BILLY GRAHAM DALLAS MISSION UPDATE - - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

10/18/2002 - Dallas


The Reverend Billy Graham says terrorism and sniper killings are signs of a universal human wickedness that only God can heal. The 83-year-old evangelist kicked off his four-day evangelistic mission to Dallas-Fort Worth with references to Iraq, the bombing in Indonesia and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. All of them, he said, are evidence of people's need for a personal relationship with God. Introducing him was an old friend -- former President Bush -- who called Graham "a genuine American hero."

Since local churches invited Graham last fall, nearly 500 congregations representing 36 denominations have been preparing for the mission. Musical guests on this opening night will be CeCe Winans and Caedmon's Call. While future crusades haven't been ruled out, none are currently scheduled for Graham, who'll turn 84 in a few weeks.

The Reverend Billy Graham says his ailing wife is praying for the four-day Dallas-Fort Worth mission that starts tonight at Texas Stadium. Ruth Bell Graham has been hospitalized several times this year. The Reverend Graham says she's "now an invalid" who's "very ill," but adds that her prayers make him feel close to her. The 83-year-old evangelist says he enjoys nothing more than "staying with her at home and holding her hand and having romance -- not physical romance, but just looking at each other and touching each other" and sharing memories of their lives together.

The only Dallas Cowboys jersey on the field at Texas Stadium this weekend may be one given to the Reverend Billy Graham. Graham, whose four-day Metroplex Mission starts this evening, says the team gave him a jersey with his name and the number "one" on it. The 83-year-old evangelist, who has trouble standing, joked that he "may show up at the next game" and see where the Cowboys put him. He also noted that the Dallas Cowboys beat his home team, the Carolina Panthers, last Sunday.

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