Alejandrina Gutiérrez has lived in the same Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, home for 18 years. Some of her neighbors she has known a long time; some she hasn’t. But she didn’t have to know them well to invite them to her home this weekend for a program proclaiming the good news of Jesus Christ.
Alejandrina and thousands of Christians across this Caribbean nation opened their homes, back yards, roof tops, sidewalks and garages to their families, friends and neighbors