Franklin Graham gives a message of hope in Rio de Janeiro.

I just returned from holding an evangelistic Crusade in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where more than 68,000 people braved the rain to hear the Gospel on the city’s famous Copacabana Beach. More than 4,000 churches worked with us to prepare for the outreach, and over 30,000 Christians were trained to share their faith through our Christian Life and Witness Course. On the day of the event, umbrellas and ponchos were sprinkled throughout the crowd, but the weather couldn’t dampen the mood—or prevent God from moving. We give Him all the glory for the thousands who made decisions for Jesus Christ, including João.*

Franklin Graham preached the Gospel on Rio de Janeiro’s famous Copacabana Beach.

João didn’t know the Lord, but his wife, Ana,* was a believer and she brought him to the beach to hear the Gospel. Because of the rain, the couple left before the evening events began, but they turned on the livestream when they got home. When I invited those on the beach to pray to receive Jesus Christ, João knelt down in his living room and prayed in repentance and faith to surrender his life to the Lord. We praise God for answering Ana’s years of prayers—and for how He used the support of friends like you to transform lives in Rio!

A Time of Jubilee

Across the Atlantic, people in the U.K. recently celebrated the Platinum Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II to mark her 70 years on the throne. The name “jubilee” comes from a special Old Testament holy year that God instructed His people to observe—and at the center of the celebration was His command to forgive all debts and set slaves free. This is exactly what the Lord has done for us—and what He did for so many others during the God Loves You Tour in Liverpool, Newport, and Sheffield a few weeks ago. Two friends, Eileen* and Tina,* were among those who made decisions for Jesus Christ during the event in Liverpool.

Growing up, Eileen described herself as a Christian, but by adulthood, her faith had grown cold, and she was walking far from God. When she heard me talk about the prodigal son and the loving father who was waiting to welcome him home, she knew she needed to end her years of running. She went forward to pray with a volunteer, to repent of her sin, and receive forgiveness from her Heavenly Father.

Hundreds of people, like this woman in Newport, Wales, responded to the Gospel.

After praying, Eileen went back to her seat—and then returned moments later with her friend Tina. She wanted a counselor to pray for her. Tina had battled addiction for years and told the volunteer that every day is a struggle. “I can’t cope,” she said.

The counselor explained that there is true and lasting freedom in Jesus Christ, and she prayed for Tina. As the Holy Spirit moved in her heart, Tina was overwhelmed and said, “It feels like God is with me!” In repentance and faith, she surrendered her life to the Lord, and for the first time, she found hope and power to overcome her addiction as a child of God.

About 150 miles to the south, near the Welsh coast, Caitrin* attended the Newport event. She came to faith in Jesus Christ about six years ago, but she wavered in her walk and fell into sin. Her life was filled with guilt and self-loathing, and she was hopeless for any change. When I spoke about the power of Jesus Christ to change anyone—including blind Bartimaeus in Mark 10—Caitrin saw a glimmer of hope. She went forward at the invitation to seek forgiveness, rededicate herself to the Lord, and commit to living boldly for Him.

Despite the opposition of a small but vocal minority in the U.K., thousands of people attended events across the kingdom to hear the Good News of God’s love.

In Sheffield, Neil* came to the event after being invited by a friend. He was skeptical but decided to go anyway. Now in his 40s, Neil had never been interested in faith and didn’t consider himself religious or spiritual. But he struggled with guilt and shame without even knowing why. “I’ve sinned. I’ve done things that deserve judgment,” Neil shared with our counsellor. “I want to be saved!” Alongside hundreds of others, Neil felt joy wash over him as he prayed to receive forgiveness in Jesus Christ, and we gave him discipleship resources that will help him grow in his new walk with the Lord.

During our final event in the nation’s capital, London, I took to the book of Daniel, chapter five to talk about King Belshazzar, another man who was running short on time—except he didn’t know it. After God divinely intervened in his life, Belshazzar didn’t turn away from his sins and faced God’s judgment.

For Asomugha, the sermon served as a reminder of the need to leave sin behind.  “It’s a second-by-second battle,” Asomugha said. “I think this [event] was a huge turning point.”

Seeing people like Asomugha walk forward was a beautiful answer to months of prayer for Gabrielle Odina, also 26, who served as a counsellor and almost became emotional at the intentional response to the Gospel.

She talked with two sisters, ages 9 and 7, who came forward saying they had prayed the prayer of salvation before, but hadn’t truly understood it until then. Odina, who regularly works with children in a psychiatric ward and is a worship leader at her church, also prayed with a 13-year-old boy who made a decision for Christ—and happens to be interested in playing the piano.

Unlike the hands of a clock, Odina realized how easily time can slip through one’s fingers.

“I don’t know if I can speak for all young people, but I feel like we’re bombarded with a lot of distraction. [There’s] a lot we’re told to pay attention to,” Odina said. “If [God’s] telling us from outside of time, ‘Hurry up,’ it’s like OK you need to feel the urgency.”

During the God Loves You Tour across four cities in the UK, more than 18,000 people attended the tour events, and we give God all the glory for the nearly 1,500 who celebrated their very own spiritual jubilee!

 

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