An enthusiastic welcome was given to evangelist Franklin Graham by Ghana President John Evans Atta Mills on the first night of a two-night Billy Graham Evangelistic Association event held at a stadium in Accra.
Mills, along with Ghana's First Lady, made an appearance at the "Ghana Jesus Festival" last Saturday night, BGEA and the country's news services reported.
"We need the Word of God," said Mills, an outspoken Christian, who recently declared a nationwide week of thanksgiving and fasting. "It is my hope and prayer that the message [Franklin Graham] gives us will fall on fertile soil."
BGEA reported that the president's prayer was simply that "nobody leaves here the same."
GhanaWeb reported on Monday that the country's president is "mindful of God's role in ensuring a peaceful country," according to Director of Communications Koku Anyidoho.
"The president has always made it public and is preparedness to allow God be in control in an election and he continues to make sure that God plays a central role in whatever we are doing as a nation," Anyidoho said.
On Saturday, hundreds flooded the stage area during Graham's invitation to give their heart to the Lord Jesus Christ. "One thing was clear Saturday night – the Gospel certainly did not fall on dry or dusty ground," wrote Trevor Freeze for BGEA's post on the event.
"Jesus said I will never leave you or forsake you," said Graham, whose message on Saturday centered on the prodigal son and was heard by more than 10,000 Ghanaians. "Will you come tonight to your Heavenly Father?"
Prior to the weekend event, more than 16,000 people in Ghana completed "Christian Life and Witness" training classes from approximately 1,250 churches involved. About 5,500 people had signed up as counselors for the festival that was targeting approximately 4 million people in the greater Accra area that includes Kasoa to the west and Tema to the east, BGEA stated.
"Here in Ghana we have had many churches coming together, mobilizing, praying for months for their neighbors," said Graham, who is the president and CEO of BGEA. "We believe this will have a tremendous impact on the city."
On Sunday, several thousand decisions to follow Christ were made in a crowd of more than 16,000. Graham preached on the story of Zacchaeus from Luke 19, Freeze stated.
The Ghana Jesus Festival included performances by 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," Freeze wrote. "'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.'"
Graham is the son of renowned evangelist Billy Graham and father to Will Graham, who also preaches at BGEA outreach events. Franklin Graham will be giving the Gospel message at a BGEA event in Budapest, Hungary June 1-3.