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Rick Gage continues to stir America’s towns for Christ

HARTSVILLE, S.C. (BP)–Billy Graham probably will never lead a crusade in such Texas towns as San Saba, Clarendon or Perryton, or in Lincolnton, Ga.

But evangelist Rick Gage will hold a four-day GO TELL Area-Wide Crusade in each locale this year.

Last fall, Gage led similar campaigns in Kelleytown Stadium in Hartsville, S.C., and at the Lanier National Speedway near Gainesville, Ga.

In the Hartsville outreach, 660 decisions for Christ were made, including 356 first-time professions of faith.

At the Georgia speedway, 550 decisions were recorded, including 329 first-time professions of faith.

Jack Westmoreland, co-chairman of the Hartsville campaign, noted “the powerful way God moved in this crusade with Rick Gage,” calling it high among “the most worthwhile, overwhelming” experiences of his life.

“It is hard to put into words glorious enough to do it justice. The Spirit of God swept through night after night, saving and changing lives. It is beyond anything I could have imagined this side of heaven,” Westmoreland said amid tears.

The crusade’s closing night — a youth night — capped Gage’s outreach to area young people through his “On Track” school assemblies, attended by more than 5,000 students who listened to his reflections on life’s choices and such issues as drugs, alcohol abuse and teen suicide.

The youth night, complete with a pizza blast, drew more than 1,700 young people to the crusade. “Young people flooded the altars making decisions for Christ that last night,” local counseling chairman Warren Arthur said. “We had 100 counselors standing by, but we needed 300. It was phenomenal how powerful and strong the Spirit of God was as the Lord worked in hearts. Many were saved who had no church affiliation at all.”

“As I left the stadium that night,” said Judy Lyles, the crusade’s prayer chairperson, “I felt as if my heart would burst with thankfulness to God. My husband and three sons had been saved at the crusade. I was overwhelmed with an awesome sense that the work God began in this miraculous crusade will go on and on” — something about which “we are praying seriously.”

More than 100 Hartsville-area churches joined forces for the crusade featuring “the Billy Graham of small-town America,” working through 13 committees in the various planning stages prior to the Gage’s arrival

In Gainesville, Ga., local businessman and crusade chairman Henry Slack remarked, “I’ve never seen anything like it in my life. Night after night people flooded to the altar. God moved in power and changed lives by the hundreds.

“As I arrived at the crusade Wednesday evening [for the closing service] and turned the corner, I saw a sight that literally took my breath away. More than 4,000 young people and adults packed the grandstands. It was as if I could see God’s hand in Holy Spirit power sweeping over the crowd. It was the largest gathering of young people for any event in the history of Hall County.

“After Rick Gage preached, young people began to flood the altar in waves,” so much so that “we asked for anyone in the stands who knew how to lead a person to Christ to come help counsel,” Slack said. “Only a sovereign God can produce results like that.”

Video testimonies were featured from University of Georgia head football coach Mark Richt and Georgia Tech head coach Chan Gailey.

Robbie Foster, pastor of Hopewell Baptist Church, told of one high school football player who made a profession of faith on the crusade’s opening night. “He then began to bring his friends, along with many others, who were saved at the crusade,” Foster recounted.

“Scores of students from Johnson High School who made decisions at the crusade are hungry for more of the Lord,” said Rick Stowe, associate pastor of Chestnut Mountain Church who served as the crusade’s counseling and follow-up chairman. Stowe’s own 18-year-old son also made a profession of faith in Christ.

Wayne Mock, police operations commander for the Hall County sheriff’s department who was in charge of traffic and security for the crusade, told of a 12-year-old who came up to him after a pre-crusade rally and asked if Mock was a Christian. “‘Yes, I am, son!'” the officer said, “to which he replied with a radiant face, ‘I’ve only been a Christian for five minutes.’ My eyes welled up with tears as he hugged me. All of our effort would have been worth it if just that one young boy had been saved. That is the awesomeness of our God — He changes and transforms a life for all eternity in a moment of time.”

More than 40 area churches worked together for a year in organizing the Hall County crusade.

“The old-time Gospel still works. Crusade evangelism still works,” Gage often says. “Saturating our communities across America with the Gospel message must be done at all costs.”
Various facets of Rick Gage’s GO TELL Ministries, including youth camps and overseas missions trips, are described on the Web at www.rickgageministries.com.
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: EVANGELIST’S GREETING.

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