Ghana Festival: 'The Tip of the Iceberg'
Thousands Give Lives to Christ, but Impact Only Begun
May 6, 2012 - Sure the President came and the national newspaper wrote up the event, but the two-day Ghana Jesus Festival's biggest impact will be the follow-up with the thousands of Ghanaians who made decisions to receive Christ.
"It's very, very, very important. It's our responsibility as Christians to go forth and bear fruit — and fruit that will last."
— Ben Sachie, Follow-Up Coordinator
By Trevor Freeze
The women behind the Ghana hotel desk was so convicted, yet filled with joy, she had to tell someone.
That anyone turned out to be Bill Kennedy, the Ghana Jesus Festival director, who had invited her to hear Franklin Graham preach on Saturday night about the Prodigal Son at Accra Sports Stadium.
This message hit squarely home.
"Now, I know I have been a Prodigal Daughter," the hotel employee said. "And now I know the father is waiting for me with open arms."
The widespread effect of the Gospel may never be completely known, but stories like this are popping up all over Accra.
Over a two-day period more than 26,000 Ghanaians heard the Gospel preached and several thousand accepted Christ as their Savior, nearly 1 out of every 10 in attendance.
And during the months leading up to the event, nearly 2,000 more decisions for Christ were made through the Christian Life and Witness training courses.
"This is just the tip of the iceberg," Kennedy said.
Among those now convinced of the deep impact the Ghana Jesus Festival has had on this country is Wolanyo Agra, General Director of the Ghana National Sports Committee.
In recent months and years, many outreach events have flooded Ghana. In fact, just outside the stadium, from one single spot you could see billboards for the Ghana Jesus Festival, and two other ones that sprung up in March.
But Agra, a committed Christian, had never seen God work like he did this weekend, as many members of his staff, who had heard evangelist after evangelist and never responded, finally went forward at Frankin Graham's invitation.
"I know these people," Agra told Kennedy. "These are my staff. I saw them. I saw the tears in their eyes."
"(Agra) has declared specifically that the yoke of evangelism has been broken because of Franklin Graham's preaching," Kennedy said. "Preaching the simple truth of the Gospel and demanding a response."
Another significant development of the Jesus Festival is the number of men (56 percent) who made decisions compared to women (44 percent).
"Other people are talking about the number of youth that came forward," Kennedy said as 27 percent of the responders were 18 and under. "I believe that God has started a movement that He will carry through.
"Now we have to work hard on the follow-up."
And that's where Ben Sachie, both the Follow-Up and Christian Life and Witness Coordinator, gets fired up.
"It's very, very, very important," Sachie said. "It's our responsibility as Christians to go forth and bear fruit — and fruit that will last."
Sachie's first words when talking about the Festival — "I give Glory to God" — speaks of his servant's attitude. Sachie also recognizes the role Franklin Graham's preaching played in the harvest.
"It was direct, very specific and that is the truth of the Gospel," Sachie said. "I think the power in the Gospel is what truly touched so many lives."
One of the most memorable moments of the Festival was Ghana President John Evans Atta Mills, and the First Lady, taking the stage with Franklin Graham on the opening night of the Festival. The President gave the crowd both a challenge and encouragement to follow Christ.
Ghana's national newspaper, The Daily Graphic, reported on the President's appearance in a story headlined "President seeks God's blessing for Ghana."
"For the president to come in personally with his wife was significant," Sachie said. "In Africa, we really honor our leaders. We respect them and hold them in high esteem.
"His position as a Christian is very significant. It speaks well about Ghana, that leader of the nation holds on to the tenants of the faith."
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