Major media agencies dedicated broad coverage to the intense evangelical activity that took place last week in the Peruvian capital of Lima. According to the Latin American and Caribbean Communication Agency, considerable coverage was dedicated to the Luis Palau Lima 2004 Festiva.
Although major media are generally reluctant to publish activities that are not linked to the Catholic Church, news agencies such as the El Comercio and La Republica covered the Lima 2004 Festival. The secular news groups called the massive evangelistic event "one of the largest Evangelical concentrations in memory," and the "largest religious gathering to be held in Lima with the exception of John Paul II’s visit."
While La Republica reported around 80,000 in attendance for the festival on Oct. 8, El Comercio estimated around 100,000 in attendance; Organizers, meanwhile, estimated around 200,000. Despite the discrepancies in the figures, all agencies reported that the huge Campo de Marte in downtown Lima was completely full throughout the six-hour presentations on Oct. 8 and Oct. 9.
Prior to the event itself, media agencies also provided coverage of Palau’s meetings with President Alejandro Toledo, as well as his meetings with Congressional leader Antero Flores Araoz and Lima mayor Luis Castaqeda Lossio.
On Oct. 5, Palau met with scores of legislators and Church leaders and offered a conference about Values and Politics. Later, Congress declared the Lima Festival an event of national interest and acknowledged Palau's numerous contributions to the values and the construction of a country marked by solidarity.
Palau’s presentation, however, was not the only Evangelical event to attract media attention. Over the week, television and press commented on visits by Champions for Life to several prisons throughout the Peruvian capitol. Champions of Life is a group made up of former celebrities that served time in prison but later dedicated themselves to preaching the Gospel.
The "Champions" include: Jack Murphy, a U.S. citizen who spent 23 years in jail for robbery in 1964; Columbian John Milllan, former head of Pablo Escobar’s hit men; and Kidh Davis, Tanya Crever, John Kreger and other famous names offered testimony about their conversion to Christianity and gave Bibles to thousands of Peruvian inmates.
A third evangelical event covered by the media last week was a conference of Christian scientists who discussed issues regarding creationism vs. the theory of evolution, held Oct. 16-17.