Believers from more than 600 Hispanic churches throughout the Greater Los Angeles area are joining forces to proclaim the Gospel to their people.
The Franklin Graham Festival de Esperanza at The Home Depot Center June 25-26 will seek to reach the more than 4.7 million native Spanish speakers in Los Angeles, and local pastors say they are a people who desperately need the Good News of Jesus Christ.
“The Hispanic population in southern California is looked at and treated many times as second-class citizens,” said Danny de Leon, pastor and co-chair of the Festival. “And for a Crusade to come for them sends a very important message that they are loved and cared for.”
For years, BGEA has proclaimed the Gospel throughout many Latin American countries and has seen an increasing number of Latin Americans moving onto American soil, especially in Greater Los Angeles, said Galo Vasquez, Festival director.
“About five years ago, we began to talk about the possibility of having a bilingual Festival for Greater Los Angeles,” Vasquez said. “We put it before the Lord in prayer, and three years ago Franklin approached me and said: ‘Galo, it’s time to go to Los Angeles, but let us focus on reaching the Hispanic people in that great city.’”
As Hispanics pour into the United States from countries like El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, many are finding success in business ventures and politics.
“LA is saturated with thousands of small Hispanic business owners,” said Carlos Quintero, Festival executive committee chair. “Also they are quite forceful in politics. For example, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa is Hispanic, as are many city council members and school superintendents.”
Still, many struggle to keep their family values as both husbands and wives have to join the workforce. Hispanic children often struggle in school.
“Many of them enter school and have no knowledge of the English language, thus making it much more difficult to relate and fit in with the program,” Quintero said.
The Festival will help the Christian Latino community to get the Gospel out, Quintero added. “We have a large population of Hispanics who speak Spanish as their primary language. I think the mother language is very important for really reaching this group of people.”
This is the time for Hispanics to hear the Gospel in a massive way, said Danny Garza, youth pastor of Templo Calvario. “This is the moment for the Hispanic community to work together in unity, and LA is a perfect place. If not us, who? If not now, when?”
Let your Spanish-speaking friends and loved ones know they can watch a live webcast from the Festival de Esperanza on Saturday, June 25 at 7 p.m. PT (10 ET) and Sunday, June 26 at 5 p.m. PT (8 et). Franklin Graham will share the Gospel in English with a Spanish-speaking translator at his side, so you too can hear the Good News of Jesus Christ!