The Palau Festival team has called their Buenos Aires event this past weekend "historic" as they raved about the unprecedented reception they received in the homeland of the organization's founder, evangelist Luis Palau.
More than 300,000 packed the streets of Buenos Aires, the capital of and largest city in Argentina, on Friday, said Craig Chastain, spokesman for the Luis Palau Association, to The Christian Post on Monday. The number grew to over 500,000 on Saturday – the second and final day of the festival.
Civic officials closed down nearly eight city blocks of Avenue 9 de Luilo, which is one of the largest city streets in the world (20 lanes), to accommodate the massive event. Chastain commented that Buenos Aires has "seldom, if ever seen anything like it," in reference to the closing of the country's major highway.
"Some may think we throw around the word 'historic' a little too often. Powerful … yes. Incredible … always. God honoring … of course. But historic? That's a word that should be used carefully," wrote Jay Fordice, Palau's personal assistant, in an e-mail update. "It's a word that should be saved for campaigns such as this."
Fordice boasted of massive media coverage of the event, including front page coverage in the top three most read newspapers; a cover story in "7 Dias" magazine – the equivalent of Newsweek in Argentina; TV news coverage of the festival throughout the day; and more than 40,000 individuals viewing the festival through the Internet.
During his address, Palau spoke about the resilience of the Argentine people group and challenged them to be optimistic about the future of their country, which is Palau's birthplace.
The popular evangelist also challenged young people to be more careful in guarding their sexual purity as they confront an increasingly secular society that promotes sexual promiscuity in ads and other forms of media, according to Chastain.
Other noteworthy festival successes included "God filled" unity and cooperation between churches and denominations, tremendous openness and excitement in society, and "incredible" crowds.
Earlier last week, Palau held several meetings including a dinner for businessmen with 1,150 in attendance. There were more than 180 recorded decisions for Christ at the meeting. He also held a conference with more than 1,500 pastors and Christian businessmen and later met with more than 50 of Argentina's top union leaders.
"[B]ecause of Luis' unique role in Argentina, he was able to bring these two groups (union and church leaders) together, share the love of Christ, break down barriers and stereotypes, and make a powerful statement for the love, unity, and power of the Gospel," Fordice reported. "By the end of the evening, a majority of them indicated decisions for Christ!"
The next Palau Festival will be held in Kingston, Jamaica on May 3-4.