Franklin Graham’s Gospel Message Resonates in Portugal

By   •   April 8, 2018

Woman and man praying in crowd
On Sunday at Lisbon's Festival of Hope, Franklin Graham spent time talking about the misconception of religion. “Religion won’t save you,” he said. “Being a Catholic won’t save you. ... Being a Baptist cannot save you. Being a Pentecostal cannot save you,” he continued. “We have to be born spiritually, and just because we have religion doesn’t mean we have been born spiritually.”

Christians from across Portugal woke up happily tired today after a weekend of watching God answer their prayers.

Happy because a combined audience of more than 27,000 heard about God’s incredible love for them at the Festival da Esperança (Festival of Hope) with Franklin Graham.

Nearly 1,000 people indicated decisions for Christ at the two-day event.

The Festival drew the saved and unsaved from across Portugal to Lisbon’s Campo Pequeno stadium. In a country where evangelicals make up only 3 percent of the population, there’s an uphill battle to share Christ.

But the responses at each service showed the power of the Gospel message to overcome any obstacle.

Franklin Graham and interpreter
Franklin Graham told the people gathered in Lisbon how much he enjoyed being in the beautiful city. “We have enjoyed every minute of it,” he said. “Everywhere we have gone, we have been welcomed.”

On Sunday, Franklin Graham spent a good amount of time addressing the misconception of religion equaling a relationship with Christ.

“Religion won’t save you,” he said. “Being a Catholic won’t save you.

“Being a Baptist cannot save you. Being Pentecostal cannot save you,” he continued.

“We have to be born spiritually,” he said, referring to making a decision to follow Christ.

“Just because we have religion doesn’t mean we have been born spiritually.”

>> See photos from Sunday’s event.

Rodrigues Pereira, former manager of Benfica, one of the most successful soccer clubs in Europe, helped mobilize churches in the area.

“We are breaking barriers. Because many times people don’t understand Christianity,” he explained.

“They don’t understand you have to have a relationship with God. And I think this event [introduces] that idea.”

The Gospel: ‘A Beautiful Message’

Miguel Sousa is Catholic but came to the Franklin Graham Festival at his stepfather’s invitation.

Wheelchair-bound at 52 years old, doctors told him he wouldn’t live past 20 because of his rare muscular disease.

“My disease is hard, very difficult to carry,” he explained.

When Franklin Graham led the prayer of salvation, Miguel joined in.

“I put my face down and also prayed,” he said. “To hear that Jesus Christ died on the cross for our sins touched my heart.

”It was very beautiful to see this (the Gospel) for the first time,” he said.

Excited teens at Festival of Hope
Smiles all around as young people listen to energetic worship music at the Festival on Sunday.

Passing Down a Legacy of Faith

Seeing all the young people who received Christ this weekend was beautiful for Josue Filipe da Ponte, who lead the Youth Leadership Team for the Festival of Hope.

About half of the indicated decisions for Christ over the weekend were children and teens.

“We didn’t expect to see so many children at the event,” he said. “For me, this was like a cherry on top of the cake to see children and teenagers come to Christ. It was very inspiring for the future.”

But it doesn’t end there. The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association will help connect new believers with a local Bible-based church.

That’s key, said Pereira, to let them know a decision for Christ is only the first step.

“You will be in the place where people will love you—the church’s love and the brothers,” he said. “That will help you to have a relationship with God.”

Billy Graham’s Message Continues

The Campo Pequeno arena erupted in applause as Franklin Graham brought up his father Billy Graham. This past weekend’s Lisbon Festival was the first Crusade event since Mr. Graham died.

“My father just passed away a few weeks ago,” Franklin said. “His address now is heaven.”

Just as his father shared God’s love for nearly 80 years, Franklin Graham didn’t leave Lisbon before extending an invitation for the Portuguese people to come to Christ.

“Where will your address be?” he asked. “Will it be heaven?

“Are you sure? Are your sins forgiven?”

After Franklin Graham preached a clear and concise Gospel message four times at the Festival of Hope, many in Portugal are sure today.

Do you know if you’re going to Heaven? Start a personal relationship with Jesus Christ today.


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  1. Kay Danielson says:

    God bless everyone in BGEA and their families. May He continue to bless the ministry as you seek to do His will whenever and wherever. Have listened many times to Dr. Graham on the radio or TV and seen many of the movies your organization has made. We in the world are blessed to be living in an era where the Gospel is so accessible. Bless you and keep on doing what you are led to do. My prayers and in time (soon) finances are with you.

  2. Roberta J Marotta says:

    I love to hear what God is doing through the BGEA. It is a blessing to me. What could be more important than telling people how to have a forever relationship with our Savior Jesus Christ.

  3. Doug Walker says:

    Thank God for your ministry. My wife and I use the My Hope videos in a jail ministry in Gulf Shores, Alabama. They are so powerful. I sent for the new video but was told they were back ordered. Hope to get it soon. God bless you.

  4. Diogo Figueiredo says:

    I just wanna thank God for your mission in Portugal. I was an usher and it was amazing working with you for God! Together in Spirit! Hugs for you all!

  5. Pr. Dionildo Vidal says:

    São Grandes Momentos e Iniciativas como estas que ajudarão a ver a Glória de Deus entre nós Neste Tempo! Quando as diferenças se colocam de lado e juntos em Cristo podemos chegar mais longe!… Há muito que o valorizo e desejo que as diversas Cristandades se unam num só Cristianismo Bíblico onde Todos seremos Mais Fortes, conforme a Sublime Oração de Jesus: “Para que todos sejam um como tu ó Pai os és em mim e eu em ti, que também eles sejam um em nós para que o mundo creia que tu me enviaste” Ev. João 17:21