December 30, 2013
By Kristy Etheridge
As Billy Graham turned 95 years old, he marked his birthday by releasing a series of new videos called My Hope with Billy Graham, which had been used successfully in countries all over the world but had never been attempted in the U.S.
On Nov. 7, 2013, and several times during the following days, Fox News aired the My Hope video, The Cross, all over the nation. Hundreds of local TV stations and several national Christian networks also aired the program. The videos continue to be available on DVD and streaming on the web.
My Hope revolves around relationship evangelism–Christians reaching out to friends, family and neighbors to strengthen bonds and share their faith.
Since November, My Hope gatherings have been held in homes, prisons, churches, locker rooms and drive-in theaters. One woman even shared her My Hope DVD on a cruise ship, with exciting results.
Below is the latest batch of stories that show how God is using My Hope to reach people in the U.S. and beyond.
Florida – A woman took a My Hope DVD with her on a cruise across the Atlantic Ocean. Once on the cruise ship, the woman requested to show the video but was told no religious services were permitted. She persisted, and the management on board eventually provided her with a room, a large TV and even snacks. She held meetings two Sundays aboard the ship and wrote, “People were crying tears of joy. Many accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior.” She says one of the people who made a decision for Christ was a member of the crew. “I will never forget the beautiful sites I visited [on the cruise], but the most beautiful site was the eyes and the tears of those who invited Christ into their lives,” the My Hope host wrote. “Praise God!”
South Carolina – A man invited 90 of his friends to join him for a golf tournament, which included a meal and a My Hope program. The man also shared his personal story of how he became a Christian. He says seven of his guests made decisions for Christ at the tournament.
Alaska – A couple and their pastor showed the My Hope video, The Cross, to about 30 residents at a correctional halfway house. They couple said 21 people made either first-time decisions for Christ or re-dedicated their lives to Jesus. They are planning follow-up visits to offer prayer, encouragement and counseling.
Louisiana – A couple took their DVD of The Cross with them to Honduras on vacation. They held a My Hope party in Honduras where six people made first-time decisions for Christ and one person made a re-dedication decision. Meanwhile, 12 families back at their home church in Louisiana were also holding My Hope events and saw five more decisions, including a six-year-old girl.
Missouri – A student ministry hosted a My Hope America event where they watched Defining Moments. At the end of the event, six decisions for Christ were recorded. The students at the event were so overwhelmed with the message of the video that they asked if it could be shown again so they could invite more of their friends. This led to a second event five days later, which had 60 members of a college football team in attendance, along with the family of a team member who had been killed several months earlier. About 120 people showed up for the event, which was held at a local church. After Defining Moments was shown and a personal story was shared, 27 people made first time decisions for Christ, including a coach and the entire family of the young player who had been killed.
Texas – A woman planned a My Hope event at her church around the time of Billy Graham’s 95th birthday. She ordered a cake from the bakery at a local grocery store that said, “Happy Birthday, Billy Graham.” When she went to pick up the cake, several of the bakers told her what a special honor it was to bake a cake for Billy Graham, even if he would never get to see it. Seeing an opportunity to talk about Jesus, the woman who ordered the cake asked one of the bakers about her faith. She ended up praying to receive Jesus as her Savior, right there in the grocery store. It turns out one of the other bakers had been praying and talking to her about Jesus for two years. That friend said the woman who made the decision for Christ cried tears of joy all day long.
Florida – A church that offers a hot meal to homeless people twice a week showed the My Hope video, The Cross, during a Sunday service that immediately preceded one of the meals. The pastor told the BGEA that several homeless people made decisions to accept Christ after watching the video. “One gentleman in particular touched our hearts,” the pastor wrote. “He said that the video was meant for him. He thought that God had given up on him and was contemplating ending his life because of his deep depression at losing two loved ones in the last year. He shared this story with tears running down his face. He asked Jesus into his heart. We could all see how his countenance had changed from one of great sorrow to one of joy and peace.”
Massachusetts – The pastor of a Spanish-speaking church said 600 people from his church opened up their homes to share the Momentos Decisivos video. More than 200 people made decisions for Christ. “I am energized, inspired, grateful and hopeful of waht God will continue to do in America,” the pastor wrote.
Ohio – One pastor reported 103 first time decisions for Christ as a result of My Hope. The church showed a My Hope video at a food pantry, where 81 people made decisions. The others came through the church’s various programs for seniors, young adults and teens. The pastor said My Hope is a “marvelous tool” that helped his church have a remarkable experiences.
Texas – A prison ministry held two My Hope America events. The pastor reported that half of the 400 people in attendance made decisions to accept Jesus for the first time or re-dedicate their lives to Him. The pastor said about 50 inmates were in tears.
Florida – The chaplain of a high school varsity football team planned a My Hope America event for the team. He showed the video right after football practice. The coaches, trainers and players showed up–about 80 people total. After grabbing pizza and drinks provided by the chaplain, everyone sat down to watch the video. “For 30 minutes, you could have heard a pin drop,” the chaplain said. “As the video ended the whole room stood up and cheered. It was amazing!” The chaplain briefly shared his own story of faith before praying and inviting the team to accept Christ. “With tears in my eyes, I asked them to come shake my hand if they prayed the prayer for the first time,” the chaplain said. “Twelve boys lined up immediately. Each one said to me that they prayed the prayer and meant it. The first two in line were the star quarterback and starting running back.”