6:03 p.m., July 6, 2008, TIMISOARA, Romania – Tonight more people than ever are coming to the Festival of Hope.
7:37 p.m. A man from the European Parliament just spoke to the crowds in Romanian, but then he turned around and spoke to Franklin Graham in English. He handed him a certificate and said, “We give you this award because you brought God back to Europe.”
We just learned that 27,787 people are here tonight.
8:35 p.m. Franklin Graham has just stepped up to the podium with his translator, and tens of thousands in the stadium have stopped to listen to him. More than 1,000 people committed their lives to Christ tonight. The Franklin Graham Festival of Hope Romania has helped thousands of people begin a new life through the power of the Holy Spirit.
A Festival for All of Eastern Europe
Under Ceaususcu, Romanian believers were not allowed to tell other people about Jesus Christ. This was a problem for John, an evangelist, who shared his faith with others and helped distribute Bibles, which was against the law too.
“For this reason [I had] many, many troubles until 1989,” John says.
“They expelled me [from Romania] two times: One time I was sent to Iraq, and one time sent to Cuba. Saddam Hussein was a great and good friend of Ceausescu. Fidel Castro was a good friend [of his] too.”
“To resolve the situation temporarily, they bring you and put you in a labor camp for different projects. I evangelized just the people in the labor camp because it was isolated. 1982-84 I was in labor camp in Iraq. We spoke English. In Cuba I learned Spanish. Spanish and Romanian are the same: Latin.”
Later in the Cuban labor camp, John worked in shipping. When the Romanian Revolution occurred in December 1989, he was freed. Now John starts churches around Romania and has helped organize the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope Romania.
John says, “Timisoara is the single city in Romania where four nations live. In
the morning, people say hello in Romanian, Hungarian, German, and Serbian. This
is an opportunity to preach the Gospel to many. This is not a national event;
it’s a European event.”
With nearly 77,000 in attendance at all of the Festival services, and more than 3,100 decisions for Christ, the Festival of Hope has been a testimony of God’s love for Eastern Europe.