By Luann Anderson, YWAM Publishing
In the spring of 1976 my mom loaded up our red and brown Ford Country Squire station wagon with teenage girls and drove my friends and I to the Billy Graham Crusade in Seattle, Washington. The event took place in the newly opened Kingdome, home to the Seattle Seahawks football team, a heaven-sent location, no less. Amazingly, the crusade attracted 74,000 people, the most visitors of any event staged in the Kingdome’s first year.
Mom tells me that my friend Marni was one of the first in our group to respond to Graham’s message. “She wanted to go forward when he gave the altar call,” Mom remembers. “I walked down with her. It was powerful.”
It would be another few years before the life of faith I’d been born into became my own, and now that I’m older, I appreciate every opportunity my mom took to nurture it. After the crusade, she gave me a small book that still sits on my shelf, How to Study the Bible for Yourself by Tim LaHaye. Here’s the inscription:
To Luann Cecile: I know you gained much from Billy Graham’s crusade. I hope this little book will encourage you to study the Bible and make it a vital part of your life—even if only for a few minutes a day. Love, Mom
It’s safe to say that Billy Graham’s message, the Bible, and my mom’s guidance helped contribute to my lifelong journey of faith. These same influences play out every day, in families and communities around the world. Parents read good books and encourage their kids to do the same.
And in that quest for good reading, I encourage you to watch for YWAM Publishing’s forthcoming book, Billy Graham: To the Ends of the Earth by Janet and Geoff Benge, which will be released in early 2014. The old and the young and everyone in between will appreciate the story of this influential man and his worldwide ministry. As Graham approaches his ninety-fifth birthday next month, there are many things that his health and strength no longer permit him to do. But I’m sure he still cares about each and every person’s faith, even former teenagers in station wagons. To quote Graham’s big picture thinking, “I’ve read the last page of the Bible. It’s going to turn out all right.”