Franklin Graham Offers Rare Insight to Father Billy Graham Ahead of His 99th Birthday

Billy Graham with his son, Franklin.
Billy Graham with his son, Franklin. (Franklin Graham/Facebook)

The internet is a tool for both good and bad—and we thank God that He is using it to take His gospel faster and farther than ever before. The Bible tells us of a time when people in every nation will hear about Jesus Christ. We see how this can happen with people using the internet in virtually every place on earth. We praise God that millions have explored the message of the gospel online through our website.

This site is part of our Search for Jesus ministry, which God is using to reach people from more than 220 countries and territories—many more than the United Nations has members. Often they live in places where the gospel cannot be shared openly. Nearly a thousand people a day invite us to follow up with them individually to answer questions, to pray with them in making a decision for Christ or to provide one-on-one discipleship. Our team of disciplers strongly encourages new believers to become active in a local church, wherever possible.

Every hour of every day, 365 days a year, people from across the country and around the world let us know they have just prayed to receive Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. We thank God for this harvest of souls.

A 21-year-old man from a predominantly Muslim nation recently found our Search for Jesus site and asked to be connected with one of our team of 600 trained, online discipleship counselors. "I want to know more about Christianity. Will you help me?" he typed, apologizing for his limited knowledge of English.

"I studied about all religions a little bit," he went on to explain. "No one [else] has sacrificed life for their people. That's why I love Jesus."

He said that there are churches in his country, but the government prohibits Muslims from openly visiting one. Determined to find out more about the Savior who died for his sins, he had turned to the internet, and God led him to our website. The counselor welcomed him and explained that God loves him, that He sent His Son to die on the cross in his place and that He rose again from the grave. When he heard that Jesus would come and live in his heart today if he asked Him, the man gladly surrendered his life to Christ. He was thrilled when the volunteer showed him how to find and read the Bible on the internet in his own language.

Each person who makes a commitment to Jesus Christ on our website is invited to sign up for our free, online discipleship course and is personally guided through the study by one of our online mentors. The most recent 1,700 people who signed up for this course live in Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Nepal, Northern Ireland, Poland, Namibia, India, Tonga and 34 other countries, including the U.S.

Right now our Search for Jesus ministry operates websites in EnglishSpanish and Portuguese, three of the internet's top five languages. We have been asking God to enable us to share the gospel in all five of the most-used languages, and we thank Him that recently a friend of our ministry provided generous funding to develop websites in Arabic and Chinese.

If she were still with us, my mother would be thrilled at this news. This summer marks the 10th anniversary of her death. She grew up in China as the daughter of medical missionaries, knew the Chinese language in her youth, and maintained a very special place in her heart her entire life for Chinese-speaking people anywhere in the world. Like my father, she had a burning passion for lost people to find Christ.

Some have asked for an update on my father. He's approaching his 99th birthday in November, and while he is doing well, he does have the physical challenges that come with his age. He enjoys visits from family members, including his sister, who is his only remaining sibling. Grandchildren and great-grandchildren also come by more frequently in these summer months.

His pastor, Dr. Don Wilton from Spartanburg, South Carolina, continues to visit weekly, which means so much. These visits for prayer and encouragement have been a tradition for more than 20 years—we are so grateful to Pastor Wilton.

My father also has a constant companion you might not have heard of. No one could ever remember her name, so we all call her "Kitty." She was a gift on my father's 90th birthday from all his children, and she continues to be by his side. Thank you for your concern and prayers for him—you really don't know how much that means to our family.

BGEA has evangelistic events scheduled in 17 more cities still this year, including October's Decision Texas—The Lone Star Tour—and Crusade events in NorwayRomania, India, Mexico, Vietnam and more. Pray for our teams hard at work making preparations and ask God to open the hearts of people in each location who will hear the message of the gospel. Pray also for the people God is daily drawing to Himself through our Search for Jesus ministry. To God be the glory for the many lives He is transforming all across the globe!

We rely on your prayers and gifts as we minister. Thank you for all you do in His service.

© 2017 BGEA

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