‘I Need to Repent’: Many in Yuma Turn to God

By   •   March 8, 2024

Hundreds responded to the Gospel in Yuma, Arizona, the second to last stop on the God Loves You Frontera Tour.

Before the start of the ninth stop of the 10-city God Loves You Frontera Tour, Galilea Martinez snapped selfies with family and friends to mark the occasion in Yuma, Arizona.

“No artists come here,” 21-year-old Martinez said, referencing her city along the U.S.-Mexico border. “We’re hoping to get hyped up!” she exclaimed, ready to worship with international singers Taya and Marcos Witt.

Martinez was anticipating Thursday evening’s evangelistic event with Franklin Graham. She had trained to serve as a prayer volunteer at the Yuma County Fairgrounds and was ready to help when people came forward to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ.

“We know Yuma is on the brink of something great,” she said. “Maybe today is the day that someone will accept God.”

And she was right. In fact, hundreds did just that.

“Lord Jesus, as we sit under Your open sky, may we be aware of You in a whole new way,” Taya prayed before leading the audience in worship.

‘You Have a Choice’

Just after the sun dipped below the horizon in Yuma, known for being the sunniest city on Earth, Franklin Graham shared a Bible story from Daniel 5.

He told of how a righteous man named Daniel interpreted a hand’s mysterious writing on a wall as God’s judgment on wicked King Belshazzar.

“You have a choice tonight,” Franklin Graham told the crowd of 7,600, many of whom were bundled up in jackets and blankets on the lawn. “You can accept Jesus, or you can be like Belshazzar—you can just sit there. Come to Jesus tonight. Be set free. Be forgiven.”

Filing into lines to go and stand in front of the stage, hundreds moved to commit their lives to Christ.

One man walked up with his friend. Unable to contain his excitement, he hugged his newfound brother in Christ. Another lady with pink hair raised her hands in complete surrender to God. To the right of them, Jim Simpson stood with his hands clasped in prayer.

Simpson, the lead pastor of Imperial Community Church in Imperial, California, was visibly moved by the massive response.

“It tugs your heart,” Simpson said. “If you don’t get moved by that, you’re not alive.”

“Believing and having faith in Jesus Christ is only the start of the Christian walk,” Simpson said. “I’m praying as they step forward, it’s not the first and only step, but it’s one of many steps.”

Alongside his Spanish interpreter, David Ruiz, Franklin Graham boldly told people how to have a relationship with Jesus Christ.

‘I Need to Repent’

Nearby, Jacqueline* understood that.

“I need to repent,” she said.

Jacqueline had made the decision to follow Christ as a child but said she had walked away from Him and gone down “the wrong path.” Thursday night, she rededicated her life to Him.

“It’s something that’s been on my heart for a long time, but I’ve never come forward or had the guts to do,” Jacqueline said. Her 12-year-old son, Andrés*, walked with her to the front and prayed to follow Christ as his Savior.

“I want to be good with God for myself, for my kids,” Jacqueline said. “I want to teach them God is the right way.”

She recalled how when she was pregnant with her son, she had a placental abruption. The doctors said only a miracle would save him. She prayed and prayed, and he was born with no complications. On Thursday, Andrés had a new birthday—a spiritual one.

“I know Jesus’ way is better,” said the seventh grader, who was especially excited to get a Bible since he didn’t have one at home.

Yuma is a new territory and a new beginning for Jacqueline, who had recently moved to the nearby border town of San Luis from Michigan. She could clearly see how God was giving her a fresh start.

“It doesn’t change overnight by me making a commitment with God,” she said, teary-eyed, “but it’s life-changing.”

*Names changed for privacy.

A crowd of 7,600 came out to the God Loves You Frontera Tour stop at the Yuma County Fairgrounds on Thursday night.

Will you pray for all the new believers on the God Loves You Frontera Tour?