Billy Graham and Urbana
I just got word that Billy Graham passed into glory at 99 years old. I immediately thought of the impact that his life had on me as a young Christian. I grew up watching Graham before color TV in Oklahoma and followed his exploits around the globe (total of 185 countries). As a world renowed evangelest, the Urbana Mission Conference of 1976 asked him to be the plenary speaker ).
Urbana is a tri-annual conference, which I had the privilege of attending three years previously, along with 17,000 other young people who were seeking to discern God’s will for their life and ministry. At that Urbana I signed a card smaller than a post card, yet that decision card propelled me to eventually apply with OMF in 1978. I am now 40 years into that journey. Some thirty years after my first Urbana I found myself again at this conference as a OMF mobilizer. OMF almost rejected me since the conference was a “young peoples conference” and they were looking for younger mobilizers. This time I was accompanied by my wife and three of my four children. Two of my children were impacted for missions at that Urbana with one ending up as a missionary to muslims in Albania and a second presently preparing for a possible ministry as a mission pilot. Billy Graham’s Radio program I watched as a youth was called, “The Hour of Decision”. The decision card I signed in 1973 expressed my “hour of decision” for missions, a decision that I hope this generation will consider seriously as they discern God’s will for their life and ministry.