Beliefnet
RALEIGH, N.C., July 21 (RNS)--Slowed by a recent medical procedure, the Rev. Billy Graham will not be able to attend his last scheduled internationalconference in Amsterdam that begins Saturday, July 29.

Graham, who has been receiving ongoing physical therapy at the MayoClinic in Rochester, Minn., apparently does not feel well enough totravel across the Atlantic.

Doctors at Mayo recently treated the 81-year-old evangelist for acondition known as normal pressure hydrocephalus in which too much fluidcollects in the brain. He also suffers from Parkinson's disease.

"Daddy's doing better now than he's done in years, not months," saidhis son, Franklin Graham. "But he's had very low stamina. He's concernedthat taking this trip could weaken him more."

The 10-day conference--one of the most ambitious and costly everundertaken by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association--has been inthe planning for five years. About 10,000 young evangelists from allover the world are converging on Amsterdam to learn from Graham, who isconsidered the foremost Protestant spokesman of his time. Graham was to open and close the conference and meet with reporters.

Plans are to allow Graham to give a live greeting via satellite fromRochester. His son, Franklin, who also is an evangelist, will probablyfill in his other duties.

Billy Graham said in a statement that he remains hopeful aboutfuture ministry.

"I am disappointed at this turn of events, but I have great peacethat this is God's plan for me and for the Amsterdam 2000 Conference,"the elder evangelist said. "I have experienced several deep spiritualmoments during my hospitalization and feel that God has given me newvision and new strength for extended ministry in the future."

Graham received a shunt three weeks ago to help drain excess fluidfrom his brain. He is receiving daily physical therapy at Mayo on anoutpatient basis and does not want to hamper the progress he has made.

"I think we just ran out of time, is what happened," said MarkDeMoss, a Graham spokesman for Amsterdam 2000. "If he gained strength in thenext week he could still come over."

After preaching a crusade in Nashville in June, an exhausted Grahamwas admitted to the Mayo Clinic.

The Amsterdam conference, which ends Aug. 6, is billed as a "schoolof evangelism" in which speakers from all over the world--includingthe Most Rev. George Carey, the archbishop of Canterbury, and Billy Kim,the pastor of Korea's largest church--will address aspiringevangelists with little or no professional training.

More than 70 percent of those attending are from poor, developingnations.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association searched the world to findthem and is paying many a stipend of up to $3,500 to attend.

"He's still going to be with them," said Franklin Graham, referringto the satellite interaction. "It's not quite the same as having him inperson but there are other tremendous speakers that are going to bepresent."

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