Dear Friend,

As I write, I’m returning from New Zealand, where we held the three-city God Loves You Tour. The land is breathtakingly beautiful and the people are warm and friendly—but the spiritual emptiness there is overwhelming. By some estimates, New Zealand is one of the least religious countries on Earth. Franklin Graham was welcomed to each city in New Zealand by the Maori Christian community, descendants of the nation’s first inhabitants.

The vast majority of people don’t have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, and many vocally oppose His truth. But I praise God that He opened “a wide door for effective service” (1 Corinthians 16:9, NASB) in this highly secular island nation.

Christchurch, the first stop, has seen a great deal of heartbreak in the last few years, from three devastating earthquakes in 2010 and 2011 to deadly shootings at two of the city’s mosques in 2019. We deployed Billy Graham Rapid Response Team chaplains to the city in the wake of those attacks to comfort those in mourning, and I’m grateful for the chance to return with the Good News that “in this is love, not that we have loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins” (1 John 4:10, ESV). More than 6,500 people heard that message, including many who listened through interpreters in Arabic, Mandarin, and Japanese.

Kerry* was among the hundreds of people who surrendered their lives to the Lord. He had attended church once with his friend Jack, who served as a prayer counselor at the event. Jack convinced Kerry to come hear music and the message of hope I shared—and the Lord worked in his heart. Kerry was nervous, but he walked forward at the invitation and received Jesus Christ in repentance and faith. “It was time,” he told Jack. “I’m very stoked,” Jack shared. “I’ve been praying to God, ‘I want this close friend to come to know You.’ God answered that and here we are today.”

Next, we went on to Wellington, the country’s capital, and the most windy major city in the world. God brought a new wind of revival to “Windy Welly,” as the locals call it. Thousands crowded into the city’s largest arena to hear the Good News of Jesus Christ, including a Muslim couple who had never heard the truth about God’s love for them. Mohammed* and Nur* listened intently to the message I preached and the Holy Spirit moved in their hearts. They told one of our prayer counselors they knew something was missing in their lives, and they both prayed to receive Jesus Christ. Tears of joy filled their eyes when our counselor offered to connect them with a local, Bible-believing church.

Our final stop was Auckland, the largest city in Oceania, which includes Australia. More than 7,000 people began filing in early at The Trusts Arena. When it was packed and no more people were allowed inside, crowds were directed to an overflow area in the adjoining outdoor stadium, which was set up with large screens. Mila* was among the hundreds sitting in this section. This young woman, wearing dark makeup and dressed all in black, was brought by a friend who regularly attends church. When I talked about abortion—and the freedom Christ offers—she wept bitterly. One of our chaplains was sitting next to her, and Mila said, “My life is a mess. It’s a terrible mess.” Mila was overcome by her sinful lifestyle—from selling her body to aborting her baby. At the invitation to receive Jesus Christ, she stood and spoke with a counsellor, who assured her that God loved her. Mila embraced the Gospel and prayed to receive salvation in Jesus Christ—finally free from the guilt of her sin.

Meanwhile, inside the stadium, I invited those who wanted to receive Jesus Christ in repentance and faith to come forward. Prayer counselors were there and available to speak in 15 languages. Very early in the invitation, a lone young man in a hoodie walked up with his hands raised. Then he knelt to the floor to pray. Hundreds more followed, many joining him on their knees. It was a sight I won’t forget. We praise God for what He has done across New Zealand, and we pray that He will continue working in a mighty way there. Will you ask the Lord to equip these new believers to become bold witnesses for Him in a nation that so desperately needs Christ? Many churches there are dying, but strong, Bible-believing congregations are thriving. The churches we worked with were so encouraged by the tour and our concern for the people of New Zealand—and this Gospel ministry would not have been possible without them. Please pray that God would ignite a passion for evangelism in many other congregations all across the North and South Islands.

Thousands came out in the city that bears our Saviour’s Name—Christchurch—to hear about His saving power.

May God richly bless you,

Franklin Graham

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