40 Years Later, Birmingham Man Prays For More Souls To Be Saved


“Come on, let’s go!”’

Ten-year-old Nathaniel and six-year-old Michelle grabbed their parents’ hands and pulled them toward the stairs. Billy Graham had just invited the crowd in Birmingham’s Villa Park to publicly respond to the Gospel message, and people were streaming down on to the field to pray with a volunteer counsellor.

Nathaniel and Michelle didn’t want to miss the opportunity. With their father, Barry, and mother close behind, they walked on to the pitch, and the entire family surrendered their lives to Jesus Christ.

Pictured: The Bible Barry received at Villa Park after committing his life to Christ.

“It’s like a big burden had been lifted off me,” Barry said.

It’s been 40 years since that day at Villa Park, but his memory is clear as ever.

“I still get emotional about it to this day,” he said, reflecting on the life-long impact of that event.

“I’d just lost my business and I was about to lose my home.”

But God wasn’t done yet.

The volunteer who prayed with them that day was a man named Walter–and he became a life-long friend and spiritual father to Barry until his death a few years ago.

God would go on to use Walter powerfully to help provide for Barry in his time of financial need.

“The Lord not only saved me that day,” Barry said, “but he gave me someone who actually saved my home… my family home.”

Pictured: Walter, the volunteer counsellor who prayed with Barry that night in Villa Park.
Pictured: Walter went on to become a life-long friend and spiritual father to Barry.

Today Barry is in his 70s and is training to be a pastor. Looking back over the years, he acknowledges that that night changed the entire course of his life.

Because of Walter’s generous love over the years, Barry said he now gives to people willingly. “I’m compassionate now. If someone’s got problems, I try to help as much as I can.”

Barry testifies that throughout the good times and the bad, God has been faithful to meet his needs. “What I have in my life today is all due to the Lord, and I have abundantly been blessed.”

Even after a tragic death in the family, Barry says it was the hope of Christ that saw them through – and even led to some extended family members surrendering their lives to Jesus.

Barry is excited about the upcoming God Loves You Tour event with Franklin Graham in Birmingham on 15 June. He’s regularly praying for the event and hopes to help with stewarding and counselling during the outreach.

He says he wants to be a part of the tour because of the personal impact the ministry has had on his life. “I’m one of the seeds!” Barry testified, referring to Jesus’ parable in Luke 8.

Will you pray that God will transform many more lives like Barry’s during this summer’s God Loves You Tour events in Birmingham and Glasgow? If you’d like to volunteer before or during the outreach, visit GrahamTour.org.uk for more information.