Fear is gripping many hearts in this global pandemic, and people don’t know where to turn for hope. The Gospel we proclaim is the only message that can bring peace in the midst of any storm in life.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? … [nothing] in all creation will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Romans 8:35, 39, ESV).
With so many hearts open and searching for answers, the opportunities to share this Good News are everywhere. In a quarantined world, we are adapting and finding creative new ways to reach out, and your prayers and gifts are making a big impact around the globe right now.
I recently completed a special Easter broadcast in New York City’s Central Park with my friend Michael W. Smith. The Easter service aired on FOX News at 10 a.m. I presented the Gospel and gave an invitation, asking people to receive Jesus Christ into their lives. Sixty percent of people in America normally attend a religious service on Easter weekend, but this year most churches did not meet in their buildings as they typically do. What an incredible opportunity to present the Good News to a world that desperately needs God! Hundreds of thousands watched, and many called in to pray with our team members and make a decision for Christ.
My son, Will, also delivered a message of hope online from the Billy Graham Library on Good Friday, sharing the Good News of what Jesus Christ did for us on the cross.
Easter Sunday has come and gone, but the reality of Christ’s resurrection from the dead never fades. Our Lord said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me will live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me will never die” (John 11:25–26, NASB).
I recently wrote about our television ads which shared the Gospel and encouraged people to call our 24-hour prayer line. More than 65,000 people have called, and over 3,000 people have prayed to receive Jesus Christ into their lives with a representative over the phone. If you are struggling with worry in the midst of this crisis and would like to pray, call us at 888-388-2683, or share this number with your loved ones, friends, or others on social media.
Our 60-second TV ad was also translated into Italian, and beginning on Good Friday, it aired on one of the top secular stations in Italy with a potential audience of 40 million people. This was the first time a presentation of the Gospel ever ran on a secular station there, and we praise God for those people who called our Italian prayer line.
Social distancing is becoming the new normal. Before, people often found connection by being around people in groups; now millions of people are going online to communicate and look for answers. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association created special webpages in six languages to offer spiritual comfort and hope in light of the pandemic. Over 173,000 people have visited these sites, and more than 10,000 people have indicated making decisions for Jesus Christ. Please pray for God to continue reaching many more lives through this outreach.
Sean,* a registered nurse in an emergency room at an upstate New York hospital, connected recently with one of our trained volunteers online. Because several recent patients have tested positive for the virus, he is concerned about his exposure. Sean told John,* our online volunteer, “I want to know Jesus as a personal Savior and not just as a theory.” Over several days they continued their conversation, and John explained the Gospel, sharing about God’s grace and mercy. Sean prayed with John to repent of his sins and open up his life to the Lord Jesus Christ. He was finally able to say, “I believe in the Gospel and in the love of Jesus. I have no fear of death, because I am in God’s hands now.”
Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains are actively ministering around the world during this pandemic. We just launched our first-ever national deployment, encouraging our 1,800-plus chaplains to wear their signature blue shirts for ministry opportunities to serve their neighbors—in compliance with CDC guidelines and safety protocols. Although this is a new kind of crisis for the ministry, many chaplains have shared experiences of comforting and praying for people in public places.
Chaplains are on the ground in Cremona, Italy, and New York City serving at Samaritan’s Purse emergency field hospitals. Italy is the epicenter of this crisis, and New York is currently the hardest hit area of the U.S. Please pray for them as they minister to patients, first responders, medical personnel, and family members.
A physician assistant who worked in the Cremona field hospital’s ICU told our chaplains of her desire to have Bibles in every ward. Chaplains connected with a local pastor who brought three cases of Italian New Testaments for each patient to receive.
One chaplain in Italy began speaking with Antonio,* a recovering patient. When Antonio asked if he was afraid to be around so many sick people, the chaplain took advantage of the moment and began sharing the Gospel of Jesus Christ with him. He carefully explained the plan of salvation and explained to the patient that he was loved by God. Antonio indicated he wanted to place his faith in the Lord, and he prayed to receive Jesus Christ into his life. The chaplain gave him an Italian New Testament and will help Antonio connect with a local Bible-believing church upon his release from the hospital.
People are experiencing many changes due to COVID-19, and the world will likely be different after this virus passes. But for the believer, our confidence does not rest in the passing things of this world. We place our faith in the unchanging nature of God. Like the prophet Jeremiah, we can say, “The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness” (Lamentations 3:22–23, ESV).
Thank you for your prayers and gifts during these crucial days that share the hope of Jesus Christ with people around the world.
May God richly bless you,
*Names changed to protect privacy