Franklin Graham Festival in Brazos Valley, Texas, Draws More Than 48,000

Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn
Wednesday, 8 May 2002

Two Hundred Forty Area Churches Join Together for Community Effort

It was an election weekend in Brazos Valley, but thousands of people in this area of Texas had an opportunity to make a different kind of decision that will impact their life beyond the next political term and into eternity.

On the campus of Texas A&M University, 48,353 people gathered for the four-day Brazos Valley Festival with Franklin Graham held May 2-5. The Festival featured nightly messages from Graham challenging the audience to put behind anything in their past and allow God to lead their future.

"I know there are people at this event who have messed up in life, but I want them to know that there is hope and they can start over," said Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, which organized the event in partnership with local churches. "The answer to your problems isn't church or religion -- it's found in a relationship with Jesus Christ who offers a new life."

During the event at Reed Arena, more than 2,604 people responded to Graham's invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.

In addition to Graham's messages, the Festival featured a diverse collection of special guests, including:

"Uncle" Melvin Graham, the 80-year-old brother of Billy Graham told the Texas audience humorous childhood stories, but emphasized the seriousness of choosing to follow God.

Dayna Curry and Heather Mercer -- The two young women shared their experience of being held captive by the Taliban regime because of their Christian faith. They also said they long to return to Afghanistan to tell others how to have spiritual freedom regardless of circumstances.

Mayor of College Station, Lynn McLlhaney; Mayor of Bryan, Jay Don Watson; and U.S. Representative Fred Brown presented Franklin Graham with a key to the city and made him an honorary citizen for bringing the Festival to the community.

Award-winning music guests Michael W. Smith, Paul Overstreet, Jaci Velasquez, Charlie Daniels, Jars of Clay, Jennifer Knapp, Mary Mary, Kirk Franklin, Dennis Agajanian, and The Tommy Coomes Praise Band all delivered energetic and inspirational performances.

Bibleman -- Saturday morning 8,471 kids gathered to see the popular superhero Bibleman (played by actor Willie Aames of TV's "Eight is Enough" and "Charles in Charge"). Following the presentation, 730 children responded to the invitation to commit their lives to Christ.

Over the past year, more than 240 local churches and thousands of volunteers joined together, overcoming racial and denominational barriers to help organize the Festival.

Franklin Graham, 49, will hold his next Festival in Spokane, Wash., Aug. 23-25. In addition to his leadership role with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Graham is president and CEO of international relief organization Samaritan's Purse.

For more information, or to contact Billy Graham Evangelistic Assn, see their website at: www.billygraham.org

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