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“You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” – Matthew 5:14-16
At the beginning of the year, UK chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) travelled to Australia to share the hope of Christ after the country experienced one of its worst bushfire season in decades.
Left: In January, the Australian bushfires took 34 lives, burned over 2,200 homes and destroyed 26 million acres of land. Billy Graham chaplains were able to minister to hurting hearts from the worst affected areas, Bairnsdale, Victoria, and Batemans Bay, New South Wales—marking the first time the team has run a simultaneous multi-site deployment in Australia.
Right: “What’s made this situation stand out so much is the scale of disaster,” Stewart Beveridge, RRT Manager of Australia said. With such a high magnitude of tragedy, chaplains from the UK and Canada travelled to Australia to help the existing team offer a ministry of presence to those suffering.
Left: Prayer is a vital part of the Rapid Response Team ministry, bringing God into any and every situation.
Right: Serving alongside Samaritan’s Purse, chaplains prayed with over dozens of homeowners in Australia, pointing them to the peace and comfort of Jesus Christ during such a difficult time in their lives. “We’re at a really hard phase,” Beveridge said. “But chaplains are here to help people move from one place to another, helping them to think about the big possibilities, the eternal possibilities—that the reality of God is present in every situation of life.”
On January 25th, Over 3,400 Christians from across the United Kingdom gathered for a national prayer event hosted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. “We were so blessed how Spirit-led and thorough the prayer requests were as we met to cry out to God to move in our nation… We saw the Lord glorified,” one pastor said.
Left: The National Day of Prayer took place in eight cities across the UK. The day was filled with prayers for God to open the hearts of the thousands of people who will hear Franklin Graham share the Good News that Christ is Lord.
Right: Viktor Hamm, vice president of Crusade Ministries at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, shared an encouraging message with the crowd at the National Day of Prayer event in London.
At each of the event, there was time dedicated for worship and praise—thanking God for using the ministry to bring thousands of hearts back to Him.
The prayers for a mighty revival in the United Kingdom were all in preparation for the awaited Graham Tour, which has now been postponed due to legal battles over venue cancellations and the coronavirus pandemic.
In February, Franklin Graham visited London to meet with over 100 pastors and church leaders from across the country who have partnered with BGEA for the Graham Tour.
Franklin Graham reminded pastors and leaders that the Graham Tour will happen despite venue cancellations and facing opposition from the media.
Left: “Our plans will evolve a little bit… With the help of God, people will put their hope in Jesus Christ.” Franklin Graham said. “I hope this tour will ignite a fire in churches across the UK to evangelise. I don’t know what God’s clock is but I believe we are in the midnight hour in God’s time. So let’s get about telling men and women the Gospel. Let’s preach the Gospel from one end of this nation to the other.”
Right: Franklin Graham also spoke with Premier Christian News in London to clarify that the Graham Tour will not be cancelled despite weeks of opposition towards his evangelistic events. He told Premier News: “We’re not here to preach against anyone, but we’re here to tell everyone how they can have their sins forgiven, and how they can have a relationship with God through faith in His Son, Jesus Christ.”
Left: On 15th February, around 100 Christians took a stand for the freedom of speech and religion in Glasgow sparked by venues backing out of hosting the Graham Tour, citing the event as ‘divisive’. A peaceful demonstration was held by the Scottish Family Party outside the historic Glasgow City Chambers.
Right: Demonstrators stood in the rain to stand up for religious freedom in the UK, calling on local leaders to stop discriminating against Christians.
Chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team travelled to Pontypridd in South Wales after the area was hit by severe flooding.
Left: Unprecedented rainfall flooded communities across the region. Thousands of homes were destroyed, and villages were submerged in water for over a week. A team of seven chaplains offered emotional and spiritual support to those affected.
Right: Aside from offering a listening ear and prayer, trained chaplains also provided practical support to the community. From cleaning houses to clearing debris from gardens, chaplains shared the love of Christ through acts of kindness within a struggling community.
Billy Graham chaplains prayed with dozens of people in the community including families and even emergency responders. “We can’t comprehend the emotional challenge the local residents are enduring right now as the flood waters continue to rise but we are blessed to have this opportunity to support them and show the love of Christ during this time of crisis,” Nigel Fawcett-Jones, RRT coordinator for the UK said.
Left: In late February, Franklin Graham proclaimed the Gospel message from an open-air theatre in Saipan—the largest island in the Marianas archipelago.
Right: Franklin Graham’s message was centred on Mark 10:46, where blind Bartimaeus cries out for Jesus to heal him. “You’ve got to be willing to come to Christ in faith. Bartimaeus called in faith. He recognised Jesus was God’s Son,” Graham said before asking people to come forward and make a decision for Jesus Christ.
Left: It wasn’t the first time Franklin Graham ministered in Saipan. After Typhoon Yutu devastated the island in 2018, international relief charity Samaritan’s Purse helped those affected. Franklin Graham said: “When tragedies like this happen, I believe sometimes God opens the door for us to come back and share the life changing message of the Bible.”
