Festival of Hope at Columbia-Venezuela Border

CÚCUTA, COLOMBIA – Evangelist Franklin Graham and a team from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) held a two-day Festival of Hope over the Easter weekend in Cúcuta, Columbia.

Evangelist Franklin Graham and a team from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association held a two-day Festival of Hope over the Easter weekend in Cúcuta, Columbia.
Franklin Graham

Cúcuta is the sixth largest city in Columbia with a population of 750,000. Located in the eastern Andes Mountains, Cúcuta lies along the eastern border of Columbia on the major route connecting it to the Venezuelan city of San Cristóbal. The city is a major center of commerce because of its proximity to Venezuela, one of its most significant trading partners.

It has also become a city of hope for refugees fleeing the effects of the economic collapse of Venezuela. Impoverished and starving Venezuelan families are eager to get across the border into Columbia. Many arrive in poor health, nothing to eat, and no place for shelter. All they have left is hope. Many have very little of that.

With the support of more than 400 local churches, the Festival of Hope expected to attract about 35,000 people to hear Franklin Graham share the Gospel message of salvation through Jesus Christ. Much to everyone’s surprise and delight, a crowd of 52,000 overflowed the stadium.

The following evening, the crowd exceeded expectations with a total of 42,500 in attendance. A separate event, especially for children, attracted more than 20,000 families consisting of both Venezuelan refugees and local Columbian families.

More than a dozen students and staff from Liberty University’s Worship Collective led the musical worship portion of the two nights. All the music was performed and led in Spanish. Daniel James, the director of the collective, said that the group was excited to “go and bring the news of the Gospel . . . It’s a chance to be the hands and feet of Jesus.”

In coordination with the event, Samaritan’s Purse “held one of the largest U.S.-based and faith-based humanitarian missions for Venezuelan refugees since [that] country started collapsing.”

The BGEA has not announced the total number of commitments made for Christ as yet, but Mr. Graham said, “We praise God for each one who came and for every heart that was changed for eternity by the Gospel.”


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