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Opinion

Celebration with Will Graham

FROM THE STANDS - Domini M. Torrevillas - The Philippine Star

Rev. Will Graham is coming to town. He belongs to the third generation of the Grahams who have come to the Philippines “to proclaim life and hope in Jesus Christ.” He is the grandson of the world-famous Dr. Billy Graham, and the son of well-known Rev. Franklin Graham. Will, like his grandfather and father, will be holding the Metro Manila Celebration with Will Graham at the Quirino grandstand, Rizal Park, Manila  on Feb. 15-17.

“I’m not trying to be the next Billy Graham. I’m just Will Graham,” says the 44-year-old  ordained minister. “I have a burden in my heart to preach the Gospel of Jesus Christ. If that’s to an arena full of people or one person on the street, I will do whatever God is calling me to do.”

Many are expected to attend the three-night celebration at the Quirino  grandstand as over a thousand churches within Metro Manila are making preparations for the week-long outreach, and people are praying that many will respond to the invitation to make a commitment to Christ. Everyone is encouraged to come and bring their families to join the celebration, which is free.

The evangelist will be joined onstage for the Metro Manila Celebration by award-winning Christian artist Mark Christian and the 2000 voice Celebration Chorale consisting of various choirs of the churches in Metro Manila. 

Children are invited to attend the Saturday morning event called Pambatang Pagdiriwang, which will also feature the same Gospel message. It will be interesting to see how Will will talk about Jesus Christ to little children. In these days, it will be good to teach children the right way of living.

The three-day celebration in Metro Manila will actually conclude a 15-day trip for Graham which will commence with the Greater Pangasinan Celebration with Will Graham to be held Feb. 9-10 at the Capitol Beach grounds in Lingayen. Some days will be spent talking with church leaders and professionals and businessmen in private meetings.

This is Will Graham’s third trip to the Philippines. In 2011, he spearheaded the Bicol Celebration of Hope at the Pili Freedom stadium in Camarines Sur. This was followed by a double-billed trip in 2015 presenting the message of hope to people of Tacloban at the Greater Tacloban Celebration of Life held at the Leyte Sports Development Center, after which the trip culminated  with the Celebration of Life in Cebu City.

Will has spoken to audiences on six continents since he began his evangelistic ministry in 2006. His preaching activities are held under the banner of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).

The first of Will’s crusade-style events called Celebrations, took place in 2006 in Leduc, Alberta, Canada. His first Celebration on United States soil came later that year in Gastonia, North Carolina. His 2018 schedule included multi-day campaigns in the US, Australia, Scotland, Canada and Thailand.

In addition to his evangelistic outreaches, Will also serves as vice president of the BGEA and as executive director of the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville, N.C. The Cove offers multi-day seminars on a variety of Christian subjects and features nationally recognized speakers.

Will has two unique projects slated for release in the second half of 2018. He portrays his grandfather, Billy Graham, in the Universal Studios biopic titled “Unbroken: Path to Redemption” (about the Olympian and World War II hero Louis Zamperini). In October, Will’s first book – a devotional titled “Redeemed: Devotions of a Longing Soul” – will be published by Thomas Nelson. Centered on the life-changing power of a relationship with God, “Redeemed” will feature stories about his grandfather’s life and ministry, as well as anecdotes from Will’s own experiences.

Will was born in Longmont, Colorado on Jan. 30, 1975.  He graduated from Liberty University in 1997 with a BS degree in religion, and in 2001, graduated from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary with a Master of Divinity degree. He was ordained to the Gospel ministry in 2002.

Will and his wife, Kendra, have two daughters, Christine Jane (CJ) and Rachel Austin, and a son, William Franklin Graham V (Quinn). They live in Swannanoa, North Carolina.

The schedules and locations of the celebrations are as follows: Feb. 9 and 10 – Lingayen, Pangasinan; Feb.  11 – Metro Manila Youth Celebration at the Cuneta Astrodome; 12 – Metro Manila Strategic Leaders Celebration, Crowne Plaza, Mandaluyong; 13 – Metro Manila Strategic celebration, Manila Hotel; 15 – Metro Manila Celebration Day 1,  Quirino Grandstand; 16 – Pambatang Pagdiriwang, Quirino Grandstand and Metro Manila Celebration Day 2, Quirino Grandstand, and 17 – Metro Manila Celebration Day 3, Quirino Grandstand.

The Execom committee helping in the preparations for the Philippine Celebration are: Dr. Andrew Liuson, co-founder of Cityland; Dr. Peter Tan-Chi, senior pastor, CCF; Bro. Eddie Villanueva, senior pastor, JIL; Bishop Ef Tendero, secretary general, CEO World Evangelical Alliance, and Justice Raoul Victorino, United Church of Christ in the Philippines. 

On the senior leadership team are: Bishop Noel Pantoja, general director, PCEC; Bishop Reuben Abante, senior pastor, Lighthouse Bible Bapist Church; James Tioco, chair, FEBC and chair, Sowers of the Word, Operation Christmas Child; Flor Tarriela, chair, Philippine National Bank; Dan Andrew Cura, president, FEBC; Gi Luy, finance analyst, and Jeffrey Ferris, resident celebration director, Billy Graham Evangelist Association. 

Committee chairs are Robert Manaois, workplace; Betta Silverio, resource development, whose members are Vicky Fabregas, Marion Salonga, Moses Chua, Marina Cudala and Alex Patricio.

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Manny Calonzo of EcoWaste Coalition wrote to thank me for my column last Tuesday which mentioned the group’s efforts at denouncing the dumping of garbage at Philippine ports by private companies of foreign countries like Canada and South Korea.

Manny wrote that the Coalition is urging the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to ban plastic waste importation to prevent dumping and pollution. He pointed as good examples countries banning plastic waste imports, such as China, Vietnam, and Malaysia.

Aileen Lucero, EcoWaste Coalition national coordinator, wrote DENR Secretary Roy Cimatu “to impose tough measures that will prevent discarded plastics that could no longer enter China from being diverted into the Philippines due to loopholes in existing regulations.”

 John Simon of Mindanao International Container Terminal (MICT) echoed the Coalition’s call for “stringent policy measures,” and Zero waste advocate Noli Abinales, founder of Buklod Tao, said, “We should send a clear message to waste traders and traffickers that our country is not a dumping ground for the world’s trash.”

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Email: [email protected]

WILL GRAHAM

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