2003 Billy Graham San Diego

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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.

Third Day, Michael W. Smith join Billy Graham in San Diego

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A faithful tribute
Michael W. Smith, in a tribute to U.S. troops, waved an American flag and sang "America the Beautiful" on the opening night of Billy Graham's Mission San Diego evangelistic campaign. Photo by Tobin Perry
SAN DIEGO (BP)--Christian artists Third Day and Michael W. Smith helped launch Billy Graham's Mission San Diego evangelistic campaign with a crowd of 54,000 May 8 at Qualcomm Stadium.
      "It's an honor to be part of it," Third Day lead singer Mac Powell told the San Diego Union-Tribune.
      Smith added patriotic fervor to the evening when he waved a large American flag on stage in support of U.S. troops.
      "I love this country!" Smith shouted prior to singing "America the Beautiful."

Mission San Diego with Billy Graham marks 413th crusade in half century

SAN DIEGO (BP)--A uniform spirit of urgency has been evident among evangelical churches in preparation for Mission San Diego with Billy Graham May 8-11, according to the San Diego Baptist Association's director of missions.