This week, in a cooperative effort to reach the area of Tijuana with the Gospel, The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) will hold an evangelistic Festival June 10-12. Festival de Esperanza, which translates to "Festival of Hope", is an interdenominational outreach of more than 350 area churches in cooperation with the BGEA.
Last year in Veracruz, Mexico, 250 local churches came together in support of the Franklin Graham Festival. More than 57,000 people attended the event, and 9,196 people made decisions for Christ. Christians in the Tijuana area are praying for a similar move of God.
Franklin Graham was invited by church leaders to conduct the Festival of Hope, an event that includes music, messages from local leaders, and a program for youth and children called “Festiniños.”
“I look forward to bringing God’s message to Tijuana,” said Graham. “People will hear a lot of music from award-winning artists, personal stories, and most importantly, an opportunity to accept a challenge from God that will change their life.”
Along with the three nights of challenging messages from Graham, the Festival of Hope will include performances by such award-winning artists as Marcos Vidal, Patty Cabrera, Dennis Agajanian, California-based Tommy Coomes Band, and a large local choir.
Tijuana, known as the most visited border city in the world, is also known as “the wildest of the wild.” Partly because of its proximity to the United States -- about 15 miles from San Diego -- more than 70 million people go there each year. Tijuana was a relatively quiet town until 1920 when Prohibition banned the sale of alcohol in the United States. As nightclubs closed in the US, they opened south of the border. The city grew, but so did many social problems -- alcoholism, corruption, crime, poverty, and broken families, said the BGEA.
Though Prohibition was repealed in 1933, Tijuana still attracts visitors for its "nightlife that never sleeps." And this city of nearly two million people is still plagued by the evils that arise when sin runs rampant.
”The answer to Tijuana's problems is Jesus Christ. Only He can change human hearts, take away our sins, and give us eternal life,” stated the BGEA. “They want to see thousands of hearts changed and Tijuana gain a new reputation -- as a city sold out to God.”
Since 1989, Franklin Graham has conducted an average of seven Festivals of Hope a year as an evangelist for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Graham is currently serving as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and international relief organization Samaritan’s Purse.
Graham’s most recent evangelistic crusade, The Thekwini Festival, saw a total attendance of 47,128, and more than 2,400 people made decisions for Christ over three days. It was Franklin Graham's 100th evangelistic crusade.