Franklin Graham Meets Liberian Press
Expressing Hope for Spiritual Change
March 24, 2011 - Speaking to a crowd of Liberian journalists this morning, Franklin Graham said he was excited to come back to their nation and hoped that after this weekend, many people in Liberia would be reconciled to their Savior.
When I last was here, my heart was saddened. Now I see hope on people’s faces.~ Franklin Graham
by Janet Chismar
“When I was given an invitation to come preach the Gospel, I accepted the invitation, because I find this a great privilege,” Graham said to Liberian journalists. “I’ve been looking forward to it for some time.”
He told the reporters he was not in their country to preach religion, but to point people to a relationship with Jesus Christ. “The power of the Gospel can set a man’s heart free,” said Graham. “I will give people every night the chance to reconcile with God. I am here to preach the Gospel.”
He emphasized that he could not change a person’s heart. “The greatest need in Liberia is the need of the human heart,” said Graham. “The people of Liberia need Jesus Christ.”
He spoke of the Graham family history with Liberia. His father first visited this country in 1960. That year, Billy Graham preached in 11 countries across Africa, including Liberia, Ghana, and Nigeria in January. Thousands turned out to hear him in Liberia, which was the first stop on the Crusade.
Graham reminded the press that ministry began in Liberia by his father more than 50 years ago has only gained momentum since that time.
He explained that Samaritan’s Purse has been involved with relief projects for many years in Liberia, including helping women abused during the war, and reaching kids through Operation Christmas Child outreaches.
Last year, said Graham, OCC distributed 40,000 shoe box gifts to children in Liberia. “We not only put smiles on children’s faces, but let them know God loves them,” he added.
After the Festival ends, said Graham, we will continue to work here. “We are just stopping what we normally do for a few days to focus on preaching the Gospel.”
Asked of his impression upon returning to the nation, Graham said that in a few short years, he has seen change. One example he cited was the rebuilding of African Bible College (ABC). The previous day, he had taken a nearly two-hour helicopter ride to a dedication service at ABC, a place that was overtaken during a time of civil unrest.
Graham explained that windows were broken, doors were taken and there was but a shell left of the building. Over the years, the jungle had simply over grown the building to a point that people had to find it by cutting through vines with machetes.
Now, the college has been rebuilt and according to Graham, better than before.
“When I last was here, my heart was saddened. Now I see hope on people’s faces. With God’s help, change will rise from the ashes of war.”
Having a history of serving these people and an awareness of Liberia’s history of difficulty over last 20 years, Graham conveyed that he is more hopeful—and prayerful—than ever for the spiritual state of this nation.
"We pray that God will use this Festival to heal the hearts of many people in Liberia. We pray that God will touch this nation and that there would be a fire that will come out of here and ignite the hearts and souls of the men and women of Liberia. And I hope to see tens of thousands of people turn their hearts to Jesus Christ."
WATCH THE FESTIVAL WEBCAST: Join us on March 29 to see and hear Franklin Graham's message, music and other highlights from the All Liberia Life Festival. Get more details »