They rushed to the stage.
Before Will Graham even finished his invitation to the people gathered for the second day of the Celebration of Hope in Phuket, Thailand, many started pouring forward to publicly accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.
“I’m here to tell you that Jesus is alive, and He’s here to rescue you tonight,” Will Graham said Saturday. “It’s a gift. All you have to do is receive it—you receive it by putting your trust in Jesus Christ.”
And receive it they did.
On the second evening of the three-day evangelistic event, Will focused his message on a Bible verse that succinctly summarizes the Gospel:
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” —John 3:16
While explaining the gift of salvation to the approximately 2,000 people gathered on the island in southern Thailand, Will shared his own testimony of accepting that gift at the age of 5.
“I did not understand everything in the Bible, but I understood that I was a sinner. And I understood that Jesus died on the cross for my sin,” Will recalled.
God worked through that testimony to draw another young boy to Himself Saturday night. The first person to boldly come forward to respond to the Gospel was 10-year old Alex.
The young Thai boy came to the Celebration with his aunt and cousins, who have been attending a Christian church in Phuket. But Saturday was the first time Alex heard the Good News of Jesus Christ, and he didn’t want to let another day—or moment—pass by until he accepted the gift of salvation.
“I want to be forgiven,” he said.
After talking with a prayer volunteer, he received a booklet containing the Gospel of John in Thai—the first portion of Scripture he’s ever owned.
Alex wasn’t the only young person to make the decision to follow Christ Saturday night. More than half of those who came forward on day two of the Andaman Celebration of Love were between the ages of 10 and 18.
“It’s not easy for the youth in Thailand to be Christians, but they’re so innocent and haven’t experienced much [of Buddhist traditions] yet, so it’s good to introduce them to Christ,” explained Supaporn Kaynanun—a prayer volunteer from a local church on the island’s west coast.
The prayer volunteer, a young believer herself, expressed feelings of happiness and hope after seeing so many young people respond to the Gospel—including the 12-year-old girl she prayed with after she heard the Good News for the first time.
The young people who courageously made decisions for Christ Saturday night enjoyed an energetic lineup of musical worship led by the Christian bands HISPOP, W501 and Hymn. Those in the crowd danced, waved their hands and captured the excitement on their cellphones—unintimidated by the occasional flashes of lightning and rumbles of thunder in the distance throughout the evening.
Aside from the lightning and thunder, day two of the Celebration proceeded as scheduled, despite rain forecasts through the weekend. For a second night in a row, the Prince of Songkla University stadium stayed dry even as surrounding regions were drenched. A government event about 20 minutes away from the venue was shut down due to the intensity of the rainfall.
“I want to thank all the people who have been praying to keep the rain away,” Will Graham said. The crowd responded with clapping and cheers.
“[God] created the lightning and the thunder that we heard tonight,” Will later added. “And God made you.
“It doesn’t matter how young or how old you are—you have to make the decision to follow Christ.”