Hope for Huntington: Evangelist Will Graham Preaches the Gospel at 'Three-Day Tri-State Celebration with Will Graham'
HUNTINGTON, W.Va., Nov. 9, 2015 /Christian Newswire
/ -- Evangelist Will Graham, grandson of Billy Graham, was in Huntington, W.Va., over the weekend to hold the three-day Tri-State Celebration with Will Graham
. More than 90 churches from across the region – including congregations from West Virginia, Ohio and Kentucky – participated in the outreach, which took place Nov. 6-8 at the Big Sandy Superstore Arena
Throughout the weekend, Graham referenced the area's struggles with drug addiction, a topic that was on the minds of many of the leaders and residents with whom he interacted. He offered the hope of Jesus into this dark situation.
"Tonight you have to make a decision to hold onto those broken things and hold it together the best you can, or to allow God to give you a new beginning," said Graham during one of his messages. "Have you ever asked Jesus to take over your life, to be the Lord of your life? Come to Jesus tonight. His arms are open wide."
All told, 5,905 people attended the event, with more than 340 responding to Will's invitation to begin a relationship with Jesus.
Pete Davidson, retired pastor of Huntington City Mission, helped to guide the counseling and follow-up portion of Celebration planning. He shared, "With all of the darkness here in Huntington, through the heroin, the economic downfall, all the drug usage, the prostitution, all the bad stuff, we've seen hearts change and move from darkness to light, one at a time."
Bill Smith, superintendent of Cabell County schools and the leader of the local Celebration team, added, "We've seen a community come together and focus on bringing hope. I think that's probably the most powerful thing. The church is coming together. This is having an impact on hopelessness in our community."
In addition to evangelist Will Graham, the Tri-State Celebration
featured free concerts from Christian artists, including Award-winning Canadian rock band The City Harmonic
(former lead singer of platinum-selling heavy metal band Flyleaf); hip-hop artist Dae-Lee
; and the Jason Lovins Band
. Lovins, who has partnered with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association on a variety of projects, was born in neighboring Kenova, W.Va. Worship leader Aaron Shust
, who has won Dove Awards for New Artist of the Year, Song of the Year, and Songwriter of the Year, performed all three days.
The Tri-State Celebration was something of a homecoming for Graham. His first-ever preaching opportunity took place in Huntington when he was a 19-year-old Liberty University student. He spoke at Seventh Avenue Baptist Church on Nov. 9, 1994. In another first, the only time that Will Graham, his father Franklin, and his grandfather Billy Graham, all spoke from the same podium on the same night took place down the road in Charleston, W.Va., also in 1994.
Graham's final evangelistic outreach of 2015 will take place next weekend, Nov. 14-15, in Fort McMurray, Canada. In addition to Huntington and Fort McMurray, this year Graham has preached in Huai'an and Wuxi, China; Cebu and Tacloban, Philippines; Siksika Nation and Whitehorse, Canada; and Arusha, Tanzania.
About Will Graham: Will is the third generation of Grahams to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus Christ under the banner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). He is the grandson of Billy Graham and the oldest son of Franklin Graham. Will has spoken to audiences on six continents since beginning his evangelistic ministry in 2006.