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Franklin Graham's Noi Festival in Milan Breaks Attendance Record, Hundreds Respond to Gospel

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More than 520 evangelical churches came together to plan and pray for the Noi Festival with Franklin Graham in Milan, Italy over the weekend, resulting in a historic turnout of people hungry to hear the gospel of Jesus Christ.   

According to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), this marked the first time in Italy's history that hundreds of Italian churches worked together to share the gospel. The churches' efforts resulted in a standing-room-only crowd of more than 13,200 people at the Mediolanum Forum Saturday night.

An interpreter left, and Franklin Graham, right, during Graham's message to the festival's audience. (Photo by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

The forum's officials said the celebration was the largest gathering they had ever hosted at the facility. 

"There are many people here with hungry hearts, many who have been searching for peace in their lives," Graham, president, and CEO of the BGEA, told the audience. "I'm here to tell you that God loves you, and you can find that purpose for your life by putting your faith and trust in God's Son Jesus Christ. He came from heaven to this earth to save us from our sins."

Graham gave a gospel invitation and hundreds of people made decisions to follow Jesus Christ.

In addition to serving as the president of BGEA, Graham also leads Samaritan's Purse, an international Christian relief and evangelism organization. It was the organization's humanitarian response to northern Italy in March 2020 that opened the doors for the Noi Festival to take place.

Two and a half years ago, when Italy's Lombardy region was the country's epicenter of the COVID-19 pandemic, Graham deployed a 68-bed Emergency Field Hospital and Disaster Assistance Response Team to Cremona, a city near Milan. Samaritan's Purse was the first international organization to provide emergency medical relief in Italy during the deadly COVID-19 outbreak. 

Under Graham's leadership, a team of doctors and nurses from five countries worked alongside Cremona Hospital's medical professionals for two months in the field hospital where they cared for more than 280 COVID-19 patients. That compassionate care is what led evangelical churches to invite Graham and the BGEA to share the gospel in Milan.

And according to the region's leader, it may also result in other partnership opportunities with the ministry. 

Members of the audience worshipping during the Noi Festival held at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan, Italy, Saturday night. (Photo by Billy Graham Evangelistic Association)

At a private reception before the festival began on Saturday, Attilio Fontana, president of the Lombardy region, said, "I wanted to come and greet the president of Samaritan's Purse. During the most difficult time of the pandemic, they brought a lot of help to the Lombardy region and the city of Cremona. It was a fundamental help that the people of Cremona appreciated so much, and it made us feel close to so many friends who understood the situation. I think it is right to collaborate with them, and even today we talked about possible future collaborations." 

As CBN News reported in March 2020, Graham's North Carolina-based international aid ministry rushed to help Italy in its fight against COVID-19. 

"This is the work God has called us to and we want to share the love of Christ and the truth that 'God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.' British missionary C.T. Studd made the statement, 'Some want to live within the sound of church or chapel bell; I want to run a rescue shop within a yard of hell,'" Graham wrote on Facebook at the time. 

Based in Boone, North Carolina, Samaritan's Purse is a nondenominational evangelical Christian organization providing spiritual and physical aid to hurting people around the world. Since 1970, the organization has helped meet the needs of people who are victims of war, poverty, natural disasters, disease, and famine with the purpose of sharing God's love through His Son, Jesus Christ.

It works in more than 100 countries to provide aid to victims of war, disease, disaster, poverty, famine, and persecution. 

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About The Author

Steve Warren is a senior multimedia producer for CBN News. Warren has worked in the news departments of television stations and cable networks across the country. In addition, he also worked as a producer-director in television production and on-air promotion. A Civil War historian, he authored the book The Second Battle of Cabin Creek: Brilliant Victory. It was the companion book to the television documentary titled Last Raid at Cabin Creek currently streaming on Amazon Prime. He holds an M.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and a B.A. in Communication from the University of