“And he said to them, ‘Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation.'” —Mark 16:15
The year 2019 will be the first full year the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) will exist without Billy Graham.
His oldest son, Franklin Graham, has spoken often about how much he misses his father, who went to be with Jesus in February at the age of 99.
“We rejoice and praise God that my father was given the privilege of preaching the Gospel to more people face to face than any other person in history,” Franklin said. “But the job isn’t finished. We have another generation who needs to hear this wonderful message.”
In 2019, BGEA President Franklin Graham, his son Will Graham, and several other associate evangelists will advance the mission Billy Graham dedicated his life to carrying out.
In addition to taking the Gospel message to the Northeast U.S. next spring, Franklin will travel to major cities on at least three other continents where local Christians have invited him to come and preach.
Please join the BGEA in praying for God’s Word to move hearts and souls around the world.
The first Festival of the year is scheduled to take place in Bangkok, Thailand, on Jan. 19–20. With a population of more than 8 million, the riverside capital is about the size of New York City.
Bangkok is dotted with shrines—visible reminders of the nation’s strong ties to Buddhism. But the small population of Christians is passionate about sharing the hope of Jesus Christ. That passion may be due in part to the consequences they often face for putting their faith in the Lord.
“If a member of a Thai family becomes Christian it is often seen as a rejection of the family and their Thai heritage,” said Viktor Hamm, BGEA’s vice president of Crusade ministries.
Thai Christians have faced difficulties over the years, including a royal prohibition against Christianity in the early 1700s and persecution under the Japanese occupation during WWII. But what could have pushed Christ followers away from their faith seems to have brought them together in unity.
“Although Christians make up about 1 percent of the population, they are vibrantly sharing the message of Christ,” Hamm said. “More than 540 churches are involved in the Festival.”
On the 60th anniversary of Billy Graham’s historic tour of Australia, Franklin Graham will share the Gospel in half-a-dozen cities from one end of the continent to the other.
In 1959, Billy Graham traveled across Australia and New Zealand sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ. More than 3 million people—nearly a third of Australia’s population at the time—attended a Crusade event.
The Sydney Morning Herald called the tour “one of the most remarkable religious phenomena ever experienced in this city.”
“Australia today is a nation in need of spiritual revival,” Franklin Graham said. “Secularism has put down roots, and almost one in three people claim to have no religion at all. The Bible says, ‘God was moved by prayer for the land’ (2 Samuel 21:14, NASB)—pray that God will touch that land and open many hearts to the life-changing power of the Gospel.”
BGEA is partnering with more than 1,200 churches throughout Australia for the Graham Tour, which will stop in Perth, Darwin, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney from Feb. 9–24.
“Much has changed in the world in the past 60 years, but Franklin Graham delivers the same life-changing message his father delivered in Australia all those years ago,” Hamm said. “The tour across Australia is singularly focused on sharing the Gospel—the Good News of Jesus Christ—so that lives, and the nation, may be changed.”
On Easter weekend, April 19–20, Franklin Graham is scheduled to hold a Festival of Hope in Cúcuta, Colombia, on the border of Venezuela.
Preparations for the Festival come at a time when millions of people in the region are searching for hope.
In what has been called the Venezuelan Exodus, up to 20,000 Venezuelans are streaming out of their country each day, fleeing unprecedented levels of poverty and violence. Cúcuta is often one of the first stops on the refugees’ long and dangerous journey to a better life.
In October, Franklin traveled to Cúcuta and visited an aid station set up by Samaritan’s Purse to provide food, water and basic supplies to Venezuelans passing through in droves.
“People are leaving by the millions,” he wrote. “It is a heartbreaking situation. Some people in Colombia are opening their homes to assimilate those fleeing into their communities, and the churches are opening their arms and their doors to help.”
As believers around the world pause to celebrate the resurrection of Christ, the BGEA will partner with many of those local churches to share the hope of Jesus with people who desperately need it.
“They’re coming to Colombia looking for hope,” Franklin said. “We want to share not only [relief] with them—we want to share our faith and trust in Jesus Christ. God has not forgotten them.”
In November, Franklin Graham will hold his first Festival in Phnom Penh, Cambodia’s bustling capital city of 1.5 million people.
This historic event will give Christians a chance to celebrate and share their faith in Christ—something they have not always been able to do without risking their lives.
“Christian history in Cambodia has been written with blood,” Hamm said. “Atrocities committed against Christians in the 70s [under the Khmer Rouge] are well documented. Yet, the Word of God can’t be bound, and God’s remnant will always be present, no matter the circumstances and opposition.”
Cambodian Christians are a tiny minority in the primarily Buddhist Kingdom of Cambodia. Much like their Thai brothers and sisters in Christ, the Cambodian believers have faith that can’t be contained.
“The Church in Cambodia is vibrant,” Hamm said. “A delegation of senior Christian leaders came to invite Franklin to Phnom Penh. Without hesitation, Franklin accepted the invitation.”
A public launch of Festival preparations is set for mid-February. Hamm said discussions with government officials are currently underway to secure a proper venue.
“We are asking all Christians to pray for this historic effort.”