Today will mark the first day of a six-day evangelistic festival that is expected to draw up to 100,000 from the Peruvian capital of Lima. From Oct. 4 to 9, evangelist Luis Palau and his team will proclaim the Good News from the city of more than eight million people, while evangelistic efforts are made through a variety of outreaches.
Twenty years ago, at the team’s last crusade in Lima, more than 21,000 people among the crowds of 275,000 made public commitments to Christ. This year, the Luis Palau Lima Festival is expected to draw huge crowds--perhaps 100,000 each night--to a park in the heart of the city. The festival will feature popular recording artists Jose Luis Rodriguez (known as El Puma) and Yuri, who performed at recent festivals in Argentina.
Radio and television will extend Luis Palau's festival message throughout the city, and during festival week a variety of events will take the Gospel to prisons and poor neighborhoods. Palau will speak at several affinity group meetings, such as women's teas and business luncheons. And medical teams will provide free health care services, along with the Gospel, in Lima's poorest areas.
Special advertising effort will hit the city's poorest neighborhoods, which advertisers usually overlook because the people have no money to spend on their products. These are exactly the people, however, that Luis Palau Lima Festival wants to reach with the Good News, the agency said.
In Buenos Aires, Argentina, two years ago, Christians knocked on more than a million doors, distributing an evangelistic flier that invited people to Festival of Hope. LPEA hopes to outdo that massive effort this time around, reaching more than 3 million households with the Gospel message.
Since its proclaimed independence from Spain in 1821, Peru has struggled to stabilize. Frequent revolutions, military coups, and brutal terrorist activities have kept the country from flourishing. Protests against the government are common throughout the country, and labor strikes leave many out of work for days at a time.
Few people have escaped the consequences. Since 1980, more than 69,000 people have died as a result of the ongoing war against terrorism. More than half the population lives in poverty, and more than a third of Peru's children under the age of six suffer from chronic malnutrition.
“Spiritually, Peru has been hurting for years,” the LPEA said. “Although 90 percent of the population claims a Christian identity, it's nothing more than a title, not a living relationship with Jesus Christ.”
“The nation is ready for a message of hope for Luis Palau Lima Festival,” the agency added.
Last March, more than 5,000 pastors--many traveling for hours by bus--attended the Palau team-sponsored pastors’ conference, providing an early indication of strong support for the festival. Some of those pastors started their walk with the Lord at Luis Palau crusades in Peru in the 1970s and 1980s.
Many Peruvians are familiar with Palau through his daily radio programs that have encouraged believers and invited spiritual seekers to open their hearts to Jesus Christ for 35 years. And through the Lima Festival, the agency hopes to encourage and invite tens of thousands more.