Yakima Christian CityFest Draws Thousands

An estimated 21,000 people attended an evangelistic festival in Yakima Valley, Wash., this past weekend.

The July 17-18 event was the culmination of the Season of Service in Yakima Valley. Popular evangelist Luis Palau, whose ministry is behind the Season of Service campaign, and his son, Andrew Palau, preached at the Christian festival.

Luis Palau's Spanish message on Saturday morning was about how God promises to forgive a person's sins, no matter how terrible, if the person accepts Christ.

"What you did was terrible," Palau recalled telling a woman in Mexico, who told him that she regretted having an abortion, according to the Yakima Herald-Republic. "But God loves you and will forgive you."

He also told the crowd that it is not enough to attend church, but they need to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

The Yakima Valley Season of Service, which culminated in the CityFest, is one of many such services taking place in cities nationwide. The purpose of SOS is for the faith-based community, especially churches, to join forces with businesses and civic leaders to serve their city and address the community's needs.

Service projects include planting trees, revitalizing a neighborhood, painting the homes of widows, the elderly and veterans, and building a home with Habitat for Humanity, among other activities.

More than 100 churches in the Yakima Valley area were involved in 65 community service projects for this year's SOS.

The first SOS, organized by the Luis Palau Association, took place in 2008 in the Portland/Vancouver area. During that SOS, some 550 churches, 68 nonprofit organizations and local businesses, and 27,000 volunteers tackled 300 community service projects.

The Yakima Valley CityFest, like other Luis Palau festivals, featured action sports shows, Family Fun Zone with an inflatable jumping playground, and free services such as haircuts and blood pressure readings.