Daniel Calveti is not one to downplay his excitement.
In fact, just mention the name “La Paz” and the Latino musician doesn’t hesitate to tell you all about the Franklin Graham Festival over a year ago in Bolivia. He’ll even show you pictures, if you have time.
“Oh man,” Calveti’s voice raises an octave, “that day was awesome.”
Calveti, who was the Saturday night headliner for the 2013 Festival of Hope at Rafael Mendoza Castellón in La Paz, stuck around long after his worship set was over because, well, evangelism is at the heart of everything he does. And seeing souls saved is what he’s all about.
“You could see the Holy Spirit working on people,” he continued. “Many, many people receiving Jesus, just crying. I was taking pictures. … It was very emotional.”
And coming off a rigorous 10-day concert tour in Peru, straight into the Bolivian mountain town, he was exhausted and in need of a recharge. But when more than 2,000 people flooded the stage area that night to make a decision for Christ, it was a welcome reminder.
This is what it’s all about.
“That’s my favorite part, when Franklin Graham during his sermon said, ‘in a few minutes I’m going to do an invitation,’ ” Calveti said. “To watch that many people, especially in Bolivia—even before he gave the invitation, people started to come forward—you know that’s God there touching people. You can feel the wind of the Holy Spirit.”
And that’s exactly why Calveti is coming to El Paso, Texas, from his hometown of Caguas, Puerto Rico, the weekend of April 5-6. To help spread the Gospel and the hope that lives within him.
“I know people are hungry for God and hungry for the Good News,” he said. “They’ve been listening to bad news and we need good news and this Festival will be great news.”
Calveti’s life work has been dedicated to spreading this Good News of Jesus. Not only is he an accomplished musician—he’s one of the top Christian artists in Puerto Rico and was nominated for three GRAMMY awards—Calveti is also one of the pastors in his church.
“Fruit of the Vine,” Calveti explained the name of his church. “Or Fruto de la Vid,” in Spanish. Calveti preaches at one of the nine Fruit of the Vine churches his father has planted—five in Puerto Rico, along with Orlando, Atlanta, West Palm Beach and Costa Rica.
Born in Venezuela, he spent his teenage years in Houston before moving in 1995 to Puerto Rico, which he calls home with his wife Shari and three children.
“I love leading worship,” said the 36-year-old. “But I see myself as more of a pastor now.”
When he’s not traveling for concerts—basically twice a month—Calveti along with his wife are fully immersed in serving at the church. Together, the couple teaches a monthly marriage class. Calveti leads worship and preaches on average twice a month. And Shari leads a Tuesday morning women’s Bible study called “Coffee with Jesus.”
“I love to work with newborn believers,” he said. “I just want to be part of what God is doing.”
And on April 6 that will include performing at Don Haskins Arena on the campus of the University of Texas-El Paso. Calveti, along with Michael W. Smith and the Mariachi Isai, will be providing the music for the Festival of Hope’s final night. Saturday’s event will feature Thousand Foot Krutch along with Christian rappers Flame and Funky—all in preparation for Frankin Graham to share the Gospel of Jesus.
“I have a lot of expectations of what will happen,” said Calveti, who will be singing in Spanish. “I’m glad we’re going to El Paso. I think it’s going to be a great opportunity to spread the love of God in music in both Spanish and English.
“Every time we do concerts in El Paso a lot of people from Juarez come to it. It only takes 10 minutes to cross the bridge. Latinos are going to cross the border because they need hope.”
And with Franklin Graham’s message translated into Spanish from the stage, there will be no language barriers keeping God from working.
“It’s a bilingual experience,” Calveti said. “I don’t see any limits. God can touch anyone—in Spanish or in English.”