Billy Graham: His part in my conversion.
by Nick Bishop
What can I say about one of the greatest, if not the greatest Evangelist of the 20th/21st Century, that has not already been said?
My name is Nick Bishop, I am a member of the Victoria Community church, and I would like to share with you my conversion to Christ on 20th August 1984, one summer evening, at a crusade by Billy Graham.
At the time I was 18 years of age living in the Midlands when an uncle of mine suggested we go and see Billy Graham. A coach trip to attend the rally was organised by a local Baptist church in Bewdley, not far from Kidderminster, as part of ‘The Mission England’ Crusade. So the day of the coach trip arrived and I went along with my parents and my uncle.
My dad in those days was certainly searching for something spiritually, as the previous year he had lost his dad. My mum also seemed to be in the same situation as her mum had died that year. As for me, well I was in a dark place and I thought maybe Billy Graham might be the answer to my life. The event took place at Aston Villa football ground in Birmingham, or as it is officially known, Villa Park.
We arrived and took our seats in the stadium and after some hymns, the man himself, Dr Billy Graham took to the podium.
Obviously, I cannot remember all of what the great man said word for word that summer evening, but the atmosphere was electric. There were thousands of people there and the spirit of God was moving as Dr Graham delivered a hard-hitting but loving sermon.
What I remember is him mentioning the nuclear arsenals of the US and USSR and if ever these WMDs (Weapons of Mass Destruction) were unleashed Jesus would return as King of kings and Lord of lords. For some reason, he also mentioned Frankie Goes to Hollywood a band having considerable success in 1984. Perhaps it was to do with the single ‘Two Tribes’ which was about nuclear armageddon.
When it came to the part where Dr Graham invited spectators to leave their seats and come on to the pitch, my family and I didn’t hesitate – we did just that. We were invited with thousands of others to repeat a prayer that Dr Graham was going to deliver to us, inviting Christ into our lives. I felt transformed and I realised it was the power of God and that I would never be the same again. We were each put with a counsellor to talk us through what had just transpired and we were invited to give our contact details so we could be matched with a church in our local area. Sure enough, we were invited to attend Bewdley Baptist church and that became our church for many years.
I was right to think that night had transformed my life forever because God has been with me throughout my life. In the ups and downs of my life, the Lord has been and is my saviour, my confidant and friend. I know when my life ends on this planet that he has prepared a place for me where I will see my loved ones again.
I greeted the death of Billy Graham with sadness as did millions of other Christians all over the world. I feel privileged to have witnessed this great Evangelist and Prophet of God, for that is who he surely was at work.
Dr Graham could have had a Hollywood career or run for public office, but he diligently stuck to his role in bringing the lost to God. I often wonder what sort of person I would be today if it wasn’t for that fateful night I went to see the great man at work all those years ago. Ultimately though, God knew that I would make a decision for him at Villa Park, thanks to Billy Graham and I’m glad I did.
Dr Graham is now at home with his beloved wife in Heaven where he is receiving his reward for a lifetime of dedication to our Lord.
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