This week is National Collection Week for Operation Christmas Child! If you live in the Asheville area, or you are coming for an event, you can bring your shoebox gifts to The Cove! That’s right, The Cove is a relay drop-off location this year. Just pack your shoebox gift (click here for some great gift ideas!) and bring it by anytime between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Nov. 14-21.
Here’s some more information about Operation Christmas Child – it’s the world’s largest Christmas project and a part of the international Christian relief and evangelism organization Samaritan’s Purse. Since 1993, Operation Christmas Child has delivered more than 77 million gift-filled shoe boxes to needy children in more than 130 countries. For more information, visit www.samaritanspurse.org/occ.
This Veterans Day, we want to say thank you to all of our military personnel, both past and present, who have served our country to protect the freedoms we all enjoy. We love you, and we pray that this Veterans Day you will know how much we appreciate your service.
At The Cove, one way we show our appreciation is through our scholarship program for active-duty military. We are pleased to offer full scholarships for active-duty military personnel and their spouses to attend a seminar here at The Cove. Come renew your spirit through encouragement and sound biblical teaching from respected Christian speakers.
Here’s what some recent attendees have said about their trips to The Cove:
“My wife and I wanted you to know how much we enjoyed our Personal Spiritual Retreat at The Cove. Like most military couples with children, we spend most of our days moving in opposite directions. During our 3 days at The Cove, we were able to read, pray and talk together more than we have in a very long time. The friendly staff and the quiet, peaceful surroundings made our time extra special as we grew closer to each other and closer to God. Because of your generosity, our marriage is stronger and our family has been blessed. Thank you so much for presenting us with such a wonderful gift.” –MSG Joseph Laskowski
“My hope in these days is in the Lord and the personal spiritual retreat reminded me of the lasting hope we have in Christ regardless of what happens around us. I preached this weekend with renewed passion. Thanks to those who gave so that I might stay at the Cove and be spiritually refreshed and deeply encouraged.” — LTC Ken Sorenson
“From the bottom of my heart, I would like to extend my highest gratitude of appreciation for providing such a wonderful weekend at The Cove in Asheville, NC; with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. We had an absolutely wonderful time at The Cove, as their hospitality and accommodations were extremely superb and unmatched.” –Maj. Ross Lightsey, Sr.
If you are on active military service or serve as a current military chaplain with the North American Mission Board, please call us at (800) 950-2092, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. ET, Monday through Friday to learn more.
If you are not in the military, but you would like to show your support, you can give to our scholarship fund to help make this program possible. We can’t do it without your help! Contact Anna Contoleon at The Cove (828) 298-2092.
Today is Billy Graham’s birthday! As he turns 93 today, he shares his hopes, struggles and prayers, and his gratitude for each of you.
From Billy Graham:
Through the miracle of technology, God is graciously allowing me to proclaim the Good News in several countries this year—three of them where I never had the opportunity to lead a Crusade.
As I turn 93, I am thankful to the Lord that not long before my birthday, I was able to complete a book I’ve been working on for some time. The book is called Nearing Home, and it’s about how to prepare for and face the challenges of growing old, and how to finish well. I’ve written down lessons and insights I wish I had learned earlier in life, because I have come to realize that although I know how to die, no one ever taught me how to grow old.
Even as I look forward to seeing Jesus Christ face to face, and to being reunited with Ruth, my parents, and a host of friends who have now gone on before me, God continues to give me time on earth. My failing eyesight keeps me from reading as I once did, and my physical stamina is low, but I have more time to pray. I talk to the Lord about the needs of family and friends, and about the work of evangelism that God has called us to at BGEA.
Read the complete letter here. To send personal greetings to Billy Graham, post comments on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/ReverendBillyGraham or on Twitter using the hashtag #happybdaybillygraham.
Have you heard? The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has launched – for the first time – an online audio archive of Billy Graham’s sermons. The searchable database, which you can find at www.billygraham.org/audioarchives, contains 1,673 messages spanning the more than six decades of Mr. Graham’s worldwide ministry.
You can search the database by topic, date or location. This project is unique in that such a large amount of data is being shared with the public in one location. Previously, one would have to request hard files, transcripts or rely on outside sources to find Billy Graham messages for use. Audio can be streamed, but not downloaded. We hope you are as uplifted by these messages as we are.
This month (and through the rest of the year), we have some great helpers with us at The Cove. They arrived in recreational vehicles, but they got right down to business!
*This post is from Jane Slocomb of the SOWER Ministry
Who are the SOWERs – the new volunteers at The Cove? SOWERs, or “Servants on Wheels Ever Ready,” are a group of approximately 750 couples who desire to serve Christ by serving others.
