At the end of May, I led an evangelistic Crusade in Belo Horizonte, the third largest city in Brazil with a metro population of more than 4 million people. We were scheduled to use the large soccer stadium downtown, but were preempted at the last minute when the city had to change the dates of two championship soccer matches to make way for World Cup qualifying. We moved the Crusade to a megaplex about 10 miles outside the city, and I wondered how people were going to make their way that far out.
To my surprise, thousands came the first evening, with crowds totaling more than 65,000 on the last day, and several thousand people surrendered their hearts to the Lord Jesus Christ. In the days and weeks since then, hundreds of local churches who partnered with us to proclaim the Gospel have been following up individually with those who made decisions.
Immediately after returning from Brazil, I left for China where I had the privilege of proclaiming the Gospel in Harbin, a city of almost 5.5 million located above the Korean peninsula near China’s border with Russia. It is the largest city of northern China and has many active churches. I preached to an overflow crowd at the Hallelujah Church, which seats 8,000, and when I gave an invitation, hundreds stood to make public decisions for Christ.
While in China, a very special opportunity was given to me to visit Huai’an, the city where my mother grew up. She was the daughter of Dr. L. Nelson Bell, a medical missionary in China. The Central Church of Huai’an, a thriving church close to my mother’s birthplace, has opened a training center that will prepare 60 to 70 lay Christians at a time for strategic outreach and ministry. They’ve named it the Ruth Bell Graham Bible Institute and Museum, and it includes a historical exhibit area with artifacts, displays, and media presentations designed to preserve the stories of what God has done through the years in China.
When the Lord held back the waters of the Jordan River to allow the people of Israel to cross near Jericho, He told Joshua to remove 12 large stones from the riverbed and place them nearby as a permanent memorial. Joshua set up the stones and told the people, “When your children ask their fathers in times to come, ‘What do these stones mean?’ then you shall let your children know, ‘Israel passed over this Jordan on dry ground’ … so that all the peoples of the earth may know that the hand of the Lord is mighty” (Joshua 4:21–22, 24, ESV). The new public exhibit in Huai’an has a very similar purpose, and through it the Gospel is clearly presented.
My daughter, Cissie, and my sister Gigi participated with me in a dedication celebration as, together with our Chinese Christian hosts, we officially opened the center. The next day, on what would have been my mother’s 90th birthday, I preached to more than 5,000 people at a joyful worship service in the Central Church of Huai’an. In the audience were some of my mother’s friends who showed me photos taken with my mother when they were children. It was a wonderful experience for my daughter, my sister, and me to meet them.
What thrilled me the most, however, was when so many stood at the invitation to receive Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior. While the church in America is losing religious freedom and struggling to grow, the church in China is gaining freedom and growing rapidly. It’s not perfect by any means, but it certainly has come a long way in the past 20 years. We’ve already received invitations to preach the Gospel in several Chinese cities in 2011. Pray that the Lord will give us wisdom and guidance so that we may reap the harvest the Lord is preparing.
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I’m preparing for another Rock the River Tour, traveling this month across western Canada from British Columbia to Alberta. Young, high-energy Christian bands will play for about an hour and a half, and then I will get up and preach Christ and trust God for a harvest. The bands will play again, and I’ll return to preach, and trust God to convict of sin and righteousness. More live music will follow, and I’ll preach God’s Gospel again and trust Him to work through the power of the Holy Spirit. Pray for me that God will give me strength, that many young people will be delivered from a hedonistic lifestyle of sex and drugs, and that the power of the Gospel will save them from Hell.
Last summer, God brought thousands of young people to saving faith as we took Rock the River up the Mississippi from Baton Rouge to Minneapolis, and I would appreciate your prayers this month for our outreach in the cities of the Fraser Valley near Vancouver, and then in Edmonton and Calgary.
Like the United States, Canada is an increasingly secularized, godless culture in great need of the Gospel. Pray for a great harvest.
As we move into a busy season of ministry in late summer and fall, BGEA’s income is somewhat down. Pray with us that God will provide resources that match the opportunities He has placed before us. Any financial gift you can give this month would be greatly appreciated. It would be an investment in reaching souls, and we are thankful for your generosity.
My father is well for his age, and his mind is clear. He wants to preach again and is hoping the Lord might give him strength to do so in coming months. I know he would appreciate your prayers.
Thank you, and may God richly bless you,
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
God works through people like you to change the world by the power of the Gospel.
ROCK THE RIVER TOUR
The largest generation in our history knows less about Jesus than any generation before, yet they have a deep hunger for truth. Your gift of any amount can help produce an immediate dividend still this summer as teens and young adults hear and respond to the life-changing Gospel through our Rock the River Tour outreach.
After the Rock the River youth outreach, we will hold an evangelistic Crusade in Osaka, Japan. Shinto and Buddhism are the dominant religions in Japan, and 2 percent of the people know Christ. We need your urgent prayers. Then we’ll go to Latvia for a Crusade, on Russia’s western border. Your gift today will help us bring the Good News to people in Asia and Europe who desperately need Jesus.