Mario Toneguzzi • Calgary Herald • October 16, 2015
When the massive flood of two summers ago swept through the Siksika Nation east of Calgary, Samaritan’s Purse and the Rapid Response Team chaplains with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association of Canada quickly sprung into action to help people in the devastation.
On Thursday, Will Graham, 40, son of preacher Franklin Graham and grandson of evangelist icon Billy Graham, held a Celebration of Hope outreach program on the reserve.
Graham, vice-president and associate evangelist of the association based out of North Carolina, said the two organizations went to the Siksika Nation to help residents rebuild after the Bow River flooded.
“We built a great friendship and some of the local churches there. The pastor there and some of the leaders said ‘Hey, we’d love to do an outreach in our area, here in our community, with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association,’ which is our sister organization here in Canada,” said Graham in an interview with the Herald following the 47th annual Calgary Leadership Prayer Breakfast he attended Thursday morning.
The outreach programs are being held as well Friday and Saturday in Whitehorse. There are also two planned for Fort McMurray in November.
Graham, who did the blessing of the meal and prayer for the nation at the leadership prayer breakfast, said his first evangelistic outreach in 2006 was in Leduc.
His main message in these programs?
“That Jesus Christ is the hope of the world. It’s the hope of their community. It’s the hope of the individual. It’s the hope of Canada. It’s the hope of the world,” said Graham. “So Jesus Christ can change everything if we allow Jesus Christ to come into our lives to forgive us of our sins not because of anything we’ve done but because he loves us and that he’s already paid the price for us by dying on the cross.”
Graham said the message is definitely needed in the world these days.
“Most people come to a point in life and they’ll say something like ‘I’m sick and tired of being sick and tired. I’m tired of the way things are going. I need something different in my life. Something that sustains me’,” said Graham, adding people realize they’ve been looking for Jesus Christ but didn’t know it.
“They realize it and they ask Christ to come into their lives and their lives forever change. So it’s very much needed today. That’s the only thing that can change lives. You can’t legislate change. You can’t buy change. But when God changes your heart from within it can change a nation.”
His famous grandfather has been in the news in the past year due to concerns about his health but Graham said Billy Graham is still going strong.
“He’s actually in good health. You just got to remember that he’s 97. So he’s no spring chicken but he’s doing pretty good for 97 years old.”