"It takes courage to make a
public commitment in a culture that has been hostile to Christianity,
but more than 7,500 left their seats to come forward. The response was
so great that on the first night we didn't have nearly enough prayer
counselors. I know of one counselor who talked and prayed with 15
different people." -Franklin Graham.
[BillyGraham.org] Dear Friend,
"See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it."
Those words of Jesus to a church in Asia 2,000 years ago (Revelation
3:8, NKJV) are a vivid description of what He has just done for churches
in a different part of Asia in our day. (Photo via BillyGraham.org)
During the week before Thanksgiving, we saw
God do a mighty work in the nation of Myanmar when more than 170,000
people overflowed a three-day Crusade in Yangon, that country's largest
city, to hear the Gospel. It was a historic moment for churches
there—Myanmar is a country where Christians have long endured
persecution and where evangelism has been severely limited for decades
by military governments. But when God opens the door, no opposition can
Christians boldly showed up at the Crusade
from all over the country, bringing nonbeliever friends and loved ones
with them. One small church near Yangon went door to door in their
community inviting people—they ended up needing a bus because 70
neighbors wanted to come. Churches across the nation chartered over 400
buses—we had a massive bus jam all three evenings! Many from outlying
areas rode for hours to attend. One group, representing village churches
in a nearly inaccessible corner of Myanmar, traveled for two weeks by
foot, boat, and then bus to be there.
Each night after I preached the Gospel, I
invited people to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. It takes
courage to make a public commitment in a culture that has been hostile
to Christianity, but more than 7,500 left their seats to come forward.
The response was so great that on the first night we didn't have nearly
enough prayer counselors. I know of one counselor who talked and prayed
with 15 different people.
Some who responded to the invitation said
they had never been inside a church building or attended a Christian
event before. One 33-year-old man, who earns his living pedaling a
three-wheeled trishaw (a bicycle with a sidecar for passengers), came
forward during the invitation on the first night. He had known nothing
about the meeting—he was simply passing by on the street hoping to pick
up a fare when he heard my voice over the PA system as I talked about
God's offer of forgiveness. He immediately slipped into the crowd to
listen because, he told a prayer counselor, "I am a very sinful man."
The counselor explained who Jesus Christ is and what He did on the cross
and then helped him understand repentance.
"When I prayed," the man said afterward, "my
sins were forgiven. I feel free, like a burden has been released from
I believe God has been preparing for some
time to open the door—and hearts—in Myanmar. It was three years ago,
while I was preaching at a Crusade in Thailand, that God gave me a deep
burden for the people in neighboring Myanmar. Going there to preach
seemed impossible, yet Christians in Myanmar were praying fervently for
God to act. Soon the military government began relinquishing bits of
power to civilian leaders, restrictions on churches became less
enforced, and church leaders took courage. They asked us to plan to come
in 2016. People all over America and the world have prayed along with
the believers in Myanmar, and God answered.
was very moving, while I was there, to have church delegations arrive
from as far away as Hanoi, Vietnam; Phnom Penh, Cambodia; and Singapore
to ask us to come to their cities to preach the Gospel. They have such a
heart for the lost. Will you pray with us about these opportunities,
especially about the government permissions that may be necessary? God
hears the faithful prayers of His people. (Photo via BillyGraham.org)
And God welcomes repentant sinners—anywhere,
anytime. One night in Myanmar, I shared the parable Jesus told about
the prodigal son who left his father's home and wandered into a life of
sin. When the wayward son finally faced the truth about himself and
returned in an attitude of sincere repentance, his loving father
celebrated his return and forgave him on the spot! This is a wonderful
picture of our Heavenly Father loving and welcoming us when we turn to
Him in repentance.
I am so thankful that thousands of men,
women, and young people in Myanmar have responded to the invitation to
"come home" and trust Jesus Christ as the Lord and Savior of their
lives. I thank God for working, and I give Him the glory. We know there
was great celebrating in Heaven over each one! Pray for them as they
grow in faith...
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