Franklin Graham's 'Festival of Hope' Reaches 94,500 Colombians, Venezuelan Refugees with Love of Christ
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Colombian citizens and Venezuelan refugees gathered at a soccer stadium in Cúcuta, Colombia, at the border of Venezuela, to hear Franklin Graham share the message of salvation over two nights this Easter weekend.
More than 400 local churches in Cúcuta joined Graham in inviting refugees and local families. The first night, a crowd of 52,000 people filled the city's fútbol stadium.
Graham told CBN News on Monday that he believes God is using the physical needs of the refugees from Venezuela to open their hearts spiritually.
He said what happened at the services amazed him. "It was more than I ever expected," he said, "We had about 116,000 people come to 3 meetings. We had 7,000 or so make decisions for Jesus Christ. The hunger was incredible."
On Facebook Graham shared "We praise God for each one who made the most important decision of their lives—to repent of their sins and trust Jesus Christ as their Savior."
"It was Good Friday, and I shared the reason that Jesus came to earth. We are all sinners, and the price of sin is death," he added. "We all deserve to die, but He took our place. He went to the cross for us where He died, was buried, and rose again on the third day. The Bible says, 'But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us' ()."
The second night, a crowd of 42,500 filled the stadium.
"The stadium in Cúcuta was filled again tonight with an incredible crowd of 42,500!" he wrote. "Cúcuta, Colombia, sits right on the border with Venezuela, and people were there from both Colombia and Venezuela. We praise God for each one who came and for every heart that was changed for eternity by the power of the Gospel."
"The Bible says, 'that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved' (). That's what we celebrate this Easter! Jesus Christ didn't stay in the grave. He rose from the dead and He's alive today," he continued. "He sits at the right hand of the Father and He is willing to come into any heart that will repent of their sins and put their faith and trust in Him."
"I'm deeply grateful to the Festival of Hope committee here in Cúcuta, the churches and pastors, and all of the volunteers, who prayed and worked so hard to make this weekend possible. Join me in praying for all those who made decisions for Christ this weekend and for the churches who will be reaching out to them," he added.
The weekend also included a mission event for children to hear the gospel where over 20,000 refugees and local families came out.
Graham's charity, Samaritan's Purse, also held one of the largest US-based and faith-based humanitarian missions for Venezuelan refugees since the country started collapsing. Crews gave overnight shelter, food, hygiene kits, primary medical care and more to Venezuelan refugees in multiple locations.
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