FestiKids Leads Next Generation to Christ in Colombian Border City

By Ron Nickel and TJ Petrino   •   April 18, 2019

Before the sun rose on April 18, thousands of children and parents from Venezuela and Colombia made their way to FestiKids in the border city of Cúcuta, Colombia. The event took place just ahead of the weekend's Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham.
Under an overcast sky, the joy of the Lord shone through the young dancers.
FestiKids celebrated the hope found in Jesus Christ.
Around 460 buses dropped off groups of people attending the event. Nearby on the busy streets of Cúcuta, some Venezuelan migrants could be found juggling, singing, playing an instrument or selling sweets to earn the money they need to survive.
Kids and teens pumped up the atmosphere by dancing to choreographed Christian hits in front of the seemingly endless rows of red chairs.
Two friends call out from the crowd, cheering loud and embracing their childhood. With many Venezuelans in the audience, several of the children have grown up quickly due to their parents facing severe economic hardship. They've endured more trials in their few years than some have in a lifetime.
With the event less than four miles from Venezuela, many who attended have been in dire situations and are desperate for hope. "For Venezuela!" one man yelled as he pumped his fist in the air.
Hands flew up at the sight of vibrant inflatable balls being passed along the crowd.
The lively audience grew somber as the skit onstage depicted the Gospel. A reminder of the meaning of Easter, one scene directly portrayed Jesus dying on the cross to rescue people from their sins. Diego Barriga of Cúcuta brought his 7-year-old daughter, Fabiana, to FestiKids. Fabiana came forward to give her life to Christ, sharing that her favorite part of the skit was when "Jesus saved everyone." Christ became her hero.
After the Gospel presentation, children were given the opportunity to pray to receive Christ. Many bowed their heads, lips repeating the prayer given onstage.
More than 4,700 kids and teens streamed forward—many with their parents—to meet with prayer volunteers after praying to receive Christ. Each child who came forward received a booklet about having a relationship with Christ.
Small circles of children sitting with prayer volunteers covered the grass following the event. This prayer volunteer evoked grins from around her group as she asked each one of them questions before individually giving them a hug.
Even with hundreds of conversations occurring around her, this young girl plopped down in the grass and began to read more about having life with Christ.
Ana came to Cúcuta from Venezuela two years ago while pregnant. She made the move, unsure if she could get the medical care she needed in her home country when it was time to give birth. She became a Christian a year ago and said her life has changed completely—"from darkness to light." Before FestiKids began Thursday, she said she wants the same for the next generation. By the end of the event—with 22,000 in attendance—many from that next generation were already finding hope in Christ.
Will you pray for those who responded to the Gospel in Cúcuta to be connected with local churches and grow in their faith?