"Good News" in Any Language
Language Barrier Doesn't Stop Decisions for Christ
April 29, 2012 - Thousands come to Christ at Ghana Jesus Festival and one counselor's knowledge of six languages helped her lead women to the Lord in multiple dialects.
"For God so loved Ghana. For God so loved Africa."
— Franklin Graham at Ghana Jesus Festival
By Trevor Freeze
Her English is impeccable.
But Afi, a modest 30-year-old Accra, Ghana, native will politely tell you, please don't ask about her other languages.
Twi. Ga. Fante. Ewe. French.
Like many of her peers who grew up in this part of Ghana, Afi can speak six different languages. Some say you can find 79 different dialects in this African nation, although good luck keeping track.
"You meet people all the time who speak different languages," she said.
Fluent, however, is a different story.
So during Sunday night's invitation at the Ghana Jesus Festival, when Gifty, 49, came up and started speaking to her in Twi, a small rush of anxiety developed in the back of her throat.
"I told her my Twi isn't that good," Afi said, "but she said, 'that's OK.' "
So, a deep breath and hard swallow later, Afi was dusting off her Twi to tell Gifty about the saving grace of Jesus Christ, and the sacrifice He made for her on the cross.
Choppy but effective, Afi's Twi was sailing along.
"When I got to 'Lamb of God,' that was hard," she said. "But I was able to explain that Jesus died in her place."
Gifty heard Afi loud and clear, praying to rededicate her life on Sunday night.
It was one of several thousand decisions made on Sunday night as a crowd of more than 16,000 gathered to hear Franklin Graham preach on the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19.
And for Afi, it was the second straight night she had to think on her feet. On Saturday, a woman came up speaking Ga and Afi's first instinct was to not communicate at all. But then she felt the Spirit tell her to just try and leave the rest up to Him.
"I can have a chat in Ga," is how Afi best described her command of the language native to Accra.
It was more than just a chat as Afi led Felicia, 60, in a prayer to accept Christ, giving Afi a boost in both her language and evangelism acumen.
"That gave me the confidence to speak to someone today in Twi," she said, "which I give thanks to the to the Lord for."
More than 26,000 heard the Gospel over the two-day Ghana Jesus Festival, which was highlighted by enchanting local African musicians, the Tommy Coomes Band and Dennis Agajanian, who played off the 1,000-member Mass Choir with "Nothing but the Blood" and "Ain't no Grave."
It all set the stage for Gospel-centered messages by Franklin Graham.
"For God so loved the world," he preached Sunday, pausing for just a second to contextualize John 3:16. "For God so loved Ghana. For God so loved Africa."
After Sunday night, thousands more can now testify of their decisions made at the Ghana Jesus Festival.
Or made at the "Ghana Yesus Afahye" — if you're speaking Twi.
A 'Bright' Decision
Bright, 17, was no stranger to church.
But a relationship with Jesus? And this thing they call Salvation?
These were foreign concepts to the teenager.
"He attended church regularly, but he didn't know what it meant to receive Christ as his Savior," said Benjamin, 29, Bright's counselor. "He didn't know it was something he needed to do."
Benjamin quickly set Bright straight, explaining to him what it means to believe in Jesus.
You could say Bright's light bulb went on.
"This is the first time he received Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior," Benjamin was excited to report. "I will follow up with him."
And Benjamin means business. Well, sort of.
"I'm going to ask him questions about the book I gave him on John," Benjamin said, "and make sure he understands it — at least a little bit."
Getting Goose Bumps
When someone makes a personal decision to accept Christ, often times you can tell just by looking at their eyes
For Laura, a 38-year-old Accra resident, all you had to do was look at her arm.
"See the goose bumps," Laura's counselor, Sussie, pointed out.
Sure enough, both arms still filled with excitement several minutes after Laura, wearing a green dress with African flair, had prayed for salvation.
"I feel that joy within me," Laura said. "It's just this feeling that 'I'm OK now.' "
Laura thought she was a Christian before Sunday.
Then she heard Franklin Graham explain what that really means.
"I didn't take it serious before tonight," she said. "I know now that my sins are forgiven."
And Sussie's going to make sure of that.
"Every day," she said, before saying goodbye to Laura. "Every day, make sure you read your Bible, just like I told you."
Don't judge Simon by his blue flip flops.
He's really a die-hard soccer player as his bright yellow Fernando Torres' Chelsea soccer jersey can attest. And while Torres was busy scoring a hat trick in a Premier League match in London on Sunday, Simon had a pretty significant day.
Sure, he came late to the Ghana Jesus Festival party on Sunday, but he was there in plenty of time to hear Franklin Graham's invitation.
"My friend brought me," said Simon, on why he was late.
But as Simon found out Sunday, God works on his own clock.
"I came forward to receive Salvation," said Simon, adding "I feel a new atmosphere."
Walking away, beaming with a smile, Simon still hadn't addressed this flip flop issue.
"I can play soccer in them," he insisted.
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