MUMBAI, India - Hundreds of thousands of people have flooded to Joyce Meyer's Festival of Life in Mumbai, India, where renown Christian artists Delirious and Hillsong are performing live.
Taking place at the MMRDA Grounds, which has staged India's biggest events ever like Bollywood's Filmfare Awards and concerts with Shakira, the anticipated festival is drawing large crowds as charismatic Christian author and speaker Joyce Meyer preaches messages of salvation.
Dressed in an orange Indian salwar kameez, Meyer told the crowd, "I'm here to urge people to enjoy everyday with God."
The festival began on Thursday with praise and worship from local church teams, whose Bhajans and traditional singing in Marathi and Hindi made the crowd feel at home, spreading hope and cheer in the minds of people. Bollywood's popular Anil Kanth and Vijay Benedict added few tapping numbers.
English Christian rock and worship band Delirious later stepped onto the stage, leading worship as the crowd echoed in loud voices the popular hit "Majesty" in Hindi – "Hey Prabhu."
"Until now, these grounds were being prepared for the arrival of super stars from India and all over the world. But this week, it's being prepared for the arrival of the King of Kings, the Creator of the Universe, the Beginning and the End, the only Living God – Jesus Christ," according to a statement by the Joyce Meyer Ministries.
Meyer, who claims to have visited India more times than any other country, told the festival crowd, "We see people of different creed, color, caste and languages, but do not forget we are one army in Christ, who serves and loves the Almighty God."
Quoting tales of King David and the blind Bartimaeus from the Bible, Meyer referred to her struggles in life, including how she fought off a troubled childhood and a sexually-abusive father to emerge as the person she is today.
Urging people to believe and trust in God, she said, "God wants to bless and help us in our life. Trust and believe in His word, and your life will change."
Also preaching at the Jan. 17-20 event is Brian Huston, senior pastor of Hillsong Church in Sydney, Australia.
Houston encouraged the people to be away from the mind of negativity and live positively. "Negativity is the indication of inner defeat. Negativity always justifies itself, excuses itself, and finds a reason for its existence," he said on Friday.
On Friday evening, at least 250,000 people gathered to hear Hillsong live. Their scintillating performance sparked the heart of worship and led the people in unison and grace.
Hillsong's worship pastor, Darlene Zschech, later prayed for the worship leaders and encouraged them to worship God truthfully in spirit and not to be concerned over performance or popularity.
"I have never seen or been to such an amazing event. Marvelous is the presence of God here and I feel moved and encouraged by the sermons and music," said one event participant.
"And more than all, when I see my brothers and sisters from different caste and color, joining together, I am just full of grace. I feel like Jesus Christ visited India and moved our hearts to serve him and love him more."
Joyce Meyer Ministries has been involved in extensive social work in Mumbai.
"We have 10 centers in areas like Ghatkopar, Bhandup, Vikhroli and Kalva that provide food to children in the city. We also run a transformation home for commercial sex workers in Badlapur where sex workers are provided vocational training," said Scott Norling, Director of Asia of Joyce Meyer Ministries.