Greetings in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. I’m speaking to you from a Methodist church here in London, just around the corner from where John Wesley lived. And so this is a very historic place for us to be when we talk about evangelism. I suppose that it’s almost as hot here in London as it is in Manila. But I want to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Leighton Ford and all of those, such as Thomas Wang and Ed Dayton, who have worked long and hard to make this Manila conference possible.
I regret that three things have kept me from being there. First, physical depletion. After the six weeks of our mission here in England, I am physically exhausted. Second, the overwhelming blessings of the Lord on these British meetings that went so far beyond anything we could have ever dreamed. Not only the evening meetings where thousands of people made their commitments to Christ, but also the scores of additional meetings. Third, the challenge of Hungary, where in just a few days we will be having a week of meetings ending in their great People Stadium seating seventy-five thousand. And we need your prayers for that.
This Manila conference is a far-reaching and historic gathering for which we have been praying for many months. I’m praying that God is going to use this Manila meeting to touch the church throughout the whole world and that all denominations and other related organizations will sense the presence and power of this conference because it’s needed in our world.
And certainly, this conference is needed if we are to evangelize the world in the next few years. It can be done. The technology is there. People are hungry for the gospel. I heard about a man in China the other day: There were people passing by who were Christians, and as they were passing by one of them said, “I’m going to stop and talk to that poor old man about Jesus.”
They were on the way down the mountain, going for a little holiday; they stopped, and they looked at him and talked to him. And he cried. He said, “You know, I prayed to him all my life, but I didn’t know his name.” And I think there are millions of people like that, people throughout the world whose hearts God has prepared. And I believe that this Manila Congress can be a tremendous inspiration, encouragement and blessing to the whole world church.
I wish with all my heart that I was with you because I would like to sit in those workshops. And I would like to hear those great messages that are going to be brought in the plenary sessions. May God bless you all.
Thank you very much for giving me this opportunity of saying a few words to you.
Billy Graham is the Honorary Chairman of Lausanne Ⅱ.