Franklin Graham Festival of Hope in Chisinau
In July 2005, Moldova had the privilege of hosting Franklin Graham as a guest preacher for the greatest evangelistic meeting in Moldovan history that was organized in partnership with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. For three days Franklin Graham presented the Gospel to over 100,000 people from all parts of Moldova. It has become the headline news for the whole country.
Initially these meetings were planned to be held in the center of Chisinau, the capital of Moldova, on the Great National Gathering Square, where in 1991 Moldovan independency from the Soviet Union was proclaimed. But it became more and more difficult to get a permit for such a meeting on the most important square in the country.
God gave Christians of Moldova another place, not far from the center of the city – the National Soccer Stadium, which seats over 30,000 people. Every square meter was used to put a chair for people that would listen to the Word of God. So, around the stadium we had several thousand people who sat and listened to the program through extended sound system although they could not see anything.
More than 700 evangelical churches have joined the effort in organizing this project, representing Evangelical Christian Baptist Union, Pentecostal Union, Bible Church, Evangelical Christians, and other denominations. Moldova for Christ Ministry was able to organize transportation from many cities in order to bring people to this event to hear the Gospel, believe it and be saved. God gave us more than 700 people who agreed to dedicate the whole day for travel and hearing the Word of God. As we were traveling with them, our church members spent time with them on the bus, getting to know them and singing church hymns on the way.
Some of the best singers and worship leaders from Eastern Europe took part in the programs. A united choir sang praises to the Lord and prepared the hearts of visitors to receive the Word of God. Franklin Graham presented the Gospel in a very simple way, so that everyone would understand it and be able to receive it.
God has blessed the effort. In three evenings more than 13,000 people trusted Jesus! Many were from cities and villages where we work planting churches. We continued to work with each one of them by teaching the Bible in their homes. As a result, many have joined our churches and have continued learning the Word of God with other believers and brought others to the church services.
Satan did not like what was going on during this outreach and tried to stop us from organizing this event by trying to prevent people from attending the meetings. The Russian Orthodox Church sent their people with posters that had anti-evangelism content to try to stop people right in front of the main entrance to the stadium. They sang Russian Orthodox Church songs, calling people not to attend the meetings. But people did not listen to them and still came to the programs, which was a demonstration of God’s victory over the powers of darkness.
We praise God for the freedom He granted Moldova to have such meetings and for the believers of Moldova who united their efforts to reach our generation with the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It was a true celebration of God’s grace and a great encouragement to both believers and unbelievers as we saw thousands trusting Jesus every day!