In 2013, more than 110,000 people made commitments to Christ through My Hope with Billy Graham, according to Brent Rinehart of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Building on the success of last year’s campaign, BGEA has released a new evangelistic short film through My Hope, titled “Heaven,” for use this winter.
“My Hope combines the impact of video programs with the power of personal relationships,” said Jerry Drace, Southern Baptist evangelist and pastor of Friendship Baptist Church in Friendship, Tennessee. “Christians can share the Gospel message with friends, family, colleagues, and neighbors using one of several evangelistic video programs featuring life-changing testimonies and powerful messages from Graham.” (See a related story in the Fall 2014 issue of SBC LIFE.)
“Heaven” was released on November 7, 2014, Graham’s ninety-sixth birthday. Many churches are planning outreaches for December, January, and Easter, said Joe Mott, manager of church engagement for BGEA.
The following salvation stories provide a snapshot of the impact of the 2013 My Hope campaign.
GOD AT WORK
At a small church in Pennsylvania, ten families went together, inviting guests to a potluck dinner as part of My Hope America with Billy Graham outreach. Everyone watched the My Hope program and some of the hosts shared their testimonies of faith. Almost sixty people came to the dinner, and thirty-five made decisions for Christ. “God sent us My Hope America at just the right time,” said the pastor, “and He was laying the groundwork for it before we ever knew of it.” The previous year, Sunday attendance at the church averaged fifty, but following My Hope it grew to about ninety.
FATHER AND DAUGHTER DRENCHED IN TEARS
Neil Eaton, a Plymouth, Massachusetts, pastor, sensed the Holy Spirit prompting him to find a way to show “The Cross” to a father and his daughter who, after missing for three months, had returned home with a four hundred dollar-a-day heroin habit. While he was still thinking this over, the young woman and her father walked through the church doors to ask for counseling. Neil showed them “The Cross.” Before it was over, the father and daughter were drenched in tears. The father began to pour out love to his daughter and asked for forgiveness for not being the father he should have been. He told her that he would do whatever it took to get her on the road to recovery. His daughter prayed a prayer of repentance, asking Jesus Christ to change her heart. Within days she entered a recovery center and is moving forward.
“I WANT TO BE SAVED NOW!”
A man from Berry, Alabama, invited several friends and neighbors to his home on Billy Graham’s ninety-fifth birthday to watch the My Hope America program “The Cross.” He knew them personally and had prayed often for their salvation. He planned to share his own testimony after the program ended, but became nervous as the moment approached. When the broadcast concluded with an invitation to trust in Jesus Christ, the host prayed silently for courage and stood up. One of the men in the room interrupted him, saying, “I want to be saved now! I want to pray right now!” The host’s apprehension turned to exhilaration as he led his guest to Christ.
“EVERYONE HEARD . . . IN HIS OWN LANGUAGE”
The My Hope America outreach included programs for Spanish speakers, French speakers, and subtitles in eleven other languages including Haitian Creole, Korean, and Russian.
In California, a woman named Felicitas invited forty family members and friends who packed her house to watch the Spanish video and enjoy homemade carne asada and other Mexican treats. When Felicitas shared her own testimony, one guest immediately accepted Christ.
In Massachusetts, a Hispanic church had six hundred families who opened their homes to share the Gospel through My Hope America. More than two hundred people responded to God’s offer of grace through Jesus Christ. “It was amazing to see the powerful hand of Christ moving through each video showing,” reported the pastor.