Finding Forgiveness, Freedom in Mexico City

By   •   February 18, 2024

Vibrant and lively, Mexico City is home to millions of people—many of whom have not yet experienced the lasting peace found through a relationship with God’s Son, Jesus Christ. At the first night of the Esperanza Festival of Hope with Franklin Graham in Mexico City on Feb. 17, 23,000 people heard this Good News, and over 2,000 committed their lives to Jesus Christ.

Ernesto only met José the prior week on the streets of Mexico City.

Seeing his addiction to drugs, Ernesto knew God could help, and invited him to Esperanza CDMX (Mexico City Festival of Hope).

On Feb. 17, the two rode a bus arranged by a local church to the evangelistic outreach at Palacio de los Deportes. They joined more than 23,000 others at the arena, including thousands at the outdoor overflow area. Another 9,000 people watched the Festival online.

Franklin Graham—through his interpreter, BGEA evangelist David Ruiz—shared the Bible story of Daniel. The Old Testament prophet resisted conforming to the world and remained in right standing with God.

After a time of worship with Miel San Marcos, Redimi2, Nadia, and other Christian musicians, José listened closely to the message from Franklin Graham.

“God is willing to forgive you of your sins,” Franklin Graham told the crowd. “If you’re willing to turn from your sin, [and] believe on His Name, tonight you can be forgiven.”

“I want to ask God to free me from these chains,” José said, “and I believe God can heal me from this. I am asking God for mercy and forgiveness.”

Many people, like José, were invited by friends or family and arrived on one of more than 500 buses. Churches throughout the Mexico City metroplex, have been praying for those who don’t have a relationship with Jesus Christ—and inviting them to the Festival.

Passengers depart from more than 500 buses organized by churches from around Mexico City to come to the Esperanza CDMX Festival.

Juan Carlos Morales has been working with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) and local churches to coordinate buses to give people who may not normally come a chance to hear the Gospel.

“Church members are very happy and excited for this event,” Morales said, “because people need the message of salvation.”

An increase of crime and violence, Morales explained, has spilled over into some neighborhoods, causing many people to live in fear. “There is a great need [for God] in Mexico City,” he said.

Thousands listened as Franklin Graham spoke. “We’re all guilty of breaking God’s laws,” he explained. “We’ve all sinned and come short of God’s glory.

“The wages of sin is death but God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life (John 3:16, KJV).”

Stepping Out in Faith

Mexico City has a rich history and bustles with activity around the clock.

Saul and Deyanira Vega love the Mexican culture, having served in ministry in Acapulco for 25 years. They live in Los Angeles now, but they traveled with a group to Mexico City to volunteer as prayer team members for the Esperanza Festival.

Saul and Deyanira Vega (far right) brought a group from Los Angeles, California, to serve as prayer volunteers at Esperanza CDMX.

Praying that God would lead them to people whose hearts were softened by the worship music and Franklin Graham’s message, they waited for the Holy Spirit to move.

After the evangelist shared an invitation to commit their lives to Jesus Christ, some in the group prayed with arena workers. Two employees decided to follow Christ for the first time.

Deyanira met Dolores*, an older woman whom seemed anxious at first. When she heard how she could now enjoy a new freedom in Him, “Dolores threw her arms up and started screaming with joy,” said Deyanira. She was ecstatic at Dolores’ decision to begin a new life in Christ.

As the night ended, more than 2,000 other people also surrendered their lives to Christ. Franklin Graham encouraged the crowd to keep pursuing God’s plan for their life.

Are you searching for answers? Find them in God’s truth.

*Name changed to protect privacy.