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“Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! I shall be more alive then than I am now. I will have gone into the presence of God.” Dr. Billy Graham

Bob and I were honored to attend Dr Billy Graham’s funeral in Charlotte today. It was a precious time of celebration as nearly 2000 people came from around the world to pay him tribute. The service was held at the Billy Graham Library in a huge tent in memory of Billy’s great tent crusade in LA in 1949. My folks were there for those first meetings and now Bob and I got to be there to represent my family and World Vision.

We felt a bit out of place among all the Christian dignitaries who attended, but I was thrilled to find that the lady sitting next to me was Shiela Walsh! I met Shiela years ago when she was part of Women of Faith. W of F were promoting WV sponsorship. Bob and I also ran into WVI President, Kevin Jenkins! What a surprise to see him waiting in line for the bus!

Each of the Graham kids...Gigi, Anne, Ruth, Ned and Franklin...paid a loving tribute to their mom and dad. We were also blessed to see President Trump, Vice-President Pence and their wives there. They asked for no fanfare. Just worshipped with the rest of us.

While we were not allowed to take pictures during the service, I got a few pictures before the service began. It was a special day! To God be the glory!
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Every Last One!

Once a year World Vision invites donors and interested people from around the country to gather to hear about our past year's accomplishments, meet some of our amazing staff from around the world and catch our vision for the future.

This year WV launched a new, 7-year campaign called Every Last One! The title refers to our determination to reach every child we can who is trapped in generational poverty and release them to a new life of hope and possibilities through Christian witness, clean water, mother and child health, economic empowerment, child protection, education, and emergency relief.

The goals are audacious, even for us! By leveraging WV's unique position and assets, we aim to intentionally and directly address the needs of more than 30 million of the world's most vulnerable people by 2022! We will also intensify our efforts in the most fragile and difficult places. And we will continue to work with communities to deliver sustainable solutions that will impact millions more children over the next generation.

I was blessed to be asked to speak on the final evening. And to my delight, every one of our children and grandchildren came! So did my sister, Robin.

I also met some amazing people who are joining their visions with ours to change the world in Jesus' name! Flip through the pictures and see some of the wonderful memories I brought home from the conference as we set out to reach every last one with God's love, hope and provision.
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The Last of the Band of Brothers Goes to His Heavenly Reward

The passing of Billy Graham this week at the age of 99 hit me hard. Not that those who knew him hadn't expected his home going. He had struggled with his health for years and his distinctive voice has been all but silent for over a decade.

Still, when I read the text from my sister saying, "Billy went home last night", I felt the tears come. It was as though I had lost a member of my family. Once the tears had stopped, I asked myself where the grief was coming from. After all, although Billy's son, Franklin, is the president of Samaritan's Purse, we have not been close to the Graham family for many years.

Then it hit me. Billy was the last of the "Band". In his book "The Surprising Work of God", Garth Rosell gives an excellent overview of the birth of Youth for Christ and the young men who laid the foundations for that great ministry. Garth's father, Merv Rosell, was included in that number as well as Billy and my father. He called them the Band of Brothers and together they took the Gospel to the uttermost parts of the earth in the early years of YFC. Then they scattered, much like Christ's disciples, to take the Gospel throughout the world. Many, like Billy Graham, continued as evangelists. Others became pastors of great churches. And others, like my dad, went on to found Christian para-church organizations. I once looked at the list of ministries that came out of YFC and the list took up 3 pages!

These men were prayer warriors and visionaries and true world-changers. But above all, they were friends who supported each other's ministries and loved each other's families. Billy Graham was the last person alive who knew my Dad as a 31-year-old youth pastor with nothing to show for himself but his faith in Christ and his heart to reach the world with God's love. In the late 1940's Billy traveled with my father throughout the Northwest for YFC, preaching the Gospel in youth rallies and churches. Their friendship was bonded in long days, late nights, miraculous provisions, wonderful successes, agonizing failures, laughter and tears.

