Iowans of All Ages Praise God at Will Graham Celebration

By   •   October 3, 2021

group of children wearing KidzFest shirts
Just hours after the sun rose in Des Moines, Iowa, Gospel-centered activities organized by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) began at the downtown Wells Fargo Arena.
girls face painting
The second day of Will Graham’s weekend outreach in the capital city started with a children-focused event called KidzFest, which included games, face painting, bounce houses, music and a simple Gospel message.
Will Graham preaching
A father of three, Will Graham often talks about his children from stage and knows how to relate to young audiences.
boy holds "Jesus Loves Me" book
This young gentleman smiled with the knowledge that Jesus loves him.
Aaron Shust singing
Saturday night, people of all ages returned to the multipurpose sports arena to hear Will Graham and enjoy music from Aaron Shust and The Afters.
men with hands in air
From the first chord Aaron Shust struck on the keyboard, people across the venue raised their hands to express thanks to God.
The Afters
“Fill this place with your praise,” Josh Havens encouraged the crowd as his band, The Afters, led a mixture of reverent hymns and dance-worthy tunes.
Josh Havens high fives girl
A handful of people from the crowd had the thrill of joining The Afters on stage for one song. This young girl, Anna, assumed the role of drummer.
Will Graham at Iowa Celebration
One of Iowa’s nicknames is “Fields of Opportunity”—and Saturday night, hundreds took the opportunity to be encouraged by God’s Word.
woman with hands lifted
For centuries, God’s children have praised Him through song. The voices in Des Moines joined that chorus by singing about the Father’s love and faithfulness.
Will Graham preaching
For his evening message, Will Graham addressed the pandemic and the fear that has gripped the world.
men praying
“True peace in life is rare,” Will Graham admitted. “Peace only comes as a gift. You cannot buy it.” He mentioned a few local stores and restaurants by name, but added that none of them had peace for sale.
translation headset
People attending the event could listen to the evening’s messages in Spanish. The Reyna family handed out headsets upstairs, which transmitted a real-time translation from an interpreter working backstage.
Will Graham praying
Throughout the night, many in the crowd piped in with an “amen” as Will Graham explained how to find peace with God. Then came the crucial moment when those listening had to decide if they wanted that peace for themselves. The evangelist stepped away from the podium and prayed.
two young women talking
This trained counselor was about the same age as the young woman who walked forward to accept Christ. They talked, prayed and celebrated together as sisters in God’s family.
group of seven men
Six men from a local recovery program attended Saturday’s event together, and all six gave their lives to Christ. The man in the middle mentors several of them and got to witness the meaningful moment.
two men talking
Joel (right) often shares the Gospel with people on Des Moines’ streets. During these evangelistic events, he’s helping spread the Good News in a different way as a Spanish-speaking counselor. “There’s nothing more exciting than seeing people accept Jesus,” he said.
crowd in front of stage
Will Graham gave those who responded to the Gospel three assignments: read the Bible, go to church and bring a friend to the final night of the Iowa Celebration.
little girl praying
With one more event left, locals believers are praying that even more of their neighbors come to hear about a God who knows and loves them. Will you join them in prayer?