A year has passed since the March 11th Japan earthquake and tsunami. Billy Graham Evangelistic Crusade (BGEA) shared that the Japanese, who had been relatively critical towards Christianity, have softened to be more receptive after the earthquake, according to an interview with Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN).
At the Sendai evangelistic crusade that last for two days, there were 11,720 participants and among which 400 accepted Christ as their savior. Performances by Christian contemporary artists Kirk Franklin, Korean pop group 3rd Wave, the Tommy Coomes Band and Alfie Silas and message preached by Rev. Franklin Graham instilled the spirit of truth to the Japanese people.
In the interview, Rev. Franklin Graham, who is the CEO and president of BGEA and the Christian relief organization Samaritan’s Purse, said that the evangelistic team and the Japanese churches jointly organized the event in Sendai, where the earthquake and tsunami hit the hardest. The conference was called Tohoku Celebration of Hope with Franklin Graham. Its purpose was to comfort the people’s hearts.
"Another exciting benefit of this event is that pastors in the area did not have strong relationships in the past, but they are now working together after helping with the Celebration of Hope," said Graham. "This will make the Christian community stronger and help local pastors grow their churches and reach people like they never have before."
According to BGEA, although there are only 83 churches in this city and where the average congregation has 25 members, the Tohoku Celebration of Hope drew the largest crowd ever assembled for a Christian event in the history of Tohoku region.
Graham said in the interview that despite the outward signs of things getting back to normal routines with the active reconstruction efforts in disaster zones, suicide rates, diseases, and unemployment problems are still prevalent. Research has shown that around 20 percent of the residents in the disaster zone experiences insomnia and other mental problems. He said that the Japanese is still in suffering and pains.
The good news is that many of the fortunate survivors of the disaster are now leading those beside them to Christ at the evangelism conference. A year ago, they still needed other people’s giving, but today God is raising them to become the messengers of the gospel, saving their own nation.
This year’s evangelistic crusade was held at Sendai’s landmark Grande 21 Arena. According to source, the open space outside of this auditorium was used temporarily to put the corpses of the disaster victims. The organizing committee believes that the event will turn the curse into a blessing, allow it to become a place where many people are reborn.