Henny Ohlmann has no trouble remembering the first time she went on a date with Ray, her future husband.
The year was 1968 and they were in their late teens. There just happened to be a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) outreach event in Edmonton, just north of the community of Leduc, where both of them lived.
“We were both so shy and barely knew each other, so Ray suggested the Crusade,” recalled Henny, now 67.
Both came from Christian families and made their own decisions to follow Jesus Christ, “the founder and perfecter of our faith” (Hebrews 12:2, ESV). The Holy Spirit touched their hearts at the Crusade, and after they were married and became established with their farming operation, they began financially supporting what God was doing through BGEA of Canada.
“We both appreciate Billy Graham’s ministry,” said Henny, who was interviewed while attending BGEA of Canada’s 2017 Canadian Evangelism Congress in Edmonton.
“The ministry is based on a simple, Biblical message that Billy, Franklin, and Will have never changed. We loved seeing the results of that in our country.”
By the mid-1990s, Henny and Ray had become regular, monthly financial partners. That continued even after Ray died in 2009, at age 59, from the side-effects of leukemia.
“We shared a passion, so it was important to carry it on,” Henny explained, adding that BGEA of Canada was one of the charities named to receive donations in lieu of flowers at Ray’s funeral.
“The best thing I could do is to keep on supporting organizations that Ray believed in.”
Henny continues to follow and support BGEA’s Franklin Graham Festivals, Will Graham Celebrations, and outreach events held around the world by BGEA associate evangelists. The key, for her, is the focus on following up with new believers to ensure they’re being discipled in Bible-believing churches.
“When you see the follow-up, you realize it’s so important because those new believers will be the hands and feet of Jesus for someone else,” she said.
“You can use anything for good or bad, and I like how BGEA uses the technology God has given us for a good purpose,” she said, adding the ministry’s online discipleship follow-up is another reason to support it.
When she’s asked why BGEA of Canada is among the organizations she supports, Henny says “they know how to do ministry in an efficient way with a clear message that can be understood by everyone. And they’re financially accountable.”