Over 3,000 people made commitments to Christ during the Festival of Hope event led by Franklin Graham this past weekend in the Northern European country of Latvia.
Graham preached about the story of Zacchaeus from the book of Luke and the story of the rich young ruler in the book of Mark during the Nov. 5-7 event, in the capital city Riga. He told the daily crowd of about 12,000 – with 14,000 on Saturday – that everyone faces problems, but only God can solve the problem of sin.
“Only Jesus Christ can solve the problems of the human heart,” said Graham Sunday night, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
One attendee who committed her life to Christ during the festival shared that she was at a desperate point in her life when she came to the Festival of Hope. The young woman had lost custody of two of her three daughters, reported BGEA.
“Tonight I felt Christ come over my whole body and I feel so much peace,” said the woman, identified as Erena. “I know I still have problems to overcome, but now I have hope and God’s help.”
During a press conference in Latvia earlier last week, Graham said that every country is different but the human heart is the same. People, regardless of where they live, ask the questions, “Is there a God? If there is a God, does He know who I am? Am I important to Him with the world being such a big place and I’m just one person? Does God know my name?” Graham stated that God does know and loves every person on earth.
“Latvia is a beautiful country. You have a rich history. There have been wonderful things that have taken place in this country, wonderful people that have come from this country that have come to America,” said Graham on Thursday, the day before the Latvia festival.
“But there’s a sense of hopelessness with many Latvian people,” he noted. “Whatever expectations they have, for whatever reason, life hasn’t turned out as they thought it would. I want the people of Latvia to know that God knows their name and God loves each and every one and that Christ died for our sins.”
More than 500 churches in Latvia, across denominational lines, participated in preparing for the festival. Grammy-award winner Michael W. Smith participated in the worship sessions of the festival and wished Billy Graham, who turned 92 on Sunday, a happy birthday.
About 36 percent of the Latvia’s 2.2 million people is Christian. The Baltic nation was formerly a part of the Soviet Union.