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By: Phil O'Day on: February 21, 2018
Story Type: History, Story    

Remembering Billy Graham's 1958 Crusades in Central America


Sixty Years ago this month, evangelist Billy Graham held crusades in several of Central America's capital cities. The following excerpts from the April 1958 Central American Bulletin highlight the impact of Graham's outreach. See the entire 1958 issue here.

In Guatemala: Lightning Pre-Campaigns Touch 12 Cities

Two groups, each with a coordinator, evangelist and musicians, left the Capital January 21 for 12 days of Pre-Crusade campaigns, each visiting six principal cities all over Guatemala. Evangelists were Mariano Gonzáles of the Central American Mission of Honduras and Jorge Sánchez of the Navigators of Costa Rica. Coordinators were Stuart Bundy with a trumpet trio, all of the Latin American Institute of of Guatemala City, and Arthur Konrad with Newberry Cox as trumpeter, both of the Central American Mission. Everywhere there was a tremendous interest and a burden of prayer.

Graham Crusade Reaches 179,800

As Billy Graham and the team landed at the Guatemalan airport, February 12, shortly after noon (after having stopped for messages in the Capitals of Nicaragua, Honduras and El Salvador) they were greeted by a crowd of several thousand, that overflowed the airport.

A great caravan of bicycles, motorcycles and cars followed Billy Graham into the city, to hear him speak at the "Plaza of Justo Rufino Barrios." This was a significant choice for his opening words, as Barrios 75 years ago, was the great liberator of Guatemala, and the one directly responsible for the entrance of the first evangelical missionary.

About 40,000 came out each night to the Mateo Flores Stadium in Olympic City, to hear and see the man on whom God had so signally placed His hand. When Dr. Graham entered the stadium with Rogelio Archilla, his interpreter, he was greeted by spontaneous applause. Visitors had come from Mexico, Honduras, Texas, and every Province of Guatemala.

In Panama: Strikes... Opposition ... But the Crusade Goes On!

" The Billy Graham Campaign in Panama was a great victory for God," according to Carl Etheridge, who is delaying furlough over four months to assist in the campaign and follow-up.

Each night when the invitation was given hundreds responded and were dealt with personally. In all about 1,800 cards were filled out in the seven nights, the majority of them the two nights that Billy preached. All were dealt with personally by trained counsellors.

In Nicaragua: Nearly 2,000 Greet Billy at Airport

Nearly 2,000 greeted Billy Graham at the Managua Airport, despite the blazing heat of a tropical Nicaraguan sun. Great preparations went into the brief visit as evangelicals of Nicaragua worked shoulder to shoulder on the plans.

As Billy Graham stepped off the plane the crowd sang 'Bienvenido', and presented him with a Nicaragua flag, and an alligator Bible case.

“My one purpose in life is to help people find a personal relationship with God, which I believe comes from knowing Christ.”
- Billy Graham

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