Lasting Effect of 1967 Winnipeg Crusade
Saved at Event at Age 9, Prayer Co-Chair Has Heart For Youth
September 12, 2011 - More than 40 years ago, Linda Edwards committed her life to Christ as a child at the 1967 Billy Graham Crusade in Winnipeg. Now, she's heading the prayer effort to reach the Winnipeg youth through the Rock the River Festival on Sept. 17.
Turn to me and be saved, all you ends of the earth; for I am God, and there is no other.
— Isaiah 45:22 (NIV)
By Trevor Freeze
Linda Edwards was just a 9-year-old girl, but she knew in her heart this would be the night.
Attending the 1967 Centennial Canada Billy Graham Crusade in Winnipeg, she was prepared to give her life to Jesus at the Winnipeg Arena.
God had been speaking and she was ready to make a personal commitment.
“That’s just the kind of thing my parents would take us to,” Edwards said about the Crusade. “I remember beforehand trying to figure out what route would be the best one for me to take to walk forward.”
Edwards can’t recall Mr. Graham’s message — “per se” — but her conversion experience is still crystal clear in her mind.
“The lady that helped me receive Christ was lovely,” she said. “And even though I was just a little girl, she just took me very seriously. She really helped me.
“To have that much significant attention on what I wanted to do is not something that happened every day in my life.”
Edwards received a clear presentation of the Gospel from her counselor that night and prayed to receive Christ as her Savior.
It’s a landmark moment she’s never forgotten.
“It’s been a memory that God has brought to my mind throughout the years,” Edwards said. “It really stuck with me. He’s used that memory to confirm that He speaks to children so it’s worth it to be involved in these kinds of things. It’s not in vain to put your efforts in prayer. It’s not in vain to pray for kids.”
Fast-forward 44 years and Edwards is now the prayer committee co-chair for the Rock the River Festival in Winnipeg, hoping to give back to the Lord in any way she possibly can, just as many had prayed for her generation more than four decades ago.
“I’m just excited because this Rock the River tour coming to Winnipeg is tangible evidence to me that God is working in our city,” she said of the Sept. 17 Festival, which will be held at The Forks, the most popular gathering spot in Manitoba. “There’s been lots of groups praying behind the scenes.”
Many of the prayer warriors, including Edwards, served on the prayer committee for the Franklin Graham Festival in Winnipeg in 2006.
“This is how God is choosing to work in Winnipeg," she said. "And of course it just makes sense to want to be involved where God is working.”
And Edwards believes God can work through people in any situation, regardless of the age difference.
“If we just think there’s a generation gap, we’re not going to reach out to the youth,” she said. “Why do we think that Jesus couldn’t reach a young person through an older person? Jesus is powerful enough to work through anyone.”
Just like that summer night in 1967, when God used a much older woman to capture Edwards' heart. And to change her life forever.
“I remember all through my childhood and even into my adult life, if I were to see a problem and tension would be welling up inside me, the thought would come into my mind that I need to pray more,” she said. “As I look back, I realize the Lord was speaking to me, so I know the Lord speaks to young people. You can make an impact in a child’s life.”
Rock the River: The one-day Sept. 17 lineup includes Canada's Thousand Foot Krutch, Winnipeg native Starfield, Fresh IE, The Letter Black and Flame. The event will run from 4 to 9 p.m. and is completely free, but $25 Rock Zone passes can be purchased and includes an exclusive T-Shirt and preferred access close to the stage along with other benefits. One additional Rock Zone wristband will be given with each purchase, to be given to an unchurched friend. Kidzfest, aimed at younger children and their parents, will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on Sept. 17, featuring Fiji's Island Breeze, comedy magician Greg & Oonaugh Wood, Puppets4Him and God Rocks!
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