Finding ‘Real Freedom’ in Porto

By   •   April 27, 2024

“My friends, Jesus came to save you from eternal separation from God,” Will Graham explained to the crowd of over 6,000 who eagerly filed into Super Bock Arena for Friday’s Celebration of Hope.

On April 25, bright red flowers could be seen nearly everywhere in Porto, Portugal, as people remembered the 50th anniversary of the Carnation Revolution, a peaceful coup that freed the country from dictatorship.

The next evening, Will Graham addressed a crowd of over 6,000 people gathered for the Celebration of Hope in Porto’s Super Bock Arena.

“I am asking you to resign from being your own boss in life,” he said.

The statement struck Matilde* as she listened intently.

“No other king died for you,” Will Graham continued. “Allow Jesus to be the new King in your life.”

>>See photos from the event.

Matilde was one of the first people to make her way to the front of the arena in response to Will Graham’s Gospel invitation.

Her shoulders shook with sobs as she dropped to her knees—her hands raised as she joined him in a prayer to confess her sins and invite Jesus Christ into her heart.

Maria,* a prayer volunteer, offered a comforting embrace and listened as Matilde shared how she wanted to get closer to God.

Maria explained the Good News that God offers us true freedom through a relationship with His Son, Jesus Christ.

“She understood the difference between living with God and living without God,” Maria explained. “She knew that coming to Him was the only way for her to be complete.”

The Best Freedom of All

Lediane Hverio volunteered as a prayer counselor along with her husband and two teenagers.

She spoke with a young man and his friend who came to the event with their pastor.

They both attend church but hadn’t begun a relationship with Jesus Christ yet and wanted that to change.

After leading the two friends through “Steps to Peace With God,” a Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) booklet that explains the Gospel, she prayed with them.

“This is the best decision of your lives,” Lediane said, encouraging them in their newfound faith. She added that she’s excited for them to experience the “best freedom of all.”

“If you are ready for your freedom, if you are ready for redemption, come into the light,” said singer TAYA as she led the crowd in worship. That’s exactly what over 400 people decided to do on Friday night: embrace the Light of Jesus Christ.

What Only God Can Do

“Even if the world can say ‘you are free,’ you know deep inside that you are not free from burdens, from addictions, from traumas,” said prayer counselor Debora Hossi. “But the Gospel says that we can have freedom in Jesus.”

Speaking about the Portuguese people, she said, “Many people from the older generations believe in God but don’t really know the Bible. And the younger generation doesn’t really want anything to do with religion.”

Her prayer for Friday’s outreach was that God would do “what only He can do and move hearts to be changed.”

And that’s what He did in the lives of over 400 people who came forward to receive Jesus Christ into their hearts—including a brother and sister in their early 20’s.

Kornelis—a pastor who drove two hours from Pedrógão Grande, Portugal, to volunteer—prayed with the siblings as they committed their lives to Jesus.

“I am originally from Holland, and we celebrate our own ‘Freedom Day’ there on May 5,” Kornelis shared. “It’s always great to help people know who our Savior is, because the freedom in Him is a freedom that reaches everything.”

*Names changed for privacy.

>>Did you miss the event? Watch a replay of the Celebration of Hope in Porto, Portugal.

Will Graham shared with a full arena about the lasting peace and freedom that Jesus Christ offers all who put their faith in Him.