If you were in Moratuwa, Sri Lanka, Feb. 7-9, it was nearly impossible to avoid the Good News of Christ. Just about everywhere you looked in this suburb of Sri Lanka’s largest city, Colombo, you could see signs of the Celebration of Grace with Will Graham.
Christians—who make up only 6 percent of Sri Lanka’s population (less than 1 percent are evangelical)—came together as one Body to proclaim the Gospel to their neighbors in this largely Buddhist nation. Church leaders said the unity fostered by the Celebration was crucial for Christian witness. “We can show that we are united,” said Thusitha Edirisinghe, who works with Child Evangelism Fellowship and served on the Celebration’s executive committee. “We are one Body, and God is among us. It is very good. Praise be to God.”
In the days leading up to the Celebration, believers handed out nearly 25,000 invitations to the meetings. Some said they invited several neighbors and co-workers. Others had gone through their entire neighborhood with invitations. And some passed out fliers at the Moratuwa Railway Station, where thousands of workers converge both morning and evening on their daily commute.
Volunteers also set up poles with Christmas lights for many blocks leading to the grounds of Moratumulla Methodist Church, where the Celebration was held. You could simply follow the trail of lights and end up at the Celebration.
In fact, you didn’t even need to come all the way to the church grounds to hear Will Graham’s Gospel message. For many blocks around, you could hear Will’s voice booming loud and clear over loudspeakers that had been installed on the streets in a radius of more than 1 kilometer.
People packed the church grounds, which had been equipped with several large screens, so that nearly every inch of the property yielded a good view–even for those sitting on the far side of the various buildings on the campus.
God used the message to draw hundreds to salvation. One 55-year-old woman,who came with a friend who has been witnessing to her, said that after hearing Will, she realized a personal relationship with God. Her friend was overjoyed to see her repent of her sins and receive Christ by faith: “I’m so glad I’ve done something for God,” she said.
A 28-year-old man came forward on the first evening and committed his life to Christ. He told a Celebration counselor: “Now I know that Jesus is the One who died for me, and I can trust Him to set me free. I’m going with Jesus, and I’m saying goodbye to my addiction.”
Anura Perera, superintendent of the Methodist Church and executive chairman of the Celebration, said the churches are not about to let their newfound unity slip away. Plans are already in the works for continued cooperation in evangelism. “I think Will Graham initiated that,” Perera said. “We can thank God for that.”