Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God. #BillyGraham
In October of 2002, Billy Graham came to Dallas to speak in what was to be one of his last crusades, The Metroplex Mission, a four night event. Weeks before, our church was contacted by the BGEA to be one of the participation area churches. I participated in a Billy Graham five-week training program at our church and volunteered to be a counselor at the Dallas Metroplex Mission crusade.
Part of the 5-week training program included bible verse memorization, which my oldest daughter, Michelle, helped me with. As a result, she memorized those bible verses too. It was during this time I was burdened to pray for one of my husband’s friends who was in the hospital and was not expected to live. My daughter and I went to visit him in the ICU at the hospital where we found him on a ventilator and unable to talk. That gave us plenty of opportunity to do all the talking. We shared some of the Bible verses from the BGEA training, went over the plan of salvation, and prayed out loud for him.
The next day, my daughter told me that she had been sharing Bible verses with her boyfriend and that he’d been asking a lot of questions about becoming a Christian. I encouraged her to go over the plan of salvation with him as soon as God gave her the next opportunity, which came that very night. He received Christ as His Savior, as a result of her sharing the gospel with him, and his response to God ‘s call. He started attending our church and began a one-on-one Bible study with his Sunday School teacher. He came to the first night of the Metroplex Mission and came forward to make a public profession of faith.
On that first night of Mission Metroplex, Billy Graham, even at age 83, spoke so clearly about God’s love and His plan of salvation. I counseled a 22 year old girl who came forward to rededicate her life. She explained that she first came to know Christ at age 20 but had not been following Him the way she knew she should. I told her that when I was young, I did the same. I first came to faith in Christ at age 12 and then drifted away in my teens and early twenties, and that I was a cocktail waitress and bartender when I was 21. Her eyes opened wide and she looked shocked. She told me that she was a cocktail waitress and bartender. God is amazing. Out of the over 2300 people that come forward to make a decision for Christ that night, He arranged the two of us, with a similar background, to connect and speak with each other. I explained to her that I was in my mid-twenties before I turned my life around back toward Christ. I was in my first year of marriage, pregnant with my oldest daughter, when one night, I heard Billy Graham on TV while walking around the house, cleaning and cooking dinner. My eyes were on the cooking and cleaning but my ears were focused on the TV. The words I heard him speak through our living room TV began working in my heart. A few nights later, I woke up on the middle of the night thinking about all the sin in my life. I cried out and asked for God to forgive me. God is the God of second chances.
Over the next few nights at Mission Metroplex I counseled several others. I came away from this experience knowing that we should be ready to share our faith with anybody and at anytime, not just at a Billy Graham crusade.
My husband’s friend who was in the hospital ICU passed away within a few days of our visit with him and I don’t even know for sure if he was able to hear us. But, it was those same Bible verses and the plan of salvation we shared with him, that led to my daughter sharing the same with her boyfriend. They broke up within the following year and they went their separate ways, as many young people do. But soon after, this young man died unexpectedly at age 24. I believe he is in heaven today because he placed his trust in Jesus when my daughter shared the gospel with him.
On February 21, 2018, I woke up to the news that Billy Graham has passed away at age 99. Billy Graham was many things to many people. He preached the gospel to millions of people in person all over the world. Hundreds of millions more were reached through his ministries. He started his life of service to God as a young boy from North Carolina by placing his faith and trust in Jesus’ sacrificial work on the cross. Billy Graham, thank you for your faithful obedience to God and His Word. Thank you for pointing so many people to Christ, including me.
I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die.