In many ways, the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey’s landfall seven weeks ago is still fresh on the minds of those living in the south Texas coastal town of Corpus Christi.
“No jobs. No jobs,” Mike Bordeaux said. “Unless you’re in construction.”
“I’d never seen anything like it,” said Raul Munoz, 51, a lifelong resident. “People were shaking. Some were saying, ‘Where’s God?’”
On Saturday night, Franklin Graham addressed the 5,300-plus huddled inside a minor league ballpark, knowing lost trees, lost jobs and in some cases lost homes were affecting almost everyone. And since then, there’s been more deadly storms, a mass shooting in Las Vegas and fatal wildfires in California.
“Many people are wondering what in the world is going on,” Franklin Graham said as he opened the third stop of Decision Texas: The Lone Star Tour. “Is God trying to tell us something?”
If so, hundreds were all ears.
Responding to a Gospel invitation from Franklin Graham, about 200 walked forward onto the baseball field to the stage while hundreds more texted in to indicate their decision for Christ at Whataburger Field.
“What a night, Corpus Christi!” singer David Crowder said, looking out over a sea of changed lives as he ended the evening with worship.
The infield dirt was covered with young people and families. And families with young people.
A couple and their 5-year-old son from Rockport—where Harvey made landfall—just moved to Corpus Christi. They wanted to recommit their lives to Christ and get plugged into a local church.
A grandmother from Portland—just over the bridge from the stadium—saw a billboard on I-37 and decided to bring her 11-year-old granddaughter, Chloe, who prayed to receive Christ. Neither had been attending church.
A tearful Jasmine in her early 20’s, visiting from Riviera, came forward with a friend and rededicated her life to Jesus.
And Heather, a young mom with young kids, came forward for “a fresh start,” and telling a counselor up front that she would be going through the “Living in Christ” discipleship booklet she received with her kids.
“I could see her tearing up,” said Gail Lewis, the counselor who prayed with her.
“We’re all vulnerable right now and people are still recovering. This [event] was perfect timing.”
Franklin Graham gave a heartfelt Gospel presentation, appealing to those who might be stuck in their sin and others who had never before given their hearts to Jesus Christ.
“Tonight, your sins can be erased; you can have a new beginning,” he preached. “Tonight, you have a chance to tell God, ‘I’m sorry,’ and turn to Him.”
Across Texas, hundreds of Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains have prayed with more than 15,000 affected by Hurricane Harvey over five locations. More than 8,000 Samaritan’s Purse volunteers have helped meet homeowners’ physical needs.
And with four more Texas stops—San Antonio, Round Rock, Waco and Longview—spread out over the next five days, many feeling alone in the Lone Star state will be hearing the Good News that God wants a relationship with them, if they are willing.
That’s Franklin Graham’s mission. “And it’s free,” he said. “By God’s grace.”
“I thought Franklin did a great job. It was fresh and relevant,” Lewis said. “He was bold, addressing issues that many won’t address, but he’s not ashamed to and I really admire that.”