Noémi Seres wasn’t sure who was trembling more: Her or the 16-year-old Gypsy who came forward to accept Christ tonight at the Franklin Graham Festival in Budapest, Hungary.
The Gypsy girl’s knees were weak and shaking as she walked down the steps, while the visible tremor in Noémi’s own hands betrayed her nervous excitement. She had never led anyone to the Lord before this evening and the experience humbled and thrilled her.
As a counselor for the Festival of Hope, Noémi was one of the people who walked alongside those who decided to accept Christ as their Savior for the first time or recommit their lives to Him, explaining what salvation means and praying with that man or woman.
More than 770 from the overflow crowd of 12,375 made that choice after listening to Franklin Graham share the Gospel of Jesus Christ—speaking from 2 Kings 21 at Papp Laszlo Sports Arena.
Looking at the sea of people around her at the end of the night, Noémi’s eyes brimmed with tears: “This was such an important thing to be part of. I never imagined this many people would come forward. I am so happy I overcame my fear in order to serve.”
She was especially moved that the Gypsy’s three younger brothers also came forward to receive Jesus into their hearts: “This was a family without a mother,” said Noémi. “But the grandmother in their village, who has been saved for 10 years, had been praying for them.”
And the siblings weren’t the only family who came as a group to accept Christ. Zoltán Merényi, the chair of the Bring a Friend Committee, led another family to the Lord. Although his role is to supervise the efforts of the other counselors, tonight he had to step in to help with prayer because the sheer number of inquirers was so large.
“I am blessed that I did,” said Merényi. “A gypsy mother and her 8- and 9-year-old sons prayed to receive Jesus along with the grandmother. God touched all their hearts.”
Walking close to two miles to get to the venue didn’t faze the family. They were hurting because the woman’s husband—the boys’ father—is in prison facing a charge of attempted murder.
“We all prayed for truth and justice in this situation,” said Merényi. “I think that when Franklin Graham talked about prisons of the heart—being bound to alcohol, drugs, anger or dishonesty—this woman could identify with the message.”
The message shared by Graham also resonated with a pregnant 22-year-old woman and her boyfriend who are currently living together. “The Reverend’s words about rebellion and God’s unchanging standards convicted this couple,” said Beatá, a female counselor who prayed with them. “I told the couple about Christ’s love and forgiveness, and then they also realized they should pray about getting married.”
Although the young lady left in tears, she assured Beatá they were tears of joy: “I can make a fresh start for this baby—and we are reborn too.”
As the evening began, many prayers for rebirth and new life went out over the packed house. Kalman Meszaros, the president of the Festival Executive Committee commented that “today is the fulfillment of a dream by all our churches. May the Word of Jesus be proclaimed.”
Bishop Steinbach Jozsef, president of the Ecumenical Council of Hungarian Churches, prayed that “we come from many churches but with one heart—may those here who do not know you join us.”
The Festival continues Saturday and Sunday in Budapest. Join us in praying for all who came forward, for the team of counselors, and for those who will be attending on Saturday and Sunday.
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