Next Billy Graham TV Special Takes Viewers On ‘The Greatest Journey’
Program follows Operation Christmas Child shoe boxes, and recording artists Matthew West and BarlowGirl, to Colombia and Belize.
The program teaches children all over the world who have received shoe box gifts from Operation Christmas Child more about beginning a relationship with Jesus Christ.
“Samaritan’s Purse and the BGEA have teamed up to create ‘The Greatest Journey’, a 12-session Bible study program for children after they receive their [Operation Christmas Child] gift,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of BGEA and Samaritan’s Purse, in the program. “A lot of folks are getting involved in this project, and we’re excited.”
In the program, viewers will follow Christian recording artists Matthew West and BarlowGirl to Colombia and Belize, respectively, on distributions of shoe box gifts for needy children. Showing that the impact of Operation Christmas Child doesn’t end with a shoe box, the program explains how “The Greatest Journey” is working now to help children understand what it means to follow Jesus.
“I’ve had the chance to see first-hand the type of impact Operation Christmas Child can make, not only in the lives of the children who are receiving those gifts but in the lives of the people who are back home packing those shoe boxes,” says Matthew West in the program. “Watching ‘The Greatest Journey’ begin in these children’s lives is something I’ll take with me everywhere I go.”
Viewers will see students from Riga, Latvia’s first graduating class of “The Greatest Journey” discipleship program, where Franklin Graham personally congratulated the students. After completion of the program, children received a certificate and their own copy of the New Testament translated into their native language. The graduation ceremony also presented an opportunity for many parents to hear the Gospel.
“One of the great benefits of Operation Christmas Child and ‘The Greatest Journey’ is the children who receive the boxes,” said Graham. “But, it’s [also] the parents. Many of these parents are not believers.”
The program also includes a powerful segment on Haiti, which is still recovering from the earthquake in January as well as the recent outbreak of cholera. Many Haitian churches have invited Franklin Graham to hold a Festival in the country in January 2011. One local pastor, Pastor Vladimir, who lost his wife and daughter in the earthquake, is helping with Festival preparation, as well as Operation Christmas Child distributions and “The Greatest Journey” program.
“Christmas in Haiti this year is going to be pretty tough. This country is still struggling, even though there have been some great things that have happened this past year,” notes Graham in the special. “We want to do everything we can to not only help the people of Haiti, but to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association deployed its Rapid Response Team, alongside Samaritan’s Purse, shortly after the tragic earthquake, and it has maintained its presence in the country since. In addition, BGEA is currently making preparations for its My Hope evangelism project to take place in July 2011.
The television program also features the world premiere of the music video for BarlowGirl’s new song “Hallelujah (Light Has Come),” produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. To watch the program online or to find dates, times and networks for television airings, please visit www.billygraham.tv.
About Operation Christmas Child
Operation Christmas Child is a kids-helping-kids project of Samaritan's Purse that uses simple gift-filled shoe boxes to let hurting children know that they are loved and not forgotten. Each year, thousands of volunteers pack shoe boxes with toys, school supplies, necessity items and handwritten notes of encouragement, which are hand-delivered to millions of children around the world suffering from natural disaster, war, terrorism, disease, poverty and famine. Since 1993, OCC has hand-delivered shoe box gifts to more than 77 million hurting children in more than 130 countries.
BGEA proclaims the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ throughout the world by every effective means available. From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., BGEA directs a wide range of domestic and international evangelism ministries, including: large-scale Festivals led by evangelists Franklin Graham and Will Graham; Dare to Be a Daniel, a youth evangelism training project; My Hope World Evangelism Through Television; the Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, offering the hope of Jesus Christ in the midst of tragedy; and many others through print, television, telephone, radio and the Internet.
Media Contact: Brent Rinehart