In the largest-ever gathering of its kind, about 10,000 evangelists from 190 countries have gathered in Amsterdam for encouragement, networking, and training. But the man behind it all - and the evangelist most of the conferees were hoping to hear from - is nowhere to be found.Organizers announced July 20 that Billy Graham was too ill to attend the conference personally, but that he would deliver his remarks via satellite. But even that plan was scrapped at the last minute, and Graham's son, Franklin, delivered an abbreviated message from the 81-year-old evangelist."I deeply regret the circumstances that have kept me from being with you in person," Graham's remarks said. "Although I am deeply disappointed, I have accepted this as the plan and will of God. Be assured, however, that I will be with you in spirit and prayer throughout the conference."Graham, who is continuing outpatient treatment at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, actually is involved through more than spirit and prayer. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association has set up a satellite feed of the conference exclusively for Graham's use. Graham "has been enjoying every minute of the opening session of Amsterdam 2000," says A. Larry Ross, Graham's spokesman. But "after a sleepless night, he felt he didn't have the strength or energy to deliver his remarks well." While Ross suggested that Graham, who suffers from Parkinson's disease and normal pressure hydrocephalus, was likely to deliver a closing message on Sunday, August 6, Mark DeMoss, Amsterdam 2000 Director of Media and Communications, is doubtful."From a conference perspective, it's not likely he'll address the conference," DeMoss told reporters Sunday afternoon. "But of course if he wants to address ...1
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