European youth outreach JesusHouse draws record crowds

GERMANY - The European youth outreach, JesusHouse, is off to a record-breaking start. During the first two days 135,000 youths watched the evangelistic programs transmitted via TV satellite from Berlin to 700 venues in eight countries. Programs feature modern Christian music, drama and evangelistic messages.

JesusHouse, part of the evangelistic project ProChrist, coincides with the German premiere of Mel Gibson’s movie “The Passion of the Christ”. However, attendance figures this year are expected to break previous records.

JesusHouse-spokesman Pit Prawitt told reporters that about 30 percent of the participants have no affiliation with a local church, and that the average age is 17. During the first two nights, more than 2,700 came forward to express their wish for a new life in Jesus Christ. Counselors stood by in all locations to help seekers and pray with them.

In the year 2000 more than 220,000 young people took part in JesusHouse transmitted from the world exhibition Expo in Hanover to 510 locations. In 1998 JesusHouse in Nuremberg counted 120,000 visitors in 430 venues.

This year the central venue is the so-called “Palace of Tears” in Berlin, a former border crossing point between East and West, where many farewell tears were shed. Bible messages are delivered by evangelist Christina Riecke and actor Thorsten Hebel.

The outreach will last until March 20.