CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Christian Examinre) -- The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association released the results of its 2014 evangelistic outreaches, noting that the Gospel was shared with nearly 9.5 million individuals with more than 1.6 million of these surrendering their lives to Christ. The evangelistic ministry had a presence in every nation in the world in 2014 with the only possible exception of North Korea, where information cannot be verified.
"Our hearts overflow with gratitude to God for all He has done and is doing, and we are eager to keep pressing forward as He continues to open doors," Franklin Graham, BGEA president and CEO, said in a statement on BillyGraham.org.
The ministry pressed forward in 2014 through multiple approaches, including festivals (crusade-like efforts), online outreach, in-home videos and crisis response.
Highlights for the year included:
-- Marking a milestone for its Internet evangelism through "Search for Jesus," which reached its 5 millionth person for Christ since launching in 2011. More than 20,000 people a day log online to view a presentation of the Gospel and engage with trained counselors.
-- Hosting large-scale events in El Paso, Texas, Pittsburgh and Erie, Pa., Clinton, Miss, Toronto, Canada, Sapporo, Japan, Tbilisi, Georgia, Warsaw, Poland, Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, Fukuoka and Tokyo, Japan, Broken Hill, Australia, Mount Hagen, and Papua New Guinea. Together, live audiences totaled more than 180,000 with more than 14,700 making commitments to Christ.
-- Ministering through its Rapid Response Teams' 300 crisis-trained chaplains in 17 situations across the country, most recently in the community of Ferguson, Mo., following the unrest there. More than 11,000 survivors of tragedies received emotional and spiritual care. Internationally, Billy Graham chaplains responded to flooding in the United Kingdom, and continued a longstanding presence in the Philippines following the massive devastation of Typhoon Haiyan (also called Typhoon Yolanda).
-- Distributing more than 200,000 copies of the My Hope video, "Heaven" and logging 150,000, plus, views on YouTube. In the United Kingdom, 12,000 churches and organizations registered for My Hope UK to show the film "The Cross" – making it one of the largest evangelistic outreaches in recent years in the UK.
The ministry even saw 840 inidividuals commit their lives to Christ among the approximate 142,000 persons who toured The Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C.
In 2015, the BGEA is planning major evangelistic crusades on five continents, in countries that include Ukraine, Spain, Brazil, Japan, India, Philippines, and Tanzania, as well as in several places in the United States. My Hope will continue in the U.S., Canada and the UK, and, plans are in development for additional countries.