Darkness closed in on Manila and it became hard to see beyond the blinding floodlights aimed at the stage. As I took the podium alongside my interpreter, we knew that though we could not see them, God had drawn tens of thousands to Rizal Park to hear the hope of the Gospel.
Some sat on plastic patio chairs; others sat on the ground. Several brought their dinner with them to feed their families from large containers spread on blankets as they listened to the music and message.
This was the final night of our Metro Manila Celebration in the Philippines in February. Standing on the same steps where my grandfather stood to preach in 1977 and my father in 2006, I proclaimed the same simple, timeless message of salvation through the finished work of the cross through Christ’s death and resurrection.
It’s difficult to adequately explain the scene that unfolded as my invitation went out for the crowd to respond, to repent, and to begin a relationship with Jesus. From the far corners of Rizal Park, people moved from darkness and into the light, both literally and spiritually. The first came running, passionately ready to embrace the Savior. After that, the trickle became a heavy flow as a river of people clogged the open spaces and spread from one end of the grandstand to the other.
Though we trained thousands of counselors to answer inquirers’ questions and walk alongside them as they made a decision for Christ, they were outnumbered by the sheer volume of people who came to say “Yes!” to Jesus. Some of the counselors were talking and praying with five or six people at a time!
Earlier in the week our team traveled to an area called Pangasinan. Located northwest of Manila, Pangasinan is the third largest province in the Philippine Archipelago. There I spoke in the Narciso Ramos Sports Complex in Lingayen.
When we came to the invitation, a young shirtless man was the first to respond. He ran forward with a huge smile on his face, clapping his hands like a marathoner crossing the finish line. He had been introduced to the Savior and couldn’t wait to take hold of that hope.
As the crowd of inquirers filled the open area in front of the stage to capacity, there arose a commotion to the right. Like the New Testament story of the men who tore a hole in the roof to get close to Jesus, people had broken through a barricade and were now pushing towards the side of the stage because there was no more room in the front. Such was their desire to know the eternal hope of the Savior!
God, in His mercy and faithfulness, provided an “abundance of salvation” (Isaiah 33:6, ESV) and the harvest was plentiful. All told, nearly 150,000 heard the Gospel, and many thousands made life-changing decisions for Christ.
Even as we give thanks for this glorious movement of the Holy Spirit in the Philippines, we are looking ahead to what God has in store for the coming months. In May, I will proclaim the Gospel in Kaua‘i, Hawaii, a place that has been deeply impacted by recent natural disasters. Later this year, I will hold a tour of three cities in Montana—Helena, Hamilton, and Great Falls—to share the hope of Christ.
Meanwhile, in coming weeks, my father will lead evangelistic meetings in Cúcuta, Colombia, a city on Colombia’s border with Venezuela. Then he will begin a seven-city tour of America’s Northeast, from Maine south to upstate New York. Please join us in asking God to work in the hearts of people in each of these places.
My friends, the incredible response in the Philippines—and the upcoming evangelistic outreaches in Colombia and the United States—would not be possible without you and your partnership in the proclamation of the Gospel through sacrificial support and fervent prayer. Many will live out their days with hope rather than heartache, and will spend eternity with the Savior, because of you.
I pray that one day in Heaven, you will be able to fully see the eternal impact of your generosity. Thank you for encouraging us and for blessing many around the world as they respond to Jesus.
May God richly bless you,