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(Hawaii Pacific Baptist April 2012) FEATURE

Billy Graham conducts crusades in Hawaii

   The March 12, 1956 “Honolulu Star Bulletin” headline read, “Billy Graham Tells 18,000 They’ll Find Hope in Christ.”

   In the article by Mark Waters, Graham’s message “was one of hope. He says to have hope one need only give themselves to Christ. It’s been repeated more times than there are blades of grass in the stadium where he spoke yesterday. He said the same thing that thousands of ministers throughout Christianity have said. But he said it so convincingly that more than 1,800 persons made their decision for Christ.”

   Waters described the scene: “What he said in his hour-long sermon boiled down to that simple theme. Then, at the close, he asked those present to make the choice, and if they wanted to, come forward and pray with him at the foot of the platform which faced the outfield from the second base area. The organ started playing on cue, and they came, a few at first, but then more and more. Some cried and some prayed to themselves. ‘Don’t look for emotion. Some of you may have it. Others won’t. Don’t depend on it,’ Graham told them as they followed him in prayer.”

   One of the key leaders in organizing the crusade was Police Chief Dan Liu who served as co-chairman of the rally. A thousand voice choir from local churches sang before Dr. Graham spoke to the audience.

   Dr. And Mrs. Graham also came to Hawaii to celebrate the 22nd anniversary of Olivet Baptist Church in 1963.

   Billy Graham conducted a crusade at the Honolulu International Center February 14-21, 1965. Chief Dan Liu again served as chairman of the local arrangements. Chief Liu said that he considered Billy Graham to be “God’s mightiest servant of our times.” Crusades were to be conducted on Maui, Hawaii and Kauai.

   The April 1965 “Hawaii Baptist” devoted a column to the results of the Crusade. “The impact of the Hawaii Billy Graham Crusade on our Southern Baptist Churches in Hawaii has been tremendous. The responses has been left not only in the great number of professions of faith in Christ, rededication, and baptism, but increased concern for lost souls and renewed Christian attitudes of love and willingness to work for the Lord have been evidenced in the lives of many church members.”

   “On the island of Oahu alone churches report marvelous results. Waipahu had 12 professions of faith during the month of February alone. Olivet reports 30 professions of faith. Waialae received 27 referrals from the Follow-Up Committee of the Billy Graham Crusade. Pearl City reports 15 professions of faith, 11 baptisms. Brother Hiratani sees increased concern among his church members for the lost, ‘It is one of the best revival impacts our church has ever experienced,’ Mr. Hiratani commented.”

   “On Maui, Mr. Graham spoke to a full auditorium February 24. The crowd was estimated at 2,200. On the island of Hawaii, a large number of those present were students at the University of Hawaii at Hilo. Three hundred and fifty-three came forward making decisions on the invitation. On Kauai, Mr. Graham spoke at the War Memorial Auditorium in Lihue and there was a turn-away attendance.”

Photo: Billy Graham conducted a crusade at the Honolulu Stadium March 11, 1956. Over 18,000 attended the crusade with 1,823 responding to accepting Jesus as Saviour.

Dan Liu, retired Honolulu Chief of Police, on the left, served as the coordinator for the Billy Graham Crusade in 1956 and 1965. Chief Liu was a Baptist layman and member of Olivet Baptist Church in Honolulu. He placed heavy emphasis on community service and was recognized for his service. He was named, “Public Administrator of the Year,” and “Most Admired Man” in the state of Hawaii in 1965. He was quoted in the “Hawaii Baptist” as saying, “I believe that a person with religious motivation has to be of service, has to be a practical Christian.” Chief Liu was also the first layman to serve as president of the Convention.

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