Located on Brazil’s northeastern coast, Recife is the nation’s fourth-largest city and a popular tourist destination. But although the tourist district shines, issues such as poverty, child prostitution, illiteracy and spiritism led Christian leaders to invite Franklin Graham to hold an evangelistic Festival in September 2001.
More than 1,000 churches took part in the Festival, called Cristo é a solução! (Christ Is the Answer!). “Pastors are laying down the flag of their denomination to the side and [are] working as a unit,” said local pastor Philip Warkentine.
As much as a year prior to the Sept. 27-29 Festival meetings, thousands of Christians committed to pray 10 minutes each day for the Festival. In April, Anne Graham Lotz held public seminars in Recife in support of the Festival and also spoke to Festival organizers about prayer. In June, more than 3,000 people attended a youth rally with evangelist David Ruiz. And more than 12,000 people attended Christian Life and Witness classes.
In conjunction with the Festival, Franklin also held an Operation Christmas Child shoebox distribution at an inner-city church in Recife. About 100 children—some of whom had been living on the streets—heard a message about Jesus, God’s greatest gift. Each child received a gift-filled shoebox and a hot meal.
On the first evening of the Festival—just 16 days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in the United States—Franklin said: “On Sept. 11 in New York City, over 6,000 people got up early in the morning, had their breakfast, drank their coffee, kissed their loved ones goodbye and went to the office to work. Their office was the World Trade Towers. By 10, most of those 6,000 people were dead. Many of them were not ready to stand before God—are you ready?”
More than 171,000 people attended the meetings, with more than 3,800 registering decisions for Jesus Christ.
Photo: Russ Busby/©2001 BGEA