When world renowned evangelist Billy Graham delivers his sermon to thousands of people in New York City this weekend, a South Mississippi church youth group will play a significant role in the history making religious event.
Six teenagers from Grace Chapel Baptist Church in Hancock County's Fenton Community will participate in what will likely be Reverend Graham's final mass crusade.
Al Showers caught up with the group early Thursday morning as they prepared to hit the road.
Despite being 3 o'clock in the morning, the teens were bursting with excitement as they loaded their luggage into the church's van. Most said they were so anxious, they got little rest the night before.
"No, I'm not thinking about sleep at all. I'm just ready to get there," youth group member Keith Wall said.
In New York City, the teens will do more than just listen to the famous Billy Graham spread the gospel. They're going to be youth counselors. During the second night of the crusade, these teens will help Reverend Graham win souls.
"We'll be the people standing down front if they decide that they need to make a decision for Christ. They'll come down and they'll speak with us. We may lead them in a prayer to ask Jesus into their heart. Or we may just help them learn how to lay their sins down at the cross," Youth Minister Terri Breland said.
Member Heather Cuevas is looking forward to being in such an important position.
"I'm hoping to maybe touch a few people. Maybe plant that seed," Cuevas said.
The Hancock County youth group will spend their day time hours witnessing to strangers on the streets of the big apple.
"It's kind of scary, cause you don't know what you're going to run into. You're going to be talking to all kinds of people all over New York City, and you don't know if somebody is going to say, like, you're crazy or something," member Bianca Malley said.
The group held weekly dinners and other events to raise nearly $6,000 to make the trip.
"It's a once in a lifetime opportunity to meet Billy Graham, one of the greatest evangelists who ever lived. We'll have an opportunity to meet him and work with him and help further the Kingdom of God," Breland said.
Grace Chapel's youth group will be among about 300 others across the nation to take part in the massive crusade. The teens and their chaperons will return to the coast late Sunday night.
by Al Showers
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