In the last several weeks we have seen God work in amazing ways—and in very different situations—on two sides of the Atlantic, from Barcelona to Baltimore.
I recently returned from Barcelona, the second-largest city in Spain, where I preached at the first BGEA Crusade ever held in that country. Spain is best described as a once-Christian nation now engulfed by secularism. Many who identify themselves as part of a church do so for cultural reasons only, and a very large portion of the population say they have no interest in religion at all. Yet Bible-believing churches prayed, and we thank God that He touched many hearts. The former Olympic arena was filled, averaging almost 14,000 each night. I preached through an interpreter, and as I watched hundreds come forward in response to the invitations to receive Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, I was reminded that one day souls from every nation will gather around the throne of Almighty God to worship Him together. I’m looking forward to that day.
Silvana, age 40, was one of those who had no interest. She described her lifelong perspective on God and faith this way: “I didn’t believe in anything.” However, her husband had given his life to Christ several years ago, and she knew how important that was to him. Just out of respect, she decided to attend with him on the first night of the Crusade. During the music, she said later, “I felt something inside I had never felt before.” When the Gospel was preached, “the Lord opened her heart” (Acts 16:14, NKJV) to her need for the Savior. She turned to speak to her husband, but she said her throat was so tight she could not get any words out.
The moment the invitation was given, she headed to the front, tears pouring down her face. Her husband, excited and praying, stayed back so that she could make her decision entirely on her own. She told a counselor named Damaris that she knew many things about Jesus through her husband but now felt desperate to know Him for herself. Damaris helped her understand what was happening inside her, showed her Scripture, and guided her toward a prayer of repentance and faith. When Silvana’s husband joined them, the three hugged joyfully, and Silvana said softly, “Today is a truly new start for me and my family.” We give God the glory for each person in Barcelona whose heart He transformed through this Crusade. Join us in praying for these new believers.
I just completed a Crusade in Jacksonville, Florida, and have another Crusade later in June in Lviv, Ukraine. A week after that, my oldest son, Will, is preaching at a three-day evangelistic Celebration in Arusha, Tanzania. We ask for your prayers.
Baltimore has been much in the news because of protests and violence following the death of a man in police custody. Crisis-trained chaplains on our Rapid Response Team deployed to the city immediately, ministering at all hours to people on the street as well as to law enforcement and emergency personnel.
God gave our chaplains constant opportunities to engage individuals who were angry, encourage people who were frightened, and help defuse confrontations. They did all of this in the Name of Jesus Christ, and on a number of occasions, God opened hearts right in the middle of agitation and confusion. During one of the protest marches, chaplains walked up to a woman screaming in the face of law enforcement officers who lined the street. A chaplain said to her in a calm voice, “You know, everything we see happening right now in Baltimore shows that the city is in crisis and in desperate need of God.”
The young woman stopped her angry screaming, turned to the chaplain, and responded, “I needed to hear that. But right now in this mess, I need to know that God is real.” Chaplains talked with her, gradually drawing her away from the police officers she had been heckling. When the conversation came back to whether God is real and present, she was eager to talk about it. Over the next little while, as God’s Spirit worked, this woman heard and received truth from His Word, recognized that she herself needed to be changed, and gave her life to Jesus Christ right there on the spot. She experienced “the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7), thanked the chaplains, and walked away from the demonstration a new person.
Stories like this emerged daily as God let His presence be felt again and again in individual situations. The mayor of Baltimore and other city officials thanked us for being there. Local law enforcement leaders invited us to spend time with officers in settings away from their street duties, and there are opportunities for our ministry in the city to continue in cooperation with and support of area churches.
Pray for America. The crisis in Baltimore is just one symptom of what we all know—our nation is in trouble. We need to turn back to God. Churches and Christians need to stand up for biblical values while we still can. That is why, in 2016, I will be going to every state to preach the Gospel and challenge believers to boldly live their faith, speak up for truth, and pray. The Decision America Tour will be an opportunity to call the whole nation to prayer and to urge Christians to get off the sidelines. Planning and preparations for the tour are already underway. For more information, or to become part of your state’s prayer team, visit BillyGraham.org/decisionamerica.
Please pray for us as we take the life-changing message of the Gospel to cities across this country and around the world. We can only do this because of the prayers and financial support of concerned friends like you.
May God richly bless you,