Over 100,000 Hear Gospel During Festival de Esperanza

Despite unseasonably chilly and wet weather, crowds overflowed the city soccer stadium for Festival de Esperanza (Festival of Hope) led by Franklin Graham, November 11-13 in Temuco, Chile. The combined attendance of 105,900 represented about one-third of the population of Temuco, the fifth-largest city in Chile.

Graham, son of the renowned evangelist Billy Graham, visited Chile at the invitation of local pastors, leaders, and churches to spread the message of peace to a nation that has suffered through numerous wars, revolts, military coups, and political battles since the close of the 19th century.

More than 280 churches from multiple denominations participated in the Festival, and 5,000 volunteers worked for more than a year to prepare for the event.

From Thursday to Saturday, the crowds heard Graham preach messages of hope and forgiveness, along with lively Latin music by local and international artists including Marcos Vidal, Steve Green, Dennis Agajanian and the Gutierrez brothers, and the Tommy Coomes Band.

On the final night of the Festival, 34,000 people crowded into the 20,000-seat stadium to hear the Gospel presented in music and in word.

“Tonight could be the most important night of your life,” Graham told the crowd as he explained God’s plan of salvation. “It’s not about religion. It’s not about anything you’ve done. It’s about a new beginning, and you can have that here tonight.”

More than 3,000 persons responded to that invitation, including 2,214 who made first-time decisions to accept Jesus Christ as their savior.

Overall, 11,874 people came forward to make life-changing commitments to God during the three-day event.