My Hope 2011 in Review
Hope Permeates Four Countries; Africa Ahead in 2012
December 30, 2011 - Haiti, Zambia, Portugal and Spain — four distinctly different countries — were linked together in 2011 as tens of thousands were impacted by the Billy Graham My Hope World Evangelism ministry.
Leaders in Madagascar and Zimbabwe are very enthusiastic. They are giving their full backing to this type of relationship evangelism.
— Bill Conard
By Trevor Freeze
My Hope, by the very definition of its name, is a personal evangelistic Crusade. Some refer to My Hope as relationship evangelism. Others call it a "Living Room Crusade."
In fact, the average number of decisions made for Christ since the My Hope World Evangelism Through Television project began in 2002 is just over two per home.
Intimate. Personal. Relational.
So many individual stories have been heard, recounted and glorified the Lord, it's hard to realize how wide the individual My Hope impact has been in places like Haiti, Zambia, Portugal and Spain. But on three different continents, these four projects have given new hope to conservatively tens of thousands.
My Hope was met with excitement and expectation in the four 2011 countries with more than 13,000 churches and 130,000 host Matthews trained to share the Gospel with their friends, family and neighbors.
In chronological order, here's an overview of what took place.
On July 21-23, over 5,300 churches took part in My Hope, using a combination of mediums including television, radio and DVD projectors.
The results in this country still searching for hope after the devastating Jan. 12, 2010 earthquake was nothing short of a God movement.
With over 57,000 Matthews trained, more than 121,000 made decisions to receive Christ as their Lord and Savior.
"It's amazing. It's amazing," My Hope Haiti director Arturo Hotton said. "So many souls changing their lives. That's the harvest."
The examples of revival in this country were countless but one that Hotton distinctly remembers: "One small village had 100 decisions so they started a new church because of My Hope."
(Click here for more My Hope Haiti stories)
On December 1-3, some 60,000 believers across this country the size of Texas, invited those they were in relationships with to experience three 30-minute nationwide broadcasts (on both TV and radio), consisting of music, testimonies and preaching from Billy Graham and Franklin Graham.
The numbers are still being recorded, but the early results show that the evangelical church in Zambia will not be the same with thousands of new decisions to live for Christ already reported.
"I thank God that we've been able to partner with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and that God is allowing us to reap such a great spiritual harvest," said Mpundu Mutala, My Hope Zambia national coordinator.
One early story from the capital city of Lusaka was an Anglican church of about 500 people that saw 70 new believers at Harvest Sunday.
"We get excited when one or two people come join our church," said Father Frank Hakoola of St. Stephen Anglican Church. "So can you imagine how joyful we were when we had 70 new people show up? That's like a whole new church walking into our congregation. We thank God."
(Click here for more My Hope Zambia stories)
On Dec. 6-10, the first western European My Hope effort was deployed with more than 970 churches and 5,400 Matthews trained to share the Gospel.
The anecdotal results have been more than encouraging thus far, and with a partial report from 206 of the churches involved, a total of 1,182 decisions have been recorded in Portugal which, like Spain, is less than 1 percent evangelical.
For Conard, all the hard work to get My Hope launched in western Europe has been rewarding, even if the results on paper aren't the same as those in places like Haiti and Africa.
It's rare to find evangelism and Europe in the same sentence, but with all the recent turmoil, including financial hardships resulting in massive unemployment rates, hearts are open to the Gospel like never before.
"The first plow that went through the prairie was hard," Conard said. "We're chopping the soil. We're breaking it up. And there's going to be ongoing fruit afterward."
(Click here for more My Hope Portugal stories)
On Dec. 15-17, broadcasts through Spain reached fertile soil in ways even some on the local My Hope staff couldn't fathom. With 80 churches reporting, nearly 1,400 decisions for Christ have been recorded.
"They are surprised. Everyone's surprised," Conard said. "Our own office staff said they didn't believe this could happen."
And this is just the tip of the Gospel iceberg in Spain, where more than 1,100 churches and 8,500 Matthew hosts were trained.
One church leader said in an e-mail there are "thousands of Spaniards receiving the Gospel through the TV and Internet."
And one congregation in the Canary Islands was reporting 95 salvations on the first night alone.
"The pastor said in 30 years of ministry, he had never seen results like this," Conard said. "The Spirit of God is still powerful in Spain."
(Click here for more My Hope Spain stories)
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