We are born-again Christians who have recreational vehicles (RVs), are self-supporting and are retired or semi-retired. We delight in serving the Lord by using our various skills and God-given gifts to perform volunteer work. We enjoy the RV lifestyle and the adventure of traveling throughout the United States and North America. Some of us are full-time RVers, while others maintain homes and travel periodically to work on various projects.
The SOWER Ministry provides volunteer help to non-profit Christian ministries. We assist Christian churches, camps, conference centers, orphanages, schools, colleges, missionary retreat centers and training facilities, refuges for neglected or abused children, and recovery homes for adults and other ministries through the organized teamwork of volunteers.
We are primarily a physical labor ministry. For most projects, the men are involved with the construction or remodeling of structures and associated utilities, repair of vehicles, and landscaping, using their various skills of carpentry, electrical, plumbing, roofing, masonry, mechanics, etc. Women help with office work, tutoring, sewing, painting, kitchen work, cleaning and more. SOWER men work approximately six hours per day and the women work three hours each day, four days per week.
This is our first project at The Cove. We are delighted to be here and have been enjoying the wonderful staff who have made us feel so much a part of the ministry. If you have been over to the maintenance area you have seen a bit of construction going on. The first project the men have been doing is the construction of the RV sites for future SOWERS. The women have been working at the Administrative Building helping the staff with various projects.
Being a SOWER is not all work. At every project, we meet old friends and new friends. There are social celebrations, getting together with other SOWER groups that are close by and lots of fellowship. We enjoy special ongoing relationships as we connect and reconnect with each other over the years. Each new relationship is a precious jewel in our hearts. So many times we receive such rich blessings from the project that the little we are able to give seems quite secondary. That is the case here at The Cove.
We are very excited about the buzz surrounding Billy Graham’s new book – his 30th. The book, officially debuting on Oct. 18, is called Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well. It contains personal autobiographical reflections from Billy Graham on how he has come to view old age, including the realization that the time to prepare for one’s senior years is now.
That’s right. Skip Heitzig, pastor of 14,000-member Calvary of Albuquerque, was with us here at The Cove. And, we learned that when he’s not preaching, teaching, writing or ministering to thousands through his multimedia ministry, he enjoys playing his ukulele.
An old familiar song…
“Holy Holy Holy”
Something else you might not know about Skip. As a teenager, he got caught up in drugs and ventured into the occult. But God reached him one day in 1973 as he was watching a Billy Graham crusade on TV. The Gospel message penetrated his soul and he knelt and prayed to receive Christ. To God be the glory!
We just launched a brand-new, redesigned website. Check it out at www.thecove.org. We’ve organized the content to make it easier to find exactly what you are looking for – upcoming events, news and announcements, information about hosting a guest group event, and more.
In addition, in the “Resources” section, you can find a daily devotion from Billy Graham, plus the archive of past daily devotions. We hope you’ll consider reading those as you grow in your daily walk with the Lord.
Stop by and, as always, feel free to let us know what you think.
Our assistant director, Will Graham, who often travels the world preaching the Gospel, just completed an 18-day visit to the United Kingdom on Monday. His trip culminated with Rock Thurrock, an evangelistic event over the weekend just outside of London.
While it was held in a smaller venue, nearly 300 people came forward when invited to make a decision to follow Jesus. And, about 75 percent of those were between the ages of 10 and 18. Please join us in praying for these new believers!
In addition to his messages, Will brought greetings from his father, Franklin Graham, and grandfather, Billy Graham, who has a long history of ministry in the United Kingdom. Throughout his time in the country Will was warmly welcomed by many people who recalled seeing the elder Graham preach in one or more of his many UK events, beginning with his Greater London Crusade at Harringay Arena in 1954 and ending with Mission England in 1989.
Prior to the opening night of Rock Thurrock, Will spent two weeks touring the United Kingdom and speaking to several different groups from Cardiff to Exeter.
“I’ve spoken with Christians and church leaders across the country, and they’re all telling me the same thing,” Will said. “They all say that it feels like God is getting ready to do something big in the UK. They’ve seen things they haven’t seen in 30 years, such as the level of prayer and unity in the churches.”
Earlier in the week, a wide range of church leaders from the London area gathered to hear the news that Will’s father, Franklin Graham, would be part of a large-scale evangelistic outreach in the UK. It is anticipated that the event will take place in London in 2013.
To learn more about Will Graham and his ministry, join him on Facebook and Twitter! Please continue to pray for his ongoing ministry.
The blog of the Billy Graham Training Center at the Cove