Franklin Graham recently traveled to Russia, where he met with leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church. He also met with President Vladimir Putin and preached the Gospel in several Orthodox and Baptist churches.
I have just returned from meeting with church leaders and preaching in Moscow, Russia. I traveled there in in 1984 with my father when he preached at Baptist and Orthodox churches, never dreaming that more than 30 years later I would be back building on the foundation that my father laid in this country.
I met with Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, and with other church leaders including the Metropolitan Hilarion Alfeyev. These men were extremely welcoming. The Patriarch commented that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association courageously stands for the truth of the Gospel and defends Christian values, adding, “This gives us a sign of hope–there are people among Western Christians akin to us in ethical principles, sharing them with the Russian Orthodox Church.”
While I was in Moscow, I spoke at a peace conference, the Religion & Peace Forum, similar to one my father spoke at in Moscow in 1982. I clearly presented that the hope for every nation—and every person—lies in the Prince of Peace, the Lord Jesus Christ.
I had the privilege of preaching at three different churches on the Sunday before I left to come home, including the large Baptist and Pentecostal churches in the city—each time to packed crowds. The Pentecostal church averages 4,500 on Sunday for multiple services. Late that evening I also preached at a Christian nightclub which was also packed. In each place where I gave an invitation, scores of people came forward to confess their sins and to repent and put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ. We praise God for working in hearts.
Orthodox churches that were closed under the rule of communism and bulldozed to the ground are now being rebuilt and reopened. It was exciting to see the church coming to life after nearly a century of having its doors closed.
Another highlight was the opportunity to speak at a seminary for Orthodox doctorate students. All spoke perfect English and were expecting me to give a lecture. Instead, I just opened up the Word of God and taught from the Scripture for 30 minutes. They were pleasantly surprised and thanked me for sharing God’s precious Word with them.
Our visit was tremendously encouraging to the churches, and in many ways to me as well, and I pray that seeds were planted for future work and ministry between denominations. I believe God has more that He wants to do there.
Not only did I have a chance to meet with Russian church leaders, but also with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He was warm and gracious and took a significant amount of time to sit and discuss issues with me, including the persecution of churches throughout the Middle East. Although our governments may have differences, I found that the people of Russia were welcoming and desire a good relationship with the United States.
We are planning to go back to Moscow, hopefully within the next 20 months, to hold a major conference on the condition of the church worldwide.
I recently held an evangelistic Crusade in Tokyo, the largest city in Japan and in the world. This was the fourth time I led a Crusade in Japan. The Holy Spirit moved and many people responded to the invitation to accept Christ. Pray that the church in Japan will continue to be strengthened.
There is only one answer to bring the peace our human souls so desperately desire—and the answer is found in the Lord Jesus Christ. That’s true everywhere—Russia, Japan, and right here in our own country.
As our culture tries to remove God from public view and squelch His Word, we must continue to share the Good News and take a stand for religious freedom and God’s truth. That’s why I will be going to all 50 states in 2016 to hold prayer rallies with the Decision America Tour. Our nation needs to turn to God, and it begins with His people, the church. We must confess our sins as individuals—and as a nation—and call on God to heal our land (2 Chronicles 7:14). When I come to your state capital, I hope you will stand with me.
I pray that you know His peace this Christmas season and that you share with those around you the Good News that God sent His Son to be the Savior to the world.
May God richly bless you,
[Editor's Comment: I have loved Billy Graham for many years and often wished I could preach like him. Oral Roberts was another man of God who preached the Gospel and healed the sick. I wanted to be like both of them. However, I discovered that I could never copy their style or preach like them. God has made me a unique person. I seldom raise my voice while preaching. I seldom if ever shouted at people. However, that does not mean I have no passion for preaching, because I do, and I have seen people come to Christ when I have given the invitation to receive Jesus Christ. As an Air Force chaplain I always preached for decisions and the Holy Spirit honored His Word. The Holy Spirit and the Word go together and work together. You cannot separate them.
As the editor of Hugh's News, it is my stated mission or purpose to to present other ministries that are preaching the Gospel, and I always want to be keenly aware of what is happening in the body of Christ worldwide.
I thank God for Franklin Graham as well as Richard Roberts, sons of the two greatest evangelists in the 20th Century. I claim them as my brothers in the faith. My trust is in Jesus Christ and Him alone.]