Franklin Graham Shares the Gospel Across Australia: Photos from Perth

By   •   February 9, 2019

It's been 60 years since Billy Graham's historic Australia Crusades of 1959. "Culture has changed, but I'm here to tell you God's Word doesn't change," Franklin Graham said. On Feb. 9, he began his six-city evangelistic Graham Tour around Australia, which is stopping in many of the same cities where his father preached decades ago, ending with a two-day event in Sydney.
Franklin preached from the Bible about Bartimaeus, a blind beggar saved by Jesus. We, too, can be blinded—by lies, Franklin said. "We're blinded by the devil who deceives us and lures us into sin. He promises fun and excitement if we'll just follow him. ... He's a liar. Sin steals your joy, it steals your happiness, it steals your fellowship with God."
Saturday's event was held at the RAC Arena, home to Perth's professional basketball team. "You can leave this arena knowing your soul is secure forever," Franklin Graham said.
As a port of entry for many immigrants, Perth is an international melting pot. Visitors find a city center filled with Asian and Middle Eastern restaurants, and it's not uncommon to hear English, Irish, Scottish, French or Italian accents. More than one-third of the population is foreign born.
The Planetshakers, founded in Australia, came onstage with a bang.
In a McCrindle research survey, nearly half of Australians who rarely or never attend church say that it's irrelevant to their lives. One constant message throughout the night was that Christ is relevant for everyone.
David Crowder and his band performed a classy rendition of "How He Loves" as thousands sang along.
About half of Perth's population claims Christianity. Other religions represented include Buddhism, Islam and Hindu.
Around 25 million people live in Australia, including about 2 million in Perth, a major city on Western Australia's southern coast. In fact, 80 percent of Western Australia's population lives in the Greater Perth area, with uninhabited outback making up the majority of the state.
A little glimpse at the wildlife in Australia. Kangaroos are possibly the most sought-out animal for tourists.
Franklin and a small team get on their knees in prayer before the event began. "I'm not here to condemn you," Franklin later told the crowd gently. Instead, he continued, he was there to share how they could be set free. There are five cities left on the Graham Tour, with two events in Sydney.
There were many smiling faces Saturday, but for countless others around Perth, each day brings a sense of hopelessness. Drug offenses have doubled in the Perth metro area over the last five years. "Why do people use drugs and alcohol?" Franklin Graham asked. "Because many people just don't see any hope and they want to drown their misery and their depression and their emptiness with another drink of alcohol or taking some more pills."
According to the 2016 Australian Bureau of Statistics census, 30 percent of Australians said they have no religion, up from just 0.8 percent in 1966.
Another symbol of the Land Down Under. Visitors to Australia have long been fascinated with koalas, who sleep a majority of the day. What luck to have spotted one awake!
Most of Australia's denominations are based in eastern cities, causing some churches in Western Australia to feel disconnected. Western Australia has historically been the country's least churched state. At the same time, with fewer denominational ties, churches here have been more unified by proximity. Over 250 churches representing 38 denominations across Perth have been involved in the Graham Tour.
Many Aboriginal tribes exist throughout Australia. Much of their culture has been passed down for centuries—for example, colorful dot paintings popular in shops and art galleries around Perth.
David Crowder watches from the side of the stage and claps with Franklin for all the people who chose to walk forward in response to the Gospel message.
More than 13,000 people filled the arena Saturday, while another 2,700 watched the live stream. Combined, over 650 people responded to the Gospel. Franklin Graham heads up north to Darwin next, followed by Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Sydney.