KINGSTOWN - The week-long National Crusade with BGEA Associate Evangelist Ralph Bell made a significant impact on the next generation of Vincentians. During the week of March 21-27 more than 2,600 people made commitments to Jesus Christ, the majority of whom were between the ages of 10 and 18 years of age. In total the Crusade had 76,381 in attendance for the week.
Currently, more than 65 percent of the nation's population of 109,000 is under the age of 25, and many of them attended some or all of the Crusade meetings. "The Word of God is showing them that they're precious people," said Simone Cordice, a counselor from Miracle Tabernacle church in Lodge Village. "Giving them a self-worth in Jesus could turn around the whole nation."
More than 18,700 people attended Friday night's youth concert, making it the largest gathering ever in the history of St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The Saturday morning "Children's Fest" was the third largest event of the week, drawing 12,300 children and parents to Victoria Park. More than 1,200 gave their lives to Jesus -- an astounding 93% of which were first-time decisions.
"If these youths can start to read and understand the Word, we could have such a different world," said Wilson.
At school assemblies led by Crusade team members throughout the week, 20,000 young people heard the message of hope and another 3,500 responded by putting their faith in Jesus Christ.
Reflecting on the impact of the meetings, Lewis said, "We stand in amazement at what God has done in St. Vincent. This nation will never be the same again because of the Ralph Bell Crusade."
With the success of the National Crusade in St. Vincent, many are hoping that the impact on the Caribbean islands will not end. "We're hoping that we can catapult this throughout the Caribbean," said Lewis.
Already pastors on several other Caribbean islands have expressed an interest in having the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hold crusades there as well. One supporter is Mitchell Wilson, who plans to return to Trinidad. Along with the message of God's love that he has received, he hopes to ignite a passion for bringing the crusade ministry to that island nation.
"I want to go back and be able to make a difference there, because I am equipped now," said Wilson. "We need this Billy Graham Evangelistic Association team to come to Trinidad, and we need it soon!"