Decision America Tar Heel State Tour: Proclaiming Christ in Wilmington

Not even a persistent drizzle could dampen the spirits of the approximately 8,200 people who came to hear the Gospel preached Oct. 5 in the Port City.

“Wilmington, I’m telling you, there could be a revival here,” Jeremy Camp told the crowd before launching into his popular song “Same Power,” which is based on Romans 8:11.

When Franklin took the stage, he promptly asked the members of the audience to stand to their feet, take the hand of the person next to them and pray out loud for the leaders of the United States.

“The only One who can fix the problems of this nation is God,” he said.

Franklin then preached from Luke 7:36-50, telling the story of a sinful woman who anointed the feet of Jesus with perfume. When Simon, a Pharisee, questioned Jesus’ kindness toward the woman, Jesus explained that He is able to forgive even the worst sinner if she comes to Him in faith. 

Although Simon knew the law as a religious leader, he refused to admit that he was also a sinner in need of forgiveness.

“If you reject Christ,” Franklin explained, “there is no hope for you. Religion can’t save you. … It’s by God’s grace that we’re saved, through faith. … The only hope is Jesus Christ.”

When Franklin gave the invitation to accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, hundreds popped up with their colorful umbrellas all over Legion Stadium. In total, 652 people, in the stadium and online, responded to the invitation.

Heather, 18, felt God tug on her heart and wanted to make the decision to receive Him into her life, but her shyness prevented her from standing up when Franklin gave the invitation. Heather’s mother, Sheryl, wasn’t going to let this opportunity pass her daughter by. Sheryl quickly found a counselor to pray with her and her daughter, allowing the Holy Spirit to usher Heather into an eternal relationship with Jesus.

“The Holy Spirit’s everywhere,” said the counselor. “God knows [Heather’s] heart.”

Austin, 26, had fallen away from the Lord as drug addiction took control of his life. But he was searching for more. Just 17 days out of rehab,  surrounded by family, Austin rededicated his life to Christ. 

Saved on the Front Porch

Teresia Jearlds had no idea that Franklin Graham was in town until she asked some convenience store clerks what all the commotion was across the street at Legion Stadium. Returning to her house, beer in hand, she felt compelled to sit on her front porch and listen.

“I can’t explain it,” she said. “This voice in my head said, ‘Teresia, go sit on that porch.’”

When she heard Franklin’s message and his invitation to accept Christ, Teresia knew she had to stand up. 

“I’m standing up on my porch, crying like a baby, saying the prayer out loud. Since then, I cannot explain the peace that has come over me. I found every excuse not to go to church, but God brought church to my front yard.”

Photos: Thomas J. Petrino/2019 BGEA; Courtesy of Teresia Jearlds