusade, Don Fischer (pictured) remembers the evangelist saying something to the effect of, “You need to come to Jesus; He’s your only hope.” Don asked Jesus Christ into his heart that night, and will now serve as a counselor at Franklin Graham’s God Loves You Tour stop in Youngstown, Ohio. There, he'll talk and pray with others who make the same decision that changed his life.

Like other U.S. cities, there are many in Youngstown, Ohio—the third stop on the upcoming God Loves You Tour with Franklin Graham—who consider themselves religious. But not every person who believes in God has a personal relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

This past weekend, Franklin Graham kicked off the six-city God Loves You Tour with one-night evangelistic events in Allentown and York, Pennsylvania, to tell people about Jesus Christ, who can change a person’s life for eternity.

The route continues on to Youngstown, Ohio, on Sept. 27; then in Flint, Michigan, on Sept. 29; Waukesha, Wisconsin, on Oct. 1; and finally Rochester, Minnesota, on Oct. 2.

Don Fischer is volunteering as a counselor at the Youngstown event. A full-time evangelist himself, he’s prayed for many years that Franklin Graham would come to his city.

“People want hope,” he said. “They need hope. Billy Graham, Franklin Graham, and Will Graham have always told people, ‘Christ is our hope.'”

Fifty years ago, Fischer was only 3 years old when he heard Billy Graham share the Good News of Jesus Christ at his 1972 Cleveland Crusade.

High up in the stands, Billy Graham’s words reached his little ears. Fischer remembers hearing, “You need to come to Jesus; He’s your only hope.” Billy Graham then invited the crowd to surrender their hearts to Christ—and join him on the field.

“Mommy, I want that,” Fischer recalls saying. “Will you take me?”

With the choir singing “Just As I Am,” he and his mother made their way down the stairs to stand with others who came forward. Soon after, Fischer prayed with a counselor to ask Jesus into his heart as Savior and Lord.

“I’ll never forget it. It changed my life,” he said. “I think about it nearly every day.”

“Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” —Matthew 18:3, ESV

‘We Have to Go Where People Are’

Over the years, Fischer followed Billy Graham’s ministry and was struck by his passion to reach others for Christ. Eventually, Fischer decided to attend Bible college and seminary.

For three decades now, he’s been sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ. This fall, he’ll talk to students at Friday night football games and pass out Gospel tracts. Twice a week, he ministers at the county jail.

Fischer and his wife, Jennifer, travel to state fairs, gun shows, farm shows, and more, using multi-colored Gospel wristbands to explain what Christ did for us.

When people decide to follow Jesus, he gives them a copy of Knowing Christ, a time-tested booklet from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to help them grow in their faith. Thousands of people have prayed with him to ask Christ’s forgiveness of their sins as they seek to put Him first in their lives.

“We have to go where people are,” he said. “We need to get out of our churches, our pews and seats, and get the Gospel out. That’s what Billy Graham and Franklin Graham taught us.”

That—and the power of prayer.

Fischer joins in community prayer meetings for the God Loves You Tour event and walks the grounds of the amphitheatre with local pastors, praying for God to move in Youngstown.

Fischer reflected on how God determined his life’s trajectory many years ago through a messenger, Billy Graham.

July 22 marked 50 years since he asked Jesus to be part of his life, and Fischer celebrated with cake and ice cream, surrounded by his wife and two children.

This week, he will be down front at the Youngstown amphitheatre when Franklin Graham invites people to know Jesus Christ.

Only this time, he’ll serve as a counselor who’s available to pray with people who respond to the Gospel message and pass on BGEA resources to help them grow in their faith.

Christ can change you, too. Put your trust in Him today.