Will Graham, the grandson of evangelist Billy Graham and Ruth Bell Graham, recently spent a week in China, where he shared the Gospel with thousands of Chinese -- many of whom accepted Christ.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association reveals that Will preached twice last Sunday in front of 4,500 people at the Hudson Taylor Memorial Church in Zhenjiang, China, and then again on Tuesday morning at the Dr. Nelson Bell 100th Anniversary Service in Huai'an, the birthplace of Ruth Bell Graham. The Denver and the Mile High Orchestra, an upbeat Gospel-centric worship band, performed music for the service.
The young pastor's message, titled "Salvation on the Cross", was one of hope and encouragement, prompting hundreds of Chinese to "flood the stage" to embrace Christianity at the close of the service, according to local reports.
This year marks the 100-year anniversary of when Dr. Nelson Bell-Will Graham's great-grandfather-began his 25-year medical mission work at the Love and Mercy Hospital in Qingjiangpu, Jiangsu Province, some 300 miles north of Shanghai.
Following the service, Will and his younger brother Roy Graham visited the Love and Mercy Hospital. During his time at the hospital, Bell and his medical staff saved thousands of lives while also sharing the Gospel. As a result of his work, Dr. Bell won the trust of the people in Huai'yin and the surrounding areas.
"Dr. Bell was an extraordinary man and learned Chinese in the local dialect and spoke all through his life," said Gary Lundstrom, international vice president for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. "As a medical physician serving in China at that time, he was one that developed a cure for the Black Plague and literally saved the lives of hundreds of thousands-if not millions-of Chinese people."
In 1988, Billy Graham and Ruth also visited Huai'an, a region they "deeply loved," while their son, Franklin Graham made visits in 2008 and 2010.
In introducing Will Graham to the congregation, Rev. Zhang Keyun, the chairman of Jiangsu CCC&TSPM, revealed that Dr. Bell accomplished three things in China: opened hospitals to heal people; ran schools to improve Chinese literacy; and preached the Gospel to save souls.
Rev. Zhang also praised the Rev. Billy Graham, who he said had a clear love for the Chinese people. He recalled meeting Rev. Graham during a visit to the United States in 2011. At the time, the evangelist told him, "My children are Chinese because their mom, their grandmother was Chinese. I've been telling them to pray for China. "
Will's visit was part of the Jiangsu Province Good Shepherd outreach, a government-supported event which coincides with the annual Chinese New Year celebration.
"To be able to do this type outreach during the Chinese New Year and for us, as foreigners, to speak openly-to me, that's a great encouragement," said Lundstrom. "Not everyone has that opportunity or privilege. We have a relationship with the Chinese government that we hold dear, and hold with a lot of respect."