‘We are therefore God’s ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us.’ (2 Corinthians 5:20, NIV)
At the start of this new year, I want to say thank you for the support you have provided through your prayers and your financial gifts.
In 2017, we have a full slate of Crusades across North America and around the world. The churches in Vietnam have invited me to hold an evangelistic Crusade in the capital city, Hanoi, next December. Please join me in praying that they will be able to get the necessary permits from the government. This would be the first evangelistic outreach of this kind in Hanoi in modern history.
In addition, church leaders in Cambodia have asked us to hold a Crusade in its capital city, Phnom Penh. Can you imagine being able to preach the Gospel just a few miles from the killing fields where more than a million people were massacred by the Khmer Rouge almost 40 years ago? Pray for these leaders and that the permissions will be granted to take the Gospel into a dry and thirsty land. Hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. and around the world told us that they made a life-changing decision for Christ during 2016 as a result of the ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
We thank God for each and every one — and we give Him the glory! We couldn’t do this work without your faithful prayers and gifts. I am deeply grateful for your partnership in the Gospel. May God use you in His service in this
May God richly bless you,
P.S. If you have been praying for someone you care about who
needs to come to repentance and faith in Jesus Christ, I urge you to
keep on praying and not let up. We cannot know when someone’s
heart will be ready, but God does know, and He is faithful.
An eleven-year-old girl called Bobby was among those who found new life in Christ during the recent Will Graham Celebration in Peterhead. She was one of 23 people baptised by Pastor Stuart Watt from Mintlaw Community Church following the event.
The village of Mintlaw, in northeast Scotland, has a population of just 2,800 and lies in one of the most sparsely populated corners of the United Kingdom. So it is all the more remarkable that on 13 November Stuart held a mass baptism in a local swimming pool. The village is fifteen miles inland from Peterhead where, in October 2016, Will Graham held a Celebration of Hope.
“That celebration was a massive part of what happened,” said Stuart. When he heard about the Will Graham Celebration, he decided to support the churches in Peterhead and encouraged his people to attend.
“My most evangelistic people signed up as counsellors,” he said. “But God is no man’s debtor, and I knew He would do something for our church too through this.” One of Stuart’s greatest joys was to baptise an 11-year girl called Bobby, who committed her life to Jesus during the Celebration.
When the outreach finished, Stuart had a sense there was more to come. “I’ve been speaking to the leaders of other fellowships, and they’re seeing a steady trickle of people who have been stirred and are coming in,” he said. “In small communities like this, hearing about the outreach was almost unavoidable. There are goodness knows how many people who didn’t come to the event but are listening to the ‘chatter’ on social media.”
“At the moment we’ve got as much as we can cope with,” said Stuart. “But I’m convinced there are still multitudes in the Valley of Decision. God is doing great things here, and we have so much to be thankful for.”
The Emerging Evangelist Institute
Working in partnership with the local church, we passionately believe that a key strategy for Gospel impact across the UK and beyond is the equipping of those who hear the call to the office of the evangelist.
The Emerging Evangelist Institute (EEI) is supported by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) in the UK and exists to run alongside those who have such a stirring within, seeking to equip them to clearly proclaim Jesus and to equip the saints for service.
One EEI graduate started a church-wide street outreach team in Blackpool and testimonies soon started to come in. Recently, one young woman responded to the preaching of the Gospel, surrendered her life to Christ, and is now being discipled in the local church.
As a direct result of EEI, new initiatives are springing up in different countries. ‘Red Timoteo’ (Timothy Network) in Spain was the vision of EEI graduate Helder Favarin. Having been deeply impacted during his time at EEI, Helder gathered Spanish leaders and started equipping young evangelists across Spain. At least 40 young evangelists have been trained or are in training.
A similar initiative started this year in Iceland and an EEI-type training is due to launch in Italy this April.
EEI training includes opportunities for young evangelists to participate in BGEA evangelistic Festivals or Celebrations across Europe. With a ‘behind the scenes’ insight into the running of such an event, and partnering with local churches in the host city in training and preaching the Gospel, such opportunities prove both inspiring and formative.
In October 2016, 18 evangelists partnered with Will Graham and his team in the Peterhead ‘Celebration of Hope’. Evangelistically serving the local churches and participating at the Celebration itself, it was an encouraging week. The evangelists were stretched, local believers challenged, and most importantly, souls came to Christ! It truly was an inspiring occasion.
• That the Lord would release the finances we need to
continue to encourage more churches to proclaim
• That the Lord would continue to bless people in
crisis through the work and ministry of the BGEA’s
Rapid Response Team
• That the Lord would provide for the needs of the
Emerging Evangelist Institute to equip and support
Sharing Hope in Crisis
Often we find it hard to face up to the tragedies of those around us. Not just the large-scale tragedies like terrorism or freak floods, but also the personal tragedies such as when a friend is caught in a road accident or a relative is diagnosed with cancer. It is easier to keep away and pretend it is not happening.
The Christian response, however, is to look reality in the face and find the words and actions which bring comfort. That is why the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is offering seminars which teach people how to share hope in crisis.
Anne investigated volunteering opportunities and came across the BGEA in the UK for the first time. She felt a calling which went beyond the people of Bexhill.
Anne volunteered to become a member of the BGEA UK’s Rapid Response Team and in January 2016 was deployed to Shipley, in Yorkshire, following the devastating floods there. Initially she joined other chaplains going house-to-house offering support. “People were grateful for prayers and hugs as well as practical help such as warm clothing and food, and some cried,” Anne said. “Somebody wanted a wardrobe moving, and we were able to stay awhile and share the love of God. What was most appreciated was our simply being there and listening.”
Seeking to develop her skills further, she attended a Sharing Hope in Crisis seminar in Gosport. Anne was particularly inspired by the videos from Jack Munday, who heads up Rapid Response Teams in the United States.
The Gosport seminar so impressed her that she persuaded her own church to host its own Sharing Hope in Crisis seminar in October 2016. Over 50 people came, to the great encouragement of Nigel Fawcett-Jones, who leads the Rapid Response Team in the UK.
“Increasingly I see Christians wanting to do more to support their local community,” he said. “It doesn’t take a disaster to come across those in need; the loss of a loved one, financial struggles, job loss or just the uncertainty of the times we live in, all take a toll on an individual’s resilience. We want to help the church respond in an appropriate way to the very real needs of a community that is hurting.”
So what hope does the team ultimately offer in crisis? “The only real hope is Jesus,” says Anne. “By serving people you demonstrate His love and so win the right to speak about Him.”