Edward Graham, a grandson of the late evangelist Billy Graham, joined Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child mission trip to a remote village in Mexico so he could witness what he described as true evangelism at work in the world today.
Graham serves as the assistant to the vice president of Operation Christmas Child and wanted to see for himself the impact the shoebox gift project has had on recipients by visiting a secluded village that dedicated its first church last month as a result of the evangelistic tool.
The entire village of unreached people was first exposed to the Gospel message after Tequila resident, pastor Jose Benitez, risked his life by traveling six hours to go up mountain to evangelize and bring Operation Christmas Child boxes to the children living in the remote village.
“We had this opportunity to come down here and meet pastor Jose. And I was like, ‘I’ve got to meet this guy,’ Graham told The Christian Post about the pastor who took it upon himself to make the dangerous trek up and down the mountain despite his inability to walk do to childhood polio. “A guy that’s bold and is willing to make this journey, who’s also handicapped himself, and in the eyes of the world maybe has a reason or excuse, ‘that it’s OK I can’t do that.’ He hasn’t let them hold him back and I wanted to meet this guy.”
“I’m fairly new to the ministry, just been working at Samaritan’s Purse for a little over eight months,” added Graham, who served in the U.S. Army for 16 years. “And as I’m going around and seeing the different aspects, I want to be encouraged and see champions of Christ. I heard this guy’s story and I wanted to come down here and to meet him, and selfishly be a little bit encouraged and inspired by him.”
Edward Graham is no stranger to evangelism as his late grandfather, Billy Graham, and father, Franklin Graham, among other members of his family, have traveled the world to share the Gospel. After meeting Benitez, Graham expressed his admiration and said he was inspired by the pastor’s passion to share the hope of God despite his own physical limitations.
“I think the world might look at pastor Jose and they see someone that’s riding around on the scooter that doesn’t have use of his legs. But as you hear his heart and the boldness that he has, the certainty of what he’s doing, it’s not his actions. You can tell it’s not his feet moving, but it’s Jesus taking him and he’s been obedient to the Gospel,” Graham said.
The village of La Laguna is home to an indigenous people called Mexicaneros, or the Nahuatl people, and until they heard the name of Jesus just a few years ago, it was an extremely violent place to live.
“This is not an easy place to get to and he has stayed committed in coming here,” Graham said of Benitez. “They did an Operation Christmas Child distribution and now we’re doing a church dedication. And it’s the commitment of him continuing to come back even after he saw no fruit from his labor. God called him here and he answered the call,” Graham stressed.
Operation Christmas Child, a project of Samaritan’s Purse, has provided an open door for people to help pastors like Benitez around the world by filling shoeboxes with gifts of toys, school supplies, hygiene items, and booklets with the Gospel message that are sent to over 160 nations, including 50 hard to reach areas.
Click here to read more.
SOURCE: Christian Post, Jeannie Law