Billy Graham believes 'Jesus Christ' still the answer

by Karen L. Willoughby, |

NEW YORK (Christian Examiner) -- "How's your dad?" Sean Hannity asked Franklin Graham founder of the Christian charity, Samaritan's purse and president of his father's worldwide ministry, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, during a recent 4-minute-amd-20-second segment of Hannity, a Fox television news show.

"He doesn't have a whole lot of energy but his mind is still clear, still engaged," the younger Graham said of his famed evangelist father who is 96. "He's still concerned about the world in which we live.

"He sees especially as we come to Christmas that the answer to the problems of the world is the Prince of Peace, Jesus Christ," Graham said of his father. "Politicians aren't going to solve the mess we have. It's not going to be Republicans or Democrats or Tea Party. It's going to be God Himself and His son, Jesus Christ.

"He [Billy Graham] believes with all his heart that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life, and that no one comes to the Father except through Him."

The younger Graham, now 62, who started Samaritan's Purse 35 years ago, brought with him one of the nearly 10 million shoeboxes sent in to Samaritan's Purse for Operation Christmas Child.

Samaritan's Purse

Hannity looked at the doll, jump rope, grooming and hygiene items, plus small purse with candy and a cross inside, as he talked about the trip he'd made with Samaritan's Purse in 2011 to the Dominican Republic and Haiti.

"It's a life-changing thing," Hannity said to Graham. "I was with you when you gave these at orphanages and in poor neighborhoods. The kids go nuts! This to them is like getting a bicycle, Xbox, PlayStation and an iPhone.

"And I am not overstating the case. That's how important this stuff is to them," Hannity concluded.

"It is," Graham responded. "We want the children of the world to know God hasn't forgotten them, that God loves them, that He cares for them. For most of these kids ... it's the first gift they've ever had in their life. They're overwhelmed by it."

The shoebox outreach is a ministry God has grown, Graham said, from a few thousand in 1993 to about 10 million this year, totaling more than 113 million shoeboxes over the years, sent to 130 nations.

It is a phenomenon that has reached all corners of the earth and captured the fascination of the global media.

Joana Marchan of the Philippines received one of those shoeboxes in 2000.

It changed her life; it changed her father's life, she told People magazine in a Dec. 6 article. She wrote a thank you note to the 7-year-old boy in Midvale, Idaho, who had enclosed his picture, name and address, but received no response.

Tyrel Wolfe says he never received the letter. Nine years later, she looked him up on Facebook; no response to that query either. Two years later she tried again, and this time he asked her who she was and how she knew him.

They began communicating; he made a trip to the Philippines to meet her, and they married Oct. 5. Guests to the reception brought shoeboxes, which the newlyweds delivered personally to the OCC distribution center in Boone, N.C.

The younger Graham said the love story was something new among the many testimonies he has heard about the impact of Operation Christmas Child.

"That was a first for us," Graham said about the couple's story of falling in love and marrying.

But he said each person who receives a shoebox has a different prayer need, and that is a primary focus of the ministry. 

"We ask everybody to pray," Graham told the television host. "When they put a box like that together the people who put that together prayed for that child who will receive it.

"Sean, we know when we pray, we know God hears the prayer of one righteous person, and when you have 10 million people praying, just think what God might do."