Kwame Adu was too young to know what had happened that day.
On January 26, 1960, his father, Samuel, went to hear Billy Graham speak in Kumasi, Ghana, during his 11-country African preaching tour.
Looking back, Kwame was convinced that the 160-kilometer trek from his small hometown of Ejura to hear Billy Graham preach not only changed his father’s life, but the course of his entire family.
From that day forward, Samuel was a full-fledged follower of Christ and his family grew up knowing all about the person of Jesus, mostly through Billy Graham’s teaching via radio.
“My father made sure we knew the Gospel,” said Kwame, who was 4-years old at the time. “I really believe it was all because of his earlier contacts through the Billy Graham Crusade.
“He made sure that his kids all had a ‘Billy Graham’ kind of faith.”
Two days prior to speaking in Kumasi, Billy Graham spoke in Accra, Ghana, to more than 32,000 people with several thousand making decisions for Christ.
Fifty two years later, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association returns to the west African nation as Billy Graham’s son Franklin Graham will be delivering the Good News at the Ghana Jesus Festival on April 28-29.
For Kwame, now 55, this Festival is a chance for him to give back. The General Secretary of the Scripture Union, Kwame led the Christian Life and Witness classes and was able to share personally about the impact of the 1960 Crusade.
“I talked about the 1960 Crusade as if I was there because of how much my father was affected,” Kwame said. “The Rev. Billy Graham really influenced people during that particular Crusade.”
Billy Graham arrived in Accra from Liberia on the evening of Saturday, January 23, with several hundred Ghanaians welcoming him at the airport.
“I bring greetings to the people of Ghana from millions of Christians in America,” Billy Graham said to newspaper reporters, according to the Associated Press. “This is a crucial hour in Africa.”
But for Kwame, it turned out to be Billy Graham’s radio program, “Hour of Decision,” that may have been most crucial in his spiritual development.
“Sunday after Sunday, we would tune in,” Kwame said. “Myself and my other siblings would tune in to hear Billy Graham preach the Gospel.”
Kwame, who also grew up reading Decision magazine and Peace with God to help enrich his walk with the Lord, said that even if they were not home on a particular Sunday, if they were within earshot of a radio, ELWA out of Liberia would certainly be dialed up.
“I would not have known there was a radio station transmitting ‘Hour of Decision’ if it wasn’t for my father,” Kwame said. “Usually George Beverly Shea would bring the song, then Billy Graham would bring the message.
“Preaching and preaching and preaching to us about having a relationship with Jesus Christ. I can still remember the passion that Billy Graham preached with.”
And this weekend, at the Accra Sports Stadium — which will have a seating configuration to hold about 32,000 people — Franklin Graham will be preaching about that same relationship his father mentioned more than half a decade ago.
“His son Franklin Graham has taken the baton to preach and he preaches almost like his father. It’s amazing,” Kwame said. “I believe the same grace that was on his father is on him.”
Kwame’s expectations for this weekend in Accra are quite simple.
“God-willing, on Saturday and Sunday when the Rev. Franklin Graham preaches the Good News, that Ghana would see a revival,” Kwame said. “And that many young people, men and women, will come to faith in Jesus. That’s my prayer.”
His father Samuel, now 84 but still in good enough health to walk three or four miles a day, has been long looking forward to the BGEA’s return to Ghana.
“He had requested that I bring him from his hometown to Accra,” Kwame said. “He wants me to arrange to bring him down to be a part of the Festival.”