This Christmas will be one unlike any we have ever seen. While the usual festivities will be there, it will be a time of isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and fear for many people.
The world that greeted the Lord Jesus Christ more than 2,000 years ago had similar hardships and problems. He was born in a lowly stable, his parents were separated from home and loved ones, and their future was uncertain. Who would have believed on that first Christmas night that this child would one day be the Saviour of the world? Years later He said, “Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid” (John 14:27, NKJV).
This is a message our world desperately needs.
When the pandemic hit earlier this year—when hearts were gripped with fear and entire nations shut down—who could have known what God was about to do? Because of the faithful prayers and gifts of friends like you, 2020 was not a year of quarantine or lockdown for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). It was a year of great opportunity and open doors for the Gospel across the globe, and it would not have been possible without you.
In September, BGEA celebrated 70 years of proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ all over the world. Over the decades, friends like you have helped us take this unchanging message to millions of people through our evangelistic Crusades. My father held his first Crusade in London in 1954, and since then BGEA has been heavily involved in ministry in the United Kingdom.
Paul heard my father preach in Birmingham back in 1984. At the time, Paul and his wife were unemployed and looking for something to do, so when they saw a local church offering free lifts to the event, the couple decided to come along. That night, Paul was one of the many who came forward to surrender his life to Christ—and three decades later, he now leads his own church as a pastor. Like so many others, Paul is leading his church in partnering in the Graham Tour out of the gratitude for what God has done in his life and in his community through BGEA. “This is our time to give back to what BGEA has done for us.”
Through the years, my father preached to many people like Paul, in cities such as Liverpool, Aberdeen, Edinburgh, and Glasgow. My son Will Graham and I have partnered with local churches through evangelistic outreach events in places like Belfast, Perth, Falkirk, Peterhead, and Essex. We thank God for the countless lives changed by the Gospel of Jesus Christ in the United Kingdom these past 70 years.
When COVID-19 struck—and in-person evangelism was put on hold—we adapted and seized the opportunity to share God’s love through many other avenues. The ongoing partnership of friends like you has ensured that millions have heard about the peace and hope of Christ through our internet evangelism ministry, our Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains, and many other ministries. We also hosted online training and prayer meetings in the UK to equip God’s people for such a time as this. God always makes a way.
With the postponement of the Graham Tour due to opposition against proclaiming the Gospel in public venues, and with COVID-19 forcing many planned events online, we were blessed to still join together online for prayer and worship in May, when more than 3,000 people from churches involved in the Graham Tour took part. Then in September, we hosted an “I Am Andrew” online training event to help people across the UK find simple ways to share their faith with others.
Our global internet evangelism ministry is still reaching lives every hour of every day, anywhere in the world, with the power of the Gospel. Terrell,* a 17-year-old, found our online ministry where he connected with a trained Search for Jesus chat coach. “With all this coronavirus thing going around, it’s so scary to me. I’m really not a religious person but I don’t know who else to turn to but God,” he said. He shared that his father was a drug dealer and his mother an addict, and wanted to know if there’s more to life than disappointment and hardship. As the volunteer coach explained how God is our only source of peace, Terrell responded, “I want to confess my sins. I want to be saved.” The volunteer walked the young man through repenting of his sins and turning his life over to Christ, and also shared a free online discipleship course with him, encouraging the teen to read God’s Word for himself.
Crisis situations, like COVID-19 or any tragedy in life, present opportunities to offer the Lord’s love and comfort. The current spiritual environment in our countries has shown us the increasing need to have more of our chaplains trained and ready to deploy. Because of your support, Billy Graham Rapid Response Team (BG-RRT) chaplains recently deployed to Birmingham to offer hope in the aftermath of a stabbing attack. Chaplains were able to speak and pray with dozens of hurting hearts, including many who witnessed the attack.
In order to equip believers like you to minister in these challenging times, we have also introduced a short video series and a more in-depth on-demand training called Sharing Hope in Crisis. Both options are available at billygraham.org.uk and will equip you to share God’s love and comfort with family, friends, and co-workers as you learn what to say and what not to say when people are going through trials.
If you or someone you know could use comfort and prayer during this time, we also have BG-RRT chaplains here in the UK who are available to talk by phone. You, your loved ones, or neighbours can request a call back from a chaplain by visiting our website. Please share this with anyone who needs it. There is hope for the future, and we want to tell everyone that this can be found through a relationship with Jesus Christ.
Thank you for your partnership with us in this urgent hour. Even in trying times, your prayers and gifts are sharing the Gospel around the world! It’s because of faithful supporters like you that this ministry has been able to continue not only for the last 70 years, but also through this especially difficult year—and we thank God for you! Your continued giving will make it possible to keep sharing the Gospel for many years to come. This season, your Christmas gift can help someone like Paul or Terrell find hope and peace through such a trying time. Will you prayerfully consider how you can be a part of God’s ministry this Christmas?
Thank you and may God richly bless you.
Franklin Graham | President
YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE
God works through people like you to change the world by the power of the Gospel.
PRAY: Pray for those across the UK who are lonely or fearful this Christmas season, including those who are far from God. Pray that He would continue to open doors for ministry and that lives will be changed by the Gospel
GIVE: This season, you can use your Christmas gift to bring a message of hope to someone who needs the love of Christ. A gift towards internet evangelism will reach searching hearts with the Gospel, or a gift towards Festivals and Celebrations will help make the upcoming Graham Tour a reality.
Did you know that you can make a secure gift online? Click here.