Fifty-three years after his grandfather, Billy Graham, preached the Gospel in the Kenyan city of Kisumu, Will Graham spoke at the Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground where hundreds of people accepted his invitation to make a decision for Jesus Christ on Friday, the first day of the 3-day evangelistic event.
The Will Graham Celebration of Peace is being hosted in a city of nearly 400,000 located just off Lake Victoria in western Kenya with the help of about 300 city-wide churches, according to the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"The only thing that can change Kisumu forever… is God," said Graham to those attending on Friday. His father, Franklin Graham, also preaches internationally.
Will Graham was first asked to preach in Kisumu while he was in Nakura, Kenya, sharing the Gospel in 2011.
He talked to the crowd about "God's love for us, even though our sin is worthy of punishment," BGEA reported.
"When we sin, we deserve punishment," Graham said. "Yet, God sent His son Jesus to take the punishment for you and me."
The Jomo Kenyatta Sports Ground is like a thoroughfare in Kisumu, making it an ideal spot for preaching the Gospel. "Many scurry across the field as a shortcut on their way home, or to visit the local shops set up just outside the venue," BGEA stated.
The evangelistic organization shared the account of "Judy," who like others was a passerby on Friday. "She didn't hear Will Graham's message, but knew something special was going on. So Judy walked down and asked a counselor, 'Is it over?' Lilenn responded, 'yes' but that it wasn't too late for her to receive what others were receiving that night.
"Judy then accepted Christ, and promised to return Saturday with a friend," Cicely Gosier wrote for BGEA.
It is against the law to distribute materials without formal consent from the local government, but that did not stop residents from letting people know about the event. Posters advertising the Will Graham Celebration in Kisumu June 7-9 were "plastered all around town – in the oddest of places. So many were put up that even when some were torn down there were several more nearby," according to BGEA.
It was also reported that although Kisumu's Gov. Jack Ranguma had planned meetings with officials on Friday, he spent much of the morning with Graham and the Celebration committee.
Before Graham took the stage, Ranguma asked for prayer for Kisumu and that hearts would be open to God's word, said BGEA. "Little did the governor know that prayer would strike his wife. When Will asked people to come forward to give their life to Christ, Olivia Rangumu stepped out to rededicate her life to the Lord."