1,500 Get Saved at Festival de Esperanza

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His words struck a chord. Maria felt chills run up
her spine when Franklin Graham talked about the temporal nature of the
human body on this final night of the Festival de Esperanza.

The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association hosted the Festival de Esperanza, the first-ever American Hispanic festival, Saturday and Sunday at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles.

“The
body is made out of dust of the ground,” said Graham. “Your soul is the
real you and it will never die. What should it profit a man to gain
whole world but lose his soul?”

Death was on
Maria’s heart. Several miles away, her 89-year-old father was resting at
Memorial Hospital of Gardena in preparation for open heart surgery.

“I
am worried about my papa,” she said after coming forward to recommit
her life to Christ at The Home Depot Center in Carson. “The message
about eternal life—I hope to share with him tomorrow. I want to know for
sure he understands about salvation.”

Maria, a
native of Mexico, understood Graham as he preached in English, but when
Festival Director Galo Vasquez translated the message into Spanish, it
resonated in a deeper way.


Carlos understood only the Spanish translation.

A
recent arrival to the United States from El Salvador, he told a
bilingual festival advisor that he is grateful to the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association for bringing the festival
to the greater Los Angeles area.

“I needed
this,” he said with a tear running down his cheek. “I carried so much
guilt. I did bad things at home for money when I was very young, but now
I can have a brand new beginning in Jesus.”

Yolanda
committed her life to Jesus in 2004 at a Billy Graham Crusade held at
the Rose Bowl in nearby Pasadena. But then the pressures of raising a
child on her own led her back to the bottle. “Tonight I feel strong to
live again for Jesus after listening to the son, Franklin. I will be
filled with the Holy Spirit instead of wine.”

Miguel
also rededicated his life to the Lord. The 24-year-old was baptized as a
baby and attended church as a child, but when he entered his teen
years, he wanted to enjoy an intimate relationship with his girlfriend.
“I didn’t want to follow what the Bible says, but I heard what Franklin
said about sin and burning in hell.


“I didn’t believe that just trusting in Jesus could save me—until now,” said Miguel. “I am glad for this festival.”

And
so are local pastors and church leaders. For months they have joined
together in prayer for the Hispanic community in greater Los Angeles.
“We pray the Lord will heal this city, heal our schools and heal our
familes,” said Pastor Roberto Moreno. “We have been praying this festival will begin a revival, especially in the hearts of pastors.”

Carlos
Quintero, president of the Festival Executive Committee, presented
Franklin with a plaque at the end of the evening, thanking him on behalf
of Hispanic churches in Los Angeles for “the seeds of love and
compassion you have planted in our city during this first Hispanic
Festival.

“We say, ‘Muchas Gracias.’”

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