Tobin Perry & Kelli Cottrell

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16,000 make decisions in San Diego, one led by 13-year-old

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Franklin's fervor
Kirk Franklin was one of several gospel artists featured May 10 in a night geared toward youth during Billy Graham's Mission San Diego. Photo by Kelli Cottrell
SAN DIEGO (BP)--The shy 13-year-old doesn't seem like your typical evangelist. His voice cracks when he speaks. He has yet to fill out his not-yet-adult body. And pimples dot his face.
      But May 9, during the second evening of Mission San Diego with Billy Graham, Joseph Bekkedahl did something that the famed 84-year-old evangelist would commend. He personally led a 14-year-old boy through a prayer to accept Christ.
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Graham in San Diego
Billy Graham, continuing his ministry in San Diego at age 84, drew 270,000 people to Qualcomm Stadium; more than 16,000 made spiritual decisions during the four-night Mission San Diego. Photo by Kelli Cottrell
      "It was good, but I forgot some of the words," said the humble teenager from East Clairemont Southern Baptist Church in San Diego and a three-year veteran of the FAITH program, a Southern Baptist Sunday School evangelism program to help laypeople share their faith.
      Bekkedahl was one of more than 20,000 volunteers recruited by San Diego-area churches, many of whom were Southern Baptist, who made the four-day mission one of the most successful evangelistic initiatives in the history of Southern California.