Under Florida’s blue, sunny skies, all seemed right with the world in Plant City on Sunday.
During his visit to the city, Franklin Graham even joked that residents better keep their beautiful community a secret or northerners like him might move down.
But life isn’t quite so picturesque—and Roxy knows that personally.
On Sunday, the leather jacket-donned woman came to the second stop of the Decision America Sunshine State Tour a little confused, a little hurt and a little hopeful. She’s always believed in God, she said, but she never understood the Gospel or the effect it could have on her life.
“I need help,” Roxy said, tears filling her eyes.
“I see so many people at peace,” she explained while glancing at the thousands surrounding her, “And I want that.”
Roxy tried to find peace on her own—attending Alcoholics Anonymous meetings, reading books and even trying church. But this Sunday was the first time it all clicked.
“The only hope you have in the earth, in this world, is Jesus,” Franklin Graham told the crowd of more than 9,600.
He went on to explain that a personal relationship with Christ is the key—not religion.
In what can only be credited to the Holy Spirit’s power, Roxy finally realized that relationship is what she’s been searching for all this time.
So when the time came, the middle-aged woman rose from her seat about halfway up the grandstand bleachers to publicly surrender her life to Christ.
“I’m so glad I came here tonight,” she said afterward. “I feel like I finally have hope.”
Small City, Record Participation
If you ask Florida residents about Plant City, there’s a good chance they won’t be able to identify it on a map.
Sandwiched between its flashy neighbors—Tampa and Orlando—this city of 40,000 can get lost in the palm trees.
But leading up to Franklin Graham’s visit to their city, local believers rallied together in a powerful way. Of all six stops on the Sunshine State Tour, Plant City had the most volunteers. In fact, with a total of nearly 1,000 believers involved and over 500 trained counselors, it was the largest group to serve at a Decision America Tour event—ever.
Who are these passionate people?
Well, there’s Dr. Michael, a Messianic Jew from Israel who came to know Jesus 20 years ago. And then there’s Carlos, who listened to Billy Graham Crusades on the radio as a young boy in the Dominican Republic. Oh and don’t forget Chloe, a 26-year-old who wants the Good News to spread across her home state.
“I loved seeing so many brothers and sisters in Christ work for one mission,” Carlos said. “We all want people to come to Christ. We need revival now more than ever.”
Dr. Michael believes that revival has already begun. The new peace Roxy, and hundreds of others, discovered Sunday is just a glimpse of the Holy Spirit at work in this region.
“The Lord is whispering across our land,” Dr. Michael said.