A six-day evangelistic festival in Peruvian capital of Lima concluded Saturday surpassing all expectations as it drew three times more attendants than was originally estimated. The Luis Palau Lima Festival, which took place from Oct. 4-9, saw an average attendance of 300,000 each night.
The Luis Palau Evangelistic Association, which hosted the evangelistic crusade event, had initially predicted 100,000 to attend prior to the event, but these numbers were quickly put to shame as the first two nights saw attendance figures reaching 300,000 and 350,000 respectively.
Burt Elliott, a missionary in Peru for 55 years and brother of slain martyr Jim Elliott said, "What I am seeing is nothing more and nothing less then a miracle."
One pastor mentioned that he felt that the Gospel has taken on a new image. "Before we were tied to our church buildings, now we see what can be done in the community. Many non-Christians stereotype Christians as people who cannot have fun. This shows that you can be a Christian, be serious about your faith, lead a holy life and have fun."
The impact of the Festival was felt at every level, LPEA reported, “right from the president down to the very poorest of the poor.”
The Festival made such an impact that the Sunday edition of the Lima newspaper dedicated an entire page to it.
"Praise God,” the director of the festival exclaimed. “This was huge, beyond our expectations. It was way beyond the expectations of the local Peruvians, far beyond what the newspapers could handle or even print, and way beyond what the production and publicity people imagined?"
Radio and television extended evangelist Luis Palau's festival message throughout the city, and during the festival week a variety of events took the Gospel to prisons and poor neighborhoods. Palau spoke at several affinity group meetings, such as women's teas and business luncheons. And medical teams provided free health care services, along with the Gospel, in Lima's poorest areas.
“Spiritually, Peru has been hurting for years,” the LPEA said before the festival. “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 attended the Palau team-sponsored pastors’ conference, providing an early indication of strong support for the festival. The Palau team’s last crusade in Lima, held twenty years ago, saw 21,000 people make their public commitments to Christ among crowds of 275,000.