9:09 a.m. Dancing animals just came out on the stage … or dancing people dressed like animals. There’s a giraffe, a tiger, a bird, and several more creatures all in a congo line, singing a Spanish song about Noah’s ark. Ha ha!
Around the park, kids are holding hands with their parents and friends. Some of them are wearing red and yellow T-shirts that say, “Jesus es el Rey,” or “Jesus Is King.”
Marcos Vidal, a pastor and singer from Spain who sang beautifully at last night’s Festival service, is onstage with the animals now, singing “Jesus Loves Me” in Spanish. He’s smiling the whole time and wearing a white linen shirt. It’s getting warmer each minute out here.
9:20 a.m. Young actors and actresses are onstage singing a musical drama about Adam and Eve, original sin and redemption through Jesus Christ. The production is called “Jesus to the Rescue.”
The devil character is scary; he’s dressed in black and has an evil laugh. The child actors onstage are funny, but unfortunately in the drama, they fall for the devil’s schemes and become trapped.
9:37 a.m. But here’s Jesus … to the rescue. He steps in to pay the price for the mistakes that the children made.
9:46 a.m. After the drama is over, Galo Vasquez invites the kids to walk forward in front of the stage if they want receive Christ in their hearts for the first time.
Lines of children are walking, some running, to stand in the vast, open space in front of the platform. Purple, yellow, red, and blue balloons peek up from the crowd.
10:06 a.m. Franklin Graham steps onstage to greet the crowd of young people who have come forward to receive Christ.
“God loves you,” Franklin Graham says. “The decision you’ve made this morning is the most important decision of your life. Jesus will be with you all of your life; talk to Him every day. Get involved in a church, and get your mom or dad to read the Bible to you.”
More than 31,000 people attended Kidzfest (or Festininos) today in Villahermosa, Mexico. As a result, more than 4,300 kids made a commitment to Jesus Christ.
A Clown Story
Sometimes people are afraid of clowns. Clowns can seem strange or scary, but the clowns at Festininos are friendly, joyful and funny. One carries around a miniature umbrella, in case of rain. But it’s not going to help him.
The kids all laugh at him when they see his giant, orange shoes and tiny, blue umbrella.
One man dressed up as a clown today, his real name is Juan Cardon; and he took a moment to share his story this morning after Festininos. Juan is from Tabasco, but he grew up an orphan on the streets. He never knew his parents.
Juan never had any toys or a safe place to sleep, and at a young age he began stealing in order to have money for food. Life on Tabasco’s streets is rough and violent. At age 23, Juan became a boxer; he was a good fighter, but he wasn’t happy.
He was able to rent an apartment with his boxing money, but as he grew older, Juan felt a “fire” building up inside him. The fire scared him; it was a bad feeling, an evil presence that he sensed.
One day Juan told his friend who was a Christian about the fire that he felt inside. His friend prayed for him and asked him to come to church. With time, Juan witnessed the peace that comes through a relationship with Jesus Christ, and he asked Christ into his heart. He became an adopted child of God, not an orphan anymore.
Later Juan received training to become a teacher, and now he works with children all day, ministering to them and making them laugh because he had no joy when he was a child. On the weekends Juan walks through the streets of Tabasco and invites young people to attend the children’s events at church because it hurts him to see kids on the streets.
Today Juan has two daughters, ages 8 and 6, and a loving wife. He volunteered to dress up as a clown for the Franklin Graham Festival because he loves watching children smile when they experience the joy and love of Jesus Christ.