The year was 1988. The heat was described in Decision magazine as “stifling” and “oppressive.” But, the warm temperatures and violent thunderstorms in the area couldn’t keep thousands from attending the Greater Buffalo-Niagara Billy Graham Crusade that August.
In an interview with The Buffalo News this week, Franklin Graham recalled that 1988 Crusade in Buffalo. An intense storm blew through when Billy Graham was about to preach on one of the days. Crowds headed for cover. Franklin remembered that it even appeared that the stadium was struck by lightning. But, the storm passed quickly, and the Crusade continued. “I was surprised by how few people left,” he said. They stayed, and many made a decision to follow Christ.
And, this weekend, our prayer is that rain or shine, hot or cold, the same will be true. Franklin Graham returns to Buffalo for Rock the Lakes Buffalo. The music will be a bit edgier, but the message will be the same – that God loves you and wants to have a relationship with you.
One Buffalo resident, Annie McCune, attended the Billy Graham crusade at Pilot Field in 1988, and told The Buffalo News she remembered the event transforming the lives of many people.
This year, McCune and her husband, Lee, agreed to lead a committee organizing the Festival with Franklin Graham, which has involved 290 area churches and 3,000 volunteers.
McCune said she has no idea how many people will show up for the event, which is free and open to the public.
“If we can instill hope in any one person, it will be worth it,” she said.