For more than two years, several thousand Christians in Mexico have been praying weekly for this month’s Esperanza CDMX Festival with Franklin Graham in Mexico City (often identified as CDMX).
“Mexico City is a world-class city that has long been on the radar of Franklin,” said Chris Swanson, BGEA’s director of Latin American Affairs. “BGEA has been active all over Mexico with the exception of the capital. Nearly five years ago, Franklin had a Festival in Monterrey, Mexico, and it was there that Mexico City was confirmed as a Festival site. Hundreds of local churches officially extended the invitation for the BGEA to come.”
More than 2,000 churches are engaged with the Festival. Some 11,000 people have taken Christian Life & Witness training, and many Christians are preparing to bring friends to the event Feb. 11-12. Organizers have also arranged for hundreds of buses to help bring people to Arena CDMX in order to hear the Gospel.
“We estimate that 80% of the [evangelical] church population is involved in the preparations of the Festival of Hope,” said Pedro Ramírez Pérez, president of the Mexico City Regional Baptist Convention.
Scheduled musical guests include Michael W. Smith, Marcos Witt, Miel San Marcos, Nadia, the Tommy Coomes Band and Dennis Agajanian.
In addition to two main meetings, the Festival will include a children’s event on Feb. 11 called Festikids. Over the past few months, several smaller children’s rallies have been held around the area, and more than 1,900 children received Christ in those meetings.
Esperanza CDMX Festival means Festival of Hope Mexico City, and many residents of Mexico’s sprawling capital do not yet know the hope of Jesus Christ.
Local pastors point to a number of obstacles they see that tend to keep people from considering their need for salvation. Pérez points to social media, materialism, superficial religion, atheism, and social and familial pressures. “People pay minimal attention to the message of salvation, unless they are going through crisis and realize their need for God,” he said.
Yet in spite of those obstacles, people are often receptive to the Gospel when they are approached through personal evangelism, said Aaron Cortes Hernandez, pastor of Christian Interdenominational Church. Hernandez is serving as mobilization coordinator for the Festival.
In fact, Pérez and Hernandez both say there seems to be more openness to the Gospel today than in previous decades, partly because many families today have at least some relatives who are evangelical Christians, and that has helped to reduce suspicion among those who have grown up with Mexico’s traditional religious practices.
Christians are praying that Esperanza CDMX Festival will help usher many more into the Kingdom. In addition to the extensive prayer that has already taken place, on Jan. 10 the participating churches began 30 days of prayer and fasting for the Festival.
“We hope that the entire city notices that something out of the ordinary is happening,” Pérez said. “We believe that many people will hear about the love of God and the call to be saved. The churches will receive people who make decisions to follow Christ and are ready to be discipled.”
Please join with the believers in Mexico in praying that many people’s hearts will be receptive when Franklin Graham preaches the Gospel Feb. 11-12.
“Mexico City is a spiritual stronghold,” Swanson said. “The oppression is thick. Contrary to what many believe, the primary religion is Santa Muerte, ‘Holy Death’—a mixture of Catholicism and witchcraft. As the church prepares to invade the darkness with the hope of Christ, be praying, as the enemy is hard at work to deceive and distract—it is common for people to awaken at 3 a.m., as this is a peak hour for dark, spiritual activity—but God is greater!” ©2023 BGEA