The Morung Express

Billy Graham’s Kohima Crusade 1972

Rev.L.Suohie Mhasi

Billy Graham Evangelistic Association made a commitment to hold a crusade at Kohima and a preliminary Crusade was conducted by one of his Associate Evangelists Abdul Haqque in 1968.


When Aos were going to have their centenary celebration at Impur, Billy Graham was invited to be a speaker to which he had responded and was scheduled to go to Impur. But for participation in the centennial, a quota of 25 persons only was given for Angamis. So ABCC had written a letter to Billy Graham Evangelistic Association requesting them to come to Kohima after the Jubilee was over. Surprisingly, the team wrote to us saying that Billy Graham made his decision to come to Kohima cancelling his program at Impur.


So believers at Kohima irrespective of denominations had formed a committee to host the Crusade. Hearing about the news, Rev. Robert Cunville, the Secretary of North East Christian Council came to Kohima and requested that the Crusade be held in the name of North East Christian Council and his request was accepted. But physical arrangement and the whole burden was shouldered by the believers at Kohima.


The process of holding the Crusade passed through lot of hurdles. The forces of the Naga National Movement took it as an advantage to popularise their stand before the world by creating the situation when a man of world figure was about to visit Nagaland. So for Inner line Permit when we three persons: Rev. Cunville, Kenneth and myself met with the Defence Minister at Delhi, he said that the Nagas were in a very comfortable position but the Govt. is in a very difficult position because in case Billy Graham is not allowed to go to Nagaland, Nagas will jump on us. If he is allowed to go at the risk of his security, U.S. Govt will blame us.


On the day the Crusade was started, Rev. Longri, Rev. Cunville had to go down to Calcutta to have meeting with the Team Members when Billy Graham was still at Bangkok. Our mind was so obsessed with burden that we did not behave as servants of God. One of them asked me.” Are you really an evangelist? “ Rev. Longri prayed,” O Lord, your sheep at Kohima are starving but your servants are afraid to go to Kohima”. I refused to have dinner with them saying that when thousands of people are starving at Kohima, I will not be having dinner with them.”


Rev. L. Bizo said that Billy Graham again made his decision to go to Nagaland after C.C. Jones and Bizo had talked to him at Bangkok. They arrived at Calcutta but we faced a hard problem. In the previous morning, Dr. Abdul Haqque and his Secretary went to Agra for sightseeing taking all relevant documents such as Innerline Permits and Tickets of Chartered Plane. That day being Sunday, all offices were closed and with great difficulties we could manage to restore the documents and the next day we could proceed to Kohima.


Arriving at Kohima, crowed stood in line on Road side from the old gate below the Paramedical colony up to the Southern end of officers Hill waving hands with smiling faces and shouting.


5000 people signed decision cards in response to the alter call. Dr. Billy Graham was a real man of God and was really a wise man. We praise God for a man like Billy Graham.