Right: More than 3,700 people attended the Marianas Festival of Hope. Hundreds of people who attended responded to an invitation to receive Christ and declare Him as their Lord and Saviour. We praise God for this wonderful outcome!
The outbreak of the coronavirus hit the globe in unprecedented ways, affecting millions of people worldwide. In March, Billy Graham chaplains deployed to Italy—a small country that was hit by the virus exceptionally hard. At the time, Italy had the highest death toll in the world.
Left: Crisis-trained chaplains served at the Samaritan’s Purse 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital in Cremona, Italy. The chaplains worked on the front lines to offer spiritual and emotional support during a deadly pandemic. Marco* (centre), a photographer at the field hospital, wanted to know more about the Gospel and chaplains had the opportunity to share the Good News with him.
Right: “Living in these days of uncertainty, we recognise that the coronavirus global crisis is something we never prepared for,” Jack Munday, international director for BG-RRT said. “Yet we recognise that God knew this day was coming and has helped prepare the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team to share God’s hope and comfort in such a time as this.”
More than 1,800 Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains around the world ministered during the coronavirus pandemic. They were present amongst their community to offer care for their neighbours, while complying with social distancing guidelines.
Left: New York was another area with sky-high infection rates during the early stages of the coronavirus pandemic. Franklin Graham travelled to New York to encourage medical staff at Samaritan’s Purse Emergency Field Hospital.
Right: Scenes of prayer for New York as it became the global hub of the coronavirus. It accounted for around a quarter of the USA’s COVID-19 cases at the time.
Billy Graham chaplains served alongside Samaritan’s Purse medical personnel to meet the emotional, spiritual and physical needs of the people suffering from the pandemic in New York.
With the ongoing coronavirus situation, many experienced loneliness, distress and worries for the future. UK chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team opened a prayer line to reach out to those struggling—providing emotional and spiritual support to share God’s peace through these difficult times.
In May, parts of the United States saw violent protests and riots following the death of George Floyd, a black man who died after being held down by a police officer. His death ignited protests worldwide.
Chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed to Minnesota, North Carolina and Wisconsin after nights of racial unrest and violence. Crisis-trained chaplains were amidst the community to offer emotional and spiritual support during such a tumultuous time.
The chaplains offered a ministry of presence in the midst of crisis and chaos, whilst sharing the comfort and peace that comes through Jesus Christ.
Left: Evangelistic events were postponed because of the pandemic, but the ministry found different ways to share the hope of Christ around the world. In July, Will Graham expanded the reach of the Gospel by hosting an online version of his Celebrations.
Right: More than 530,000 people combined have watched Will Graham’s online events, with thousands indicating that they made a decision for Christ. “I had three Celebrations scheduled, but they were postponed, so we started doing things online—online evangelistic messages where I spoke straight into the camera,” Will Graham said. “We saw some of the greatest ministry take place. Amazing things.”
On 4th August in the capital city of Lebanon, Beirut, an explosion killed more than 200 people and injured over 5,000, The tragedy left feelings of hopelessness and anger amongst the community. “Beirut is now broken, literally smashed,” one man said. “This brings people to a place where they have to ask, ‘Why is this happening?’”
Left: Sami Dagher’s church in Beirut, Alliance Church, was one hard-hit by the explosion. Dagher is a Lebanon-based evangelist and a great friend of the Graham family, pictured above is the pastor speaking at Billy Graham’s funeral back in 2018.
Right: Alliance Church was less than two miles from the explosion. The church building was severely damaged by the explosion, but no one was hurt.
In September, a fatal stabbing rocked the city of Birmingham. The random attack killed one person and injured several others. Even during the COVID-19 pandemic, chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team stood on the streets of Birmingham to share God’s love and comfort to those affected by the tragic event.
Police officers, key responders and members of the public expressed their gratitude to the chaplains, thanking them for their presence and caring for their city during a difficult time.
At the end of October, the UK government announced a second national lockdown after cases of coronavirus rocketed countrywide. During the month-long lockdown, online chat volunteers from BGEA’s internet evangelism ministry, Search for Jesus, spoke to dozens of searching hearts who wanted to know more about God. The trained chat volunteers were able to share the light of Christ despite dark times, offering prayer and encouragement to those in need.
In November, chaplains from the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team deployed to North Carolina, US, after being hit by severe flooding which took five lives, including a one-year-old and a teenager. “We have crisis-trained chaplains who are committed to walking through this with the community,” Josh Holland, RRT’s assistant director said. “We will do whatever we can to let the community know that even in the most desperate circumstances there is a God in heaven who loves them, and that hope and peace can be found through Jesus Christ.”
This year would not have been possible without your support. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association UK would like to extend our gratitude for your faithful prayers and gifts throughout 2020, and we look forward to seeing how God will continue to use this ministry for His Glory.
We wish you a blessed New Year!