Locals call it a big village.
The city of Adelaide, in Southern Australia, has 1.3 million people but gives off a small-town vibe—with an eclectic central market and a lively, month-long festival every summer.
The capital of South Australia was the fifth stop of the Graham Tour with Franklin Graham. The evangelist is making his way across the continent to honor the 60th anniversary of his late father’s 1959 historic Australia Crusades. The Graham Tour, a six-city event, overlaps with the one-year anniversary of Billy Graham’s homegoingon Feb. 21.
The late evangelist once wrote this about his months-long Crusades in the Southern Hemisphere: “For some reason I could not fully understand, although I believed it was the leading of the Holy Spirit, I had developed an overwhelming burden to visit the distant continent of Australia.”
Wednesday night, his oldest son, Franklin Graham, shared how people can have hope now and live forever with God after they die—like his father.
“You can have a new life, a new beginning,” Franklin said about accepting Christ as Savior. He taught from John 3 in the Scriptures, where Jesus told Nicodemus what it means to be “born again.”
“You can experience that new birth tonight,” Franklin told more than 9,600 people gathered at the Titanium Security Arena. “It’s the union of your soul with Jesus Christ.”
During Franklin’s message, Kuki (pronounced “Cookie”) Kinyanjui stood gracefully by herself in black Converse shoes near the back of the overflow area. The Kenyan citizen was born again when she was 16. Now she’s 21 and lives in Adelaide studying architecture. Kuki knows her soul is secure after she dies but says a lot of people in Adelaide don’t.
“Religion isn’t a big thing here,” she said. “People are more independent. They say, ‘I’m spiritual,’ and they meditate or do acts of service.
“They say, ‘I believe in doing good but not in God.’ They don’t have a need for God.”
But even if people fill that empty hole with other things, the need for God never goes away.
Steve Annear rode his motorbike to the event from Williamstown, about 50 kilometers away. Like many Australians, he loves humor and starts conversation with a joke. But when he was asked why people are losing faith, his tone quickly turned serious.
“Young people are arrogant in their attitudes,” he said.
“We’re in a throw-away society,” he went on. “We throw away marriages and relationships with friends because of the mentality we’ve been drawn into.”
In today’s secular society, many believe there is no absolute truth. In fact, almost one in three Australians claim to have no religion at all. Nevertheless, Steve says people are still looking for something.
Finda Moyima from Sierra Leone, West Africa, found the last part of the “something” she was missing at the Adelaide event.
Finda had believed in God for a while and, in the last year, started taking her boys to church. Wednesday, though, she felt God stirring her heart to take the next step in her faith. Felix, 10 years old, joined his mother when Franklin gave the invitation to accept Christ.
“I feel lighter,” she said. “It was time to ask God for forgiveness. Everyone else will let you down, but He will never.”
In Adelaide, more than 400 people joined Finda and surrendered their lives to Christ. This sight would have brought a smile to Billy Graham, whose life calling was sharing the Gospel around the world.
This hope of heaven and peace with God here on earth is what Christians have in their souls. And it’s Good News that needs to be shared with others.
Her peaceful spirit apparent, Kuki smiled as she talked about her relationship with Christ. “I pray and am grateful for at least one thing every day,” she said.
“God is always there for you. He’s the ultimate friend. He’s like my brother, my best friend, He’s everything.”
Please continue to pray for the Graham Tour which heads to the city of Sydney next. That event will be held Saturday and Sunday, Feb. 23-24. at 6:30 p.m. Australia time/2:30 a.m. Eastern. Stay tuned to BillyGraham.org for more stories and to watch the event live.