Graham Packs in Overflow Crowds for Korean Evangelistic Fest

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By Lillian Kwon, Christian Post Reporter
October 22, 2007|11:28 am

The prayer movement in Korea is unlike prayers that Americans are used to. It's something Chad Hammond has never seen before and it's what led up to hundreds of thousands of people to hear the gospel message at the Busan Franklin Graham Festival.

"They pray at a level Americans would not believe," said festival director Hammod, who witnessed more than 325,000 Koreans fill Busan Asiad Stadium during the Oct. 18-21 evangelistic event.

Two years in the making, the latest Franklin Graham Festival took place in Korea’s second largest city, Busan, where Christians make up less than 10 percent of its population. Throughout the weeks ahead of the much anticipated event, more than 1,000 people gathered at sunrise every day praying that God would bring revival to the Korean peninsula like He did a century ago and even a few decades ago when Franklin's father, world renowned evangelist Billy Graham, held his largest evangelistic crusade ever.

"Do it again, Lord. Do it again," the Koreans would pray each morning.

The first night of the Franklin Graham Festival drew some 60,000 people to a stadium that had previously held audiences for the 2002 Asian Games and soccer matches for the World Cup. It has a capacity of 56,000 persons but the four stories of stadium decks were filled to overflow throughout the past weekend.

The final night saw more than double the initial crowd with more than 158,000 people packed in the stadium on Sunday.

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Preaching in the East, Graham still proclaimed the same gospel message of sin and salvation to bring thousands to Jesus Christ.

"What are the obstacles preventing you from coming to Christ?" Graham asked. "Sin is that barrier. All of us have sinned. I am a sinner. You ask, 'What do you mean by sin? This is Korea. In America it may be different. We are an Asian country, things are not the same.' But sin is sin, regardless of what country, regardless of what race or the color of our skin. Sin is the disobedience of God's standards."

Offering the forgiveness of God, Graham invited the massive crowd to accept Jesus Christ.

Thousands responded each night, streaming forward from the stands to bow their heads in prayer and to commit their lives to Christ.

Festival organizers have emphasized that this is not a one-time large-scale festival but an evangelistic gathering that has had a lot of united prayer going into it. And it wasn't just a moment in which a renowned speaker was invited to draw large crowds, but a movement to unite and strengthen churches across Busan and to grow new believers in faith. They say the success of the festival relies on the counselors who were trained to guide new believers and follow-ups in the local churches.

Graham returns to the United States next month for the Pacific Northwest Franklin Graham Festival in Tacoma, Wash.

 

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