LIHUE — Why Kauai?
That, said John Cass, is what people ask when told evangelist Will Graham with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is coming here for a three-day crusade next year.
It’s not by a spin of the globe or a decision to go somewhere amazing and have fun.
“You guys are going to hear this over and over again, it’s based on prayer,” said Cass, a BGEA executive director. “It’s based on Will’s heart, Will praying, ‘Where, God, are you leading me?’”
“It’s also the heart and cry of the people who say, ‘Please come to our community,’” he added.
Will Graham later said, “When God says to do something, you gotta do it.”
About 275 pastors and church leaders met at Aloha Church Tuesday morning to officially launch planning for the “Kauai Celebration with Will Graham.”
It was an event marked by praise, prayer and raised hands and talk of a revival to pierce the darkness. Pastor Rocky Sasaki, at one point, sang and then called on everyone to stand.
“I want to challenge you to be fishers of men,” he said with a smile.
The outreach is scheduled May 3-5 and is expected to pack Vidinha Stadium all three nights. It will be free of charge and will feature music from Christian artists and messages from Will Graham, the grandson of well-known evangelist Billy Graham, who died earlier this year at age 99, and son of Franklin Graham.
A stream of activities and planning will take place across the region between now and the celebration in May, including prayer rallies, workshops, and community gatherings.
Cass made it clear why BGEA is coming to Kauai, and that is to share a faith and save souls.
“We want to start something amazing right here,” he said. “It goes from this island to the next island, then over to the lower 48 and don’t forget Alaska, because they need some help too, right? People need Jesus.”
Mayor Bernard Carvalho Jr. said it’s about relationships and staying strong. He spoke of how God uses people with different gifts, abilities and interests to come together in faith.
Carvalho thanked Graham for bringing the “good news” to Kauai.
“Faith, hope and love makes everything possible,” he said. “Faith to stay strong, hope to never give up, and to love unconditionally. This the aloha spirit, and this is exactly the message Will Graham is bringing to our island.”
Will Graham toured the North Shore prior to Tuesday’s rally.
The Billy Graham Rapid Response Team, a ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, deployed alongside Samaritan’s Purse to address the needs of those who were affected. Franklin Graham is president of both organizations.
From its headquarters in Charlotte, N.C., the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association directs a wide range of domestic and international ministries.
Will Graham said during this visit, he spoke to a pastor about spiritual darkness on parts of the island.
“That’s going to be true in everybody’s society,” he said. “There’s spiritual darkness, my friends, the only way you can pierce it, to break it, is like a mighty, rushing water.”
“That’s what God did,” he said, referring to an Old Testament story in 2 Samuel about David defeating the Philistines.
He called on the crowd to pray that God will “break through the darkness.”
“God will break through in a mighty way, a special way, in the weeks to come,” he added. “God can change lives here in Hawaii. He can change people’s hearts.
Graham has preached in the United States, Australia and Scotland thus far in 2018, with events in Canada and Thailand on the horizon. He told the crowd that in preparing for the Kauai Celebration, not to put God in a box.
“This is all about what God’s going to do,” he said. “God is the one that chooses how the battle is won. It’s not us. We just have to be obedient to what God reveals to us.”
He warned people that they will face spiritual warfare in the coming months at church, in the community, at home, and at work. He called on them to read their Bibles and above all, pray. There is a spiritual battle ahead, so they must stay unified and stay focused.
“It’s real,” he said. “But God’s won.”
Graham believes the Kauai Celebration will ignite hearts and bring people to Christ. He spoke of a spiritual awakening on Kauai.
“Wouldn’t it be great to know there is a great revival taking place here on this island that could reach all the other islands?” he said. “It could start here.”