Franklin Graham Asks North Korea to Build Christian Church for Visitors

Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham

La Paz, Bolivia, has the highest elevation of any national capital in the world, a city built on the slopes of Andean mountain peaks. The soccer stadium where I preached the gospel at a crusade a few days ago stands at twice the elevation of Mile High Stadium in Denver, Colo. More than 800 Bolivian churches, along with many people all over the world, were praying that God would do a mighty work, and God answered!

The stadium ordinarily holds up to 15,000 people, but on the first evening, more than 20,000 squeezed in to hear the Gospel, crowding elbow to elbow on bleachers and filling every available space. The second night, more than 30,000 arrived, and many watched on a giant screen from an overflow area. The last evening, almost 40,000 flooded the stadium and surrounding area to listen to the Good News. Some who could not get in decided to scale the nearby bluff overlooking the stadium and listen from there.

The power of the Holy Spirit was evident from the very first night—as I preached about God’s love and His offer of salvation, people began walking forward even before I had issued the invitation. When I did invite people to come and receive Jesus Christ, some literally ran to prayer counselors. By the end of the crusade, God had drawn thousands of Bolivians to Himself in repentance and faith, and we witnessed much rejoicing.

The Bible says, “Let them shout for joy from the tops of the mountains. Let them give glory to the Lord” (Isaiah 42:11–12, NASB).

One young woman, the only believer in her extended family, lives in a household where emotional and physical abuse are routine behind closed doors. She desperately wanted to go to the crusade to find encouragement for her own faith, but also to bring nonbeliever friends. Convinced her father would refuse permission to attend, she prayed for weeks before asking.

To her surprise, he did not object. She invited five friends, none of whom knew much about Jesus Christ. “They were overwhelmed by the Gospel,” she said later. All five decided to give their lives to the Savior. One, a young police sergeant, said he had no idea that it was possible to get forgiveness and a clean heart, and he went home eager to tell his wife about Jesus.

Praying for Nations
Bolivia is a nation in transition, led by a socialist-leaning president who has been pressing hard to replace the old order of society with a more pluralistic culture. Many Bolivians feel uncertain about what the future holds. As a result, people right now are unusually open to discovering spiritual truth, a major reason church leaders wanted us to come.

While we were there, church delegations visited from Brazil and Mexico to ask us to bring evangelistic Crusades to their own countries. Christians know that the gospel can change and transform a life, a community, and even a nation. Pray for the new believers in La Paz, pray for the churches who are discipling them, and pray for Bolivia.

North Korea, by contrast, is an atheistic nation almost entirely closed to the gospel. It has been in the news a lot recently as tensions have been on the rise, and this may be the most dangerous area of the world right now. I have visited North Korea several times, as my father and mother did before me, and I have prayed—along with many others—for any opportunity God might give to crack the door open even a little. On my last visit I proposed to North Korean officials that we build a new international church in Pyongyang, the capital, for foreign diplomats, businesspeople, and humanitarian teams who are based there.

Recently in New York, I had lunch with the North Korean ambassador to the United Nations. He informed me that the proposal has been received favorably by the country’s new, young leader, Kim Jong Un. Of course, that doesn't mean the way is clear to start building.

Even if official approval is eventually confirmed, there will many bureaucratic and practical steps to work through. Pray about this, that God will open the way to proceed. A new church building for foreigners is a small step, but God can do amazing things from a small start. Ask the Lord that someday soon “a nation which knows you not will run to you” (Isaiah 55:5). Pray for Christians on both sides of the dividing line, North and South, and pray that God would bring peace to the Korean Peninsula.

Praying for America
Whereas North Korea is a tightly controlled secular society whose citizens have little choice about religion or anything else, America is a free society that is growing more and more secular. Astoundingly, America is becoming a godless society by choice.

But God has not walked away—instead He summons with urgency: “Seek the Lord while He may be found; call upon Him while He is near” (Isaiah 55:6).

That’s why, in cooperation with thousands of churches across the land, we have launched My Hope America with Billy Graham. I believe it is going to be the largest evangelistic effort that this country has ever seen. Let’s fight for every soul in our nation. Let’s wage the fight through prayer first, and then as the Holy Spirit opens hearts, let’s tell them about Jesus.

Begin praying every day, by name, for members of your own family who need Jesus Christ in their lives. Pray also for specific people in your community, workplace, or school who need the Savior. Be intentional about nurturing your relationship with each person you are praying for. The Bible says that God “wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth” (1 Timothy 2:4, NIV). The Lord can and will open hearts when we inundate the throne room of Heaven with prayer.

Be sure your church knows about My Hope America with Billy Graham.

The outreach will culminate in November, but the groundwork needs to begin right now—in churches and homes—with planning, preparation, and prayer. If you need more information, visit MyHopeWithBillyGraham.org.

Thank you for partnering in prayer, and thank you for your financial help at this time. The task is enormous—and costly—but we know that America needs the Gospel.

In just the way many people recently exulted in the joy of salvation in La Paz, Bolivia, we look forward in faith to a time of great rejoicing later this year when God draws people across our own land to the hope found in Jesus Christ, a time when we can shout, “Hallelujah! Salvation and glory and power belong to our God” (Rev. 19:1).

Click here to read the original article at BillyGraham.org.

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