Pacific Island of Saipan Hears the Gospel

By Ron Nickel and TJ Petrino   •   February 19, 2020

Though a beautiful place to live—with lush greenery, turquoise waters and a warm breeze—there's an emptiness that lingers in the hearts of many islanders. Like other places across the United States, Saipan faces problems with drugs, violence and—in particular—gambling, yet the Gospel is strong enough to break through those strongholds. That's the message Franklin Graham will bring this weekend during the one-day Marianas Festival of Hope.
Saipan is the largest of the Northern Mariana Islands, a United States Commonwealth about 6,000 miles off the West Coast. Franklin Graham will visit its southern neighbor, Guam, on Sunday when he shares the message of Jesus Christ at the Guåhan Festival of Hope.
Saipan's population comes to about 50,000 and is small enough to fit inside Washington, D.C. Though a dot on the map, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association staff members received a hearty welcome ahead of the Festival.
In the fall of 2018, Super Typhoon Yutu slammed into the Northern Mariana Islands as the most powerful to hit U.S. soil. Homes, churches and schools were demolished. The island received much-needed relief from BGEA's sister ministry, Samaritan's Purse, and soon after, many churches combined efforts to bring a Franklin Graham Festival to their island.
"I want people to know that God loves Saipan. He loves the people of this island," Franklin Graham shared with Saipan media on Wednesday. "I know the economy is down. I know things are difficult right now," he said, but there is hope.
More than 300 locals gathered for a dedication service ahead of the Celebration. It was also a time of prayer for all those who will fill American Memorial Park to hear the Gospel.
Many churches—and the community at large—have been unified through preparation for the Festival. Pastors are greatly encouraged. "They’ve never seen this many churches working together for one cause,” Festival Director Jeff Ferris said.
Follow along with the Marianas Festival of Hope on Facebook and please be in prayer as Franklin Graham preaches the life-saving Gospel.