Bogotá Blog: Festival Concludes with Huge Harvest
The event has ended but the stories continue
August 28, 2009 - "I watched as the people came forward to change and surrender their lives to Jesus Christ," said Franklin Graham as the Festival de Esperanza in Colombia ended."
by Janet Chismar
"I couldn't help but think about what these people have gone through in their country's recent history," he added. "Even this week, the horrific traffic and the rain couldn't stop an eternal impact on these people and this city."
Crowds totaling 157,000 gathered over three days, Aug. 27-29, in Parque Simon Bolivar in Colombia's capital city for the Festival of Hope. Learn more »
On August 29, more than 1,700 accepted Christ, joining thousands of others from Thursday and Friday. View photos from Saturday night and read a report.
Meanwhile, Festiñinos broke records on Saturday morning. Parque Simón Bolívar was FULL! More than 80,000 attended and approximately 7,200 kids gave their lives to Christ. There were thousands in overflow for the largest kid's event in the history of Franklin Graham Festivals. View photos from Festiñinos »
See All the Videos from this Festival:
August 28 — Franklin Graham preached the Gospel to more than 25,000 people on Friday. Read a report »
In the morning, Franklin Graham and a team from Operation Christmas Child spent the morning distributing shoebox gifts to 120 children from a nearby community. There was a Gospel Presentation of both music and a Christ-centered drama at the Iglesia de Restauracion. As OCC Shoebox Gifts were distributed, Franklin talked about the Greatest Gift of All and gave an invitation to the BGEA Children’s Festival.
Since the OCC project’s start in Colombia in 1998, the team has distributed over 422,991 shoeboxes. In spring of 2009, 90,000 shoebox gifts were distributed; 70,000 on July 4th in a massive blitz of the Bogotá area in order to promote the Festival.
More than 5,000 children were involved in at least the first lesson of the OCC Discipleship Program and approximately 4,000 kids are expected to graduate from the OCC Discipleship Program this year.
More than a thousand came to Christ Thursday on the first night of the Festival »
August 27 — During a press conference this morning, Franklin Graham drove home the absolute necessity of a relationship with Christ in changing lives, as media from across Colombia raised questions about their nation's issues.
"I am here as a servant to work with the churches in Colombia," said Franklin. "This is not my message. It is God's message for your country. We are not here supporting any particular church or denomination. We are here for all of Colombia, regardless of a person's religious background."
We see evidence of sin all around us, Franklin said. But God can forgive us and heal our hearts. "The human race needs a heart transplant. This Festival will give people the opportunity for new hearts and a new beginning."
As one reporter asked how faith can solve Colombia's problems, Franklin explained that society's problems can only be solved as each heart is changed.
"We also have a drug problem in America," he said. "I know drug users who got off drugs when they met Jesus. I have met murderers whose hearts have been changed when they met Jesus. Each of us needs a new heart. No one can solve problems without God's help.
"People want to know if there is hope," said Franklin. "Absolutely."
Answering other questions, Franklin mentioned that "everywhere I go around the world, people want to know how to have a relationship with God." He also said that he wants "all young people to know the freedom that only Jesus can provide."
August 26 —What a full and exciting day for the team here! Franklin Graham met with the President of Colombia this afternoon at the Palacio de Nariño.
The palace, which serves as the President's office and residence, was built at the beginning of the century and restored in 1979. It has a spectacular interior with a fine collection of contemporary Colombian paintings.
This evening, more than 12,000 people came out to Simon Bolivar Park for a pre-Festival dedication service. Even though this was not a public evangelistic event, more than 200 people made commitments to Christ.
This morning, we caught up with Willington Ortiz, a local pastor who helped the web team by recording a welcome message for the Festival de Esperanza Facebook page. You may not understand Spanish, but you can't help smiling at Willington's contagious energy and enthusiasm! Check it out:
August 25 — Most of the BGEA team has arrived in Bogotá, Colombia, to begin final preparations for the Festival de Esperanza.
The country's capital, Bogotá has an elevation of about 8,660 feet. It sits on a mountain-rimmed plateau high in the Cordillera Oriental of the Andes Mountains. This gives it constant spring-like (or fall-like in my opinion) weather. It lies only 4°36' north of the equator.
The city was founded on Aug. 6, 1538 by the Spanish. Sometimes called the Athens of South America, Bogotá is now Colombia's largest financial, political and cultural center. The National University of Colombia and many other universities located there make Bogotá the nation's chief educational center.
A picturesque city, Bogota is known for its colonial architecture, its collection of pre-Colombian gold art, and its bookshops and splendid colonial churches. It is also a city of museums, skyscrapers and snarled traffic! With a population of approximately 8 million people, that's not too surprising.
View photos of the city here »
After just one day of meeting with some of the local people, our team feels welcomed and excited to take part in this historic event.
Be sure to stop back for other random ramblings and team updates! And please pray for this Festival. The local team would appreciate special prayers for financial support.