Skip to main content

Record Response to the Gospel Along US Southern Border: 'A Harvest of Souls'

Share This article

EAGLE PASS, Texas – Along the U.S. southern border, large numbers of people are responding to the Gospel. It's part of a 10-city evangelistic tour by Franklin Graham that's ministering to those hard-hit by the border crisis.

In an interview aboard his tour bus in Eagle Pass, Graham told CBN News that last year he felt the Lord prompting him to preach in the many border communities that are struggling.

"This is kind of a forgotten part of the United States," he said. "You have cartel people who take advantage and smugglers that take advantage and you've got just good people that live here that get caught in the middle of all of this stuff and they have to deal with it."

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) is reporting a record number of responses to the Gospel invitation so far on the tour, surpassing any response the organization has seen in a U.S. outreach. 

***Please sign up for CBN Newsletters and download the CBN News app to ensure you keep receiving the latest news from a distinctly Christian perspective.***

Graham's "God Loves You Frontera Tour" began Feb. 24 in Brownsville, Texas, and concludes March 9 in Chula Vista, California. It includes stops in McAllen, Texas; Laredo, Texas; Eagle Pass, Texas; Del Rio, Texas; Presidio, Texas; El Paso, Texas and Tucson, Arizona.

"We've had a higher response to the Gospel invitation here than anywhere else I've preached in the United States," said Graham. "People are hungry and they're hurting. They're hungry for truth."

After 7 stops, the BGEA reported more than 33,000 people have come out to hear the Good News and more than 4,000 have made decisions for Christ.

Each stop centers on preaching by Graham with translation in Spanish alongside bilingual worship featuring musician Marcos Witt and former Hillsong singer Taya.

In Eagle Pass, the crowd began gathering hours ahead of the event and thousands packed the Maverick County Amphitheater despite evening temperatures dipping down into the 50s.

"It's a breath of fresh air with all the kind of negative news towards Eagle Pass," said Gus Castaneda.

High school senior Anahi Martinez said she had high hopes for the evening. "I want them to come to know that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior but I also wanted to bring revival to the church," she said.

High numbers of migrants crossing into the U.S. in and around Eagle Pass have taken a toll on the community in the last year. The Eagle Pass Fire Department has recovered a record number of bodies in the Rio Grande river. The state of Texas is building a base in the surrounding Del Rio sector to house 1,800 troops, and pastors are aware of the stress on those they minister to. 

"Our law enforcement officials are seeing things that they've never seen before," said Pastor Brian Sisneros at Access Church. "It affects them psychologically, it affects them emotionally."

Churches in Eagle Pass as well as other locations along the tour have prepared for months with discipleship classes and evangelism training. 

"I'm praying that there's a lot of people that are saved," said Pastor Abner Chavez Gallegos at New Journey Church. 

Gallegos, who also pastors a small church across the border in Mexico, said the pandemic has affected ministry and that many people have pulled back on church involvement and gone into what he described as spiritual hibernation. "My expectation honestly is that people wake up," he said.  

Pastor Don Crabtree at Tree of Life Church said he's encouraged by the work that churches had done to prepare for Graham coming to town. "Churches are definitely coming together and unity is what it's all about," he said. "That's what's going to bring revival." 

Sisneros said he's preparing for a spiritual awakening in Eagle Pass. "The ministry carries a gathering, anointing and we're believing for a harvest of souls," he said.

Graham told CBN News he's concerned about the many needs that border churches face along with limited resources. He called on larger churches in metro areas to step up and help. "I would hope some of these pastors would be able to come to the border and set up a sister church down here on the border and let it be a missionary church," he said. "There's a huge need."

He also said he hopes that more border churches will be able to minister to migrants directly. Often, federal agents process and ship them out so quickly that local ministries aren't able to connect with them.

"It's my prayer that the churches will be able to meet some of these people who are transiting through and maybe have an impact on some," he said.

Editor's Note: CBN News initially reported that the Gospel response rate to the border tour is the highest of any of Franklin Graham’s U.S. tours since 2019. The BGEA reports that the response rate is even higher than its 2019 Northeast tour.


Share This article

About The Author


Heather Sells covers wide-ranging stories for CBN News that include religious liberty, ministry trends, immigration, and education. She’s known for telling personal stories that capture the issues of the day, from the border sheriff who rescues migrants in the desert to the parents struggling with a child that identifies as transgender. In the last year, she has reported on immigration at the Texas border, from Washington, D.C., in advance of the Dobbs abortion case, at crisis pregnancy centers in Massachusetts, and on sexual abuse reform at the annual Southern Baptist meeting in Anaheim