VANCOUVER, Canada -- As part of the Franklin Graham Festival’s initiatives, Rock the River Tour will be held in three major cities throughout Canada to reach the unchurched youths this summer.
Following a successful crusade last year at four major cities along the Mississippi River, Rock the River Tour will bring the message of the gospel to the Canadian youths at Fraser Valley in British Columbia, Calgary and Edmonton in Alberta beginning August 7. While featuring special guests, such as popular rock band The Afters and hip-hop artist James Taylor Jr., Franklin Graham will preach the gospel.
Graham, CEO and president of Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse, urged the Canadian church leaders to participate by backing their youth pastors, providing financial support, and praying. Quoting Matthew 11:12, he said that the gospel is advanced forcefully and forceful men and women lay hold of it. He gave several examples of how that is done through the ministries of BGEA and SP.
To date, BGEA’s MY Hope World Evangelism Television has had tremendous results in countries where the message of the gospel was difficult to get through to the mass. Graham said that over 4 million decisions in India were counted after this television campaign that dubbed his father’s messages in 18 different Indian dialects saturated the airwaves for three consecutive nights.
The ministry was initially denied airtime, because it was a Hindu government, he said. When a secular government came in power, they requested for permission again and they got approved. Over 800,000 people were trained as counselors and had agreed to open up their homes to invite their friends and families to have dinner and then watch the program.
Tens of thousands of churches in India prayed throughout these three days. Graham said that the actual number of people who made the decision to accept Christ exceeded 4 million, because the count didn’t include those in hotel rooms and those watching without a counselor in their homes. This same concept was applied in Indonesia, the world’s most densely-populated Muslim country, and over 30,000 decisions to Christ were counted.
In 2007, Sudan regime bombed a hospital ran by Samaritan’s Purse in Sudan. Graham contacted the president of the Talisman, the largest Canadian oil company that were doing business with Sudan, and asked him to do whatever he can to have Sudan stop bombing their hospital. Immediately after, Graham received an invitation to meet with Sudan’s president.
During the meeting, Sudan’s president asked why SP always help the Christians and not the Muslims, so Graham setup a pediatric intensive care unit inside a Muslim hospital, which was then reported by the local news six months later. In addition, Graham asked to buy air time in the world’s most radically Muslim country, and Sudan’s president agreed.
“You have to take advantage of every opportunity that God is giving you and you have to go somewhere and be willing to give it your best effort,” said Graham. “Paul said that to those who are perishing the gospel is foolishness, but to those who are being saved, it is the power of God unto salvation.”
Meanwhile, SP has been actively involved in the disaster relief efforts in Haiti. They will build 7,500 shelters that cost $700 USD each and fill a family of ten.
“Each person we put a shelter over, we will advance the gospel,” he said. “We will tell them that God loves them and that Jesus Christ died for them … Jesus loves you so much that he came from heaven to earth for a rescue mission … He was buried and was raised to life. Not only do we want to give you a shelter, but also to give you eternal life. The only way is to place your faith in Jesus Christ. Buddha and Muhammad didn’t die for you.”
Furthermore, Operation Christmas Child has collected so far a total of eight million shoeboxes that has been and will be given to children in the impoverished regions in the world. Graham shared that the most important thing is to pray for the children who will receive the shoebox.
“Can you imagine eight million people praying?” he said.
People always ask Franklin who will be the next Billy Graham, and he said that if you can get a kid to stand up for Christ in his youth you bet they will be a soul-winner at an older age.
For Rock the River tour last year, Graham preached and gave invitations after each music session. Then, they’ve counseled for about 15-20 minutes, and the music will kick back in. They’ve used a secular rock band called Flyleaf and the lead singer was Lacey Mosley, who turned out to be a believer.
Towards the end of the event at night, Mosley was on the screen and spoke to the crowd about the relationship with God and how he is like a father to us. When Graham came on the stage, he simply asked if anybody would like to receive Christ into their hearts. If they do, he asked them to turn on their phones and raise them up until a counselor reaches them. Hundreds of phones were lit and raised up.
“We are evangelizing hard-core kids, who are into sex, drugs, but God didn’t give up on them just as he didn’t give up on you and me,” he said.
He urged for senior pastors to back their youth pastors and for financial support.
“I don’t want to come in and have something cheesy. We want this to be done with class, with the best band, sound system, and army of Christian kids who are trained as counselors. We need adults praying in the back that these kids can understand the gospel clearly and repent of their sins and follow the Lord.”
For more information, visit Rock the River Tour.