Will Graham Preaches in China

4798 When Will Graham took the pulpit to preach in Shenzhen a few weeks ago, he became the fourth generation in his family to minister in China.
The legacy began with Dr. L. Nelson and Virginia Bell, who arrived in 1916; followed by daughter Ruth, who married evangelist Billy Graham; and continues with Franklin Graham, whose ministry in China has included both evangelistic preaching and relief efforts.

"To me this trip was very emotional because I was preaching in my Grandmother's homeland," Graham said in a recent interview. "Not only was it my first time in mainland China, but to preach and to hear the language my grandmother grew up with was really special."

Shenzhen, just across the river from Hong Kong, has a different feel than the rest of mainland China, said Graham. It is home to some of China's most successful high-tech companies, including firms that manufacture iPhones, iPads, Kindles and the Xbox 360.

Due to explosive demand for these high tech products, the city has grown quickly. A few years ago, the population was roughly 30,000 people. Now it's a couple million, said Graham. 

"When you cross the river from Hong Kong, it becomes a Communist country. But Shenzhen is kind of the halfway between that and the capitalism of Hong Kong. People have a lot more freedom and it is a beautiful city--and the church has more freedom there," he added.

After explaining that the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) works with state-recognized churches, not Chinese house churches or the underground church in China, Graham described his time of ministry: "We saw some great things take place. The church, which was the biggest in the city, was filled to capacity. We did four services in 24 hours and all were full." 

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