The Esperanza CDMX Festival with Franklin Graham will return to Mexico City on February 17 and 18 after more than 52,000 people heard the message of God’s love at the Arena CDMX last year.
“I’m thrilled to be returning to Mexico City to share a message of hope,” said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). “So many people are overwhelmed by the circumstances of life and the hardships all around us, and I want the people of this great city to know that God loves them and has a plan and purpose for each one of our lives.”
This February, more than 750 buses will bring people from all over the Mexico City metro area to the two-day outreach at Palacio de los Deportes. The free, family-friendly event will feature Christian musicians including Marcos Witt, Miel San Marcos, Michael W. Smith, Redimi2, Nadia, and Dennis Agajanian.
Mexico City, the nation’s main economic, political and social hotspot, is known for its round-the-clock bustle, and millions of people from all corners of the country pass through the city every day.
“Mexico City is a very large urban sprawl whose population ranges from 26 to 28 million if you consider the municipalities around it,” said Benjamin Rivera, a local pastor of Centro Familiar Cristiano de Mexico.
According to Rivera, the cosmopolitan city has a variety of entertainment options, which distracts many people from their deepest spiritual problems. Others seek help from dark spiritual forces that have been gaining popularity in the region.
“Contrary to popular opinion, the fastest growing religion in Mexico City is not Catholicism but the worship of ‘Santa Muerte’ [Holy Death], a very dark power of the enemy,” said Chris Swanson, vice president of Hispanic Initiatives for BGEA. “Mexico City represents a unique opportunity for the light of the Gospel. … The spiritual warfare [there] is more intense than probably any other city I’ve ever been to in Latin America.”
Despite the darkness in the region, local Christians have seen over and over God’s power in their own lives—and they know that He will continue to work to shine His light and transform lives there.
“Only a supernatural intervention from God can touch all these people,” said Rivera.
“Local pastors have a huge desire to reach their people, reach their city,” said Swanson. “Pastors saw last year how churches were impacted by the Festival. Churches have doubled or tripled in size.”
More than 2,000 congregations have come alongside the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) to participate in Festival Esperanza CDMX, and more than 1,200 prayer team counselors have been trained. These local believers are equipped to answer questions and pray with those who give their hearts to Jesus Christ after the invitation each evening.
“Last year’s Festival helped pastors challenge themselves to go out and evangelize,” Rivera said. “When Franklin announced that the Festival was coming once again, it was a confirmation that it is something that is definitely from God.”
“The need for hope in Mexico City is great,” said Swanson. “Every opportunity to preach the Gospel there is an opportunity to reach thousands, even tens of thousands, who have not heard how much God loves them.”