Our nation has recently faced a surge of deadly disasters, including three massive hurricanes, unprecedented floods, the worst mass shooting in modern U.S. history, devastating wildfires in the West, and now a terrorist attack in New York City—all occurring within the last ten weeks.
In that time, we have deployed more than 500 crisis-trained chaplains from our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to as many of the hard-hit areas as we can. Our chaplains bring prayer, encouragement, and the love of Jesus Christ to people affected by the tragedies. The teams have provided caring ministry and prayed one-on-one with over 30,000 individuals in 17 cities in Texas, Florida, Nevada, California, and now New York.
We are thrilled that as God works through the chaplains, already over 700 people have opened their hearts to the Gospel in repentance and faith, receiving new life and permanent citizenship in “the eternal kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 1:11, NASB).
As I write, I have just completed a tour of seven cities across Texas, sharing the Good News of “Christ Jesus, who is our hope” (1 Timothy 1:1).
This is a state that was hit hard by Hurricane Harvey and the devastating floods that followed. We had made plans for the Decision Texas tour long before the disaster, and now we see God’s timing. Many people there and across the nation are asking why He allows all this suffering, grief, and loss. At each stop I reminded people of God’s wonderful love and faithfulness, and—following Jesus’ example—I called all who do not know Christ to repentance.
People around Jesus once brought the same question about suffering and offered their own theories on why God would permit some of the tragic events of their day. Here is Jesus’ response:
“Do you suppose that these Galileans were greater sinners than all other Galileans because they suffered this fate? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish. Or do you suppose that those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them were worse culprits than all the men who live in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent, you will all likewise perish’” (Luke 13:2–5).
Rather than allow His listeners to spend time on speculations, He drew them to focus on the condition of their own souls. Jesus’ first and highest concern is for sinners who urgently need to “repent and believe in the gospel” (Mark 1:15). Tragedies such as we have seen in our nation in recent weeks are likewise times when we should examine ourselves and make sure we have turned from our sins. The surest path to lasting hope is through a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We thank God for every one who gathered to hear that message—and especially for the more than 3,000 who responded to the Gospel in faith and repentance.
At every stop we also joined together in prayer for the victims of disaster, for the state and its leaders, and for our nation and those who lead it.
My son Will Graham recently led an evangelistic Crusade in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and God’s hand was evident. Thousands attended, and tens of thousands across the country and around the world heard the Gospel by watching online. Many hundreds let us know about their decision for Christ. To God be the glory for every life changed. Will has just returned from preaching at a three-day Crusade event in Romania and heads this weekend to lead a region-wide outreach in the Canadian province of Prince Edward Island.
My father will turn 99 on November 7. He’s doing reasonably well, though he lives with many of the limitations anyone that age might expect. Back before his 95th birthday, while working on a sermon based on Galatians 6:14, he posted the verse all over the house so he could saturate his mind with it. To this day the words are still up in very large letters on his bedroom wall: “God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world” (NKJV). I know he appreciates your prayers.
In a few days I will lead an evangelistic Crusade in Oslo, the capital and largest city of Norway. The nation has a rich heritage of Christianity, and an overwhelming majority of Norwegians have a church affiliation, but in recent years only 4 percent attend church on any given Sunday. Opposition to evangelism is on the rise, especially in and around Oslo. Even so, evangelical churches are active in sharing the Gospel, and a number of those churches have invited me. I ask for your prayers.
We thank the Lord that He continually opens doors for “preaching the kingdom of God and teaching the things which concern the Lord Jesus Christ” (Acts 28:31), and we are grateful to friends like you who actively partner in this work by your prayers and gifts. Thank you for all you do for His kingdom.
May God richly bless you,