Before my Dad when to China, Billy Graham gave him a Bible at a YFC rally to present to General Chiang Kai Chek. Years later my father would have the joy of introducing Billy to the General and Madam when the two men made their historic evangelistic tour to Korea, Taiwan and India in 1952. Billy had been invited to preach to the Korean troops and Daddy filmed his meetings and gave radio reports on what God was doing. But more importantly, Dad took Billy to meet some of the children, widows, refugees and pastors he was supporting. World Vision had not yet been established, but Billy could see the difference his friend was making. Years later Dr. Graham would say that trip changed his life and gave him a larger missionary vision. And he became one of World Vision's staunchest supporters, asking Dad to share in many of his crusades. He even publicly gave Dad a new Buick he and Ruth had been given, saying that after hearing Bob Pierce speak about the needs in Korea, they had to do something to help!

I could go on and on, but this is not the time for a history lesson. Rather, I want to reflect on how God brings people together for His purposes. Bob Pierce and Billy Graham were as different as two men could be. Billy was highly educated and well spoken. My Dad never graduated from college and was famous for murdering the King's English. Yet, like Jonathan and David, these two men of God recognized someone akin in one another. The call of God was on them and they each had said, "Here I am, Lord. Send me."

Dr. Graham once wrote of my dad, "It was my privilege to have known Dr. Bob Pierce as a close, personal friend and confidante…I loved (him) as a brother in the Lord. He was used as few men in the last generation".

If my dad was this side of heaven, I know he would say the same and much more about the man whose life so closely paralleled his own.

Our prayers and love go out to the Graham family. Even though the hope of heaven is real, it is sad to lose a loved one. The Pierce family shares your loss!
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Fellowship, Inspiration and Pancakes!

Last week I made a quick trip to Seattle to meet with my World Vision teammates and spend a couple days in our headquarters in Federal Way.

On Wednesday morning I joined our staff for WV's weekly chapel. The guest speaker was Pastor David Choi from the Tacoma Baptist Church. He shared a powerful message about the importance of always keeping Jesus at the center of what we do and sharing the Good News of the Gospel whenever possible! We all left feeling empowered and re-ignited with a passion for Christ!

And on Thursday we had our yearly Pancake Breakfast. This was the first time in the 17 years that I have worked for WV that I was in Federal Way to enjoy the many creative ways our leadership comes up to serve pancakes! Edgar Sandoval, our senior vice president, even dressed up for the occasion!

It was a week of great fellowship with my team, great inspiration from Pastor Choi and great pancakes!
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Thanks for all the prayers and encouraging words!

Have you ever just stopped in the middle of your day (or life!) and thought, "Who am I that God should bless me so?"

I had that feeling as I read all the kind messages from friends who were praying for me as I traveled to Canada. I did not take my laptop, and I have not been able to figure out how to post to my public page off of my iPhone yet. (I can hear my daughter, Michelle, groaning as she reads this because she has shown me several times. But I swear that when she is not there, the needed button disappears!) But the trip was wonderful! God blessed and it was a joy to be in our Canadian office and to spend time with our wonderful staff! I could feel your prayers and believe our time was especially blessed! Thank you!

I was only home a few days before I took off for Naples, Florida to speak at a missions' event at Emmanuel Lutheran Church and then on to Washington DC to speak to our DC staff. Another wonderful and meaningful time with our staff! And now I am getting ready to fly up to Federal Way for my team staff meeting and to video a couple of short pieces.

I am fully aware that I am functioning these busy days on the power of prayer and I can't thank God (and you) enough for keeping my batteries charged and gas tank full! I feel stronger and more "normal" every day and honestly do believe that by the time the one-year anniversary of my back surgery rolls around in June, I will be 100%. PTL!!

On a couple purely fun notes, my daughter, Stacy celebrated her 39th birthday on February 4th and my granddaughter, Addision, played her first softball game (ever!) last Saturday. She got a 2-base hit on her second swing, allowing the runner at first to score! A "natural" if I ever saw one! So proud! I LOVE softball! And I love my kids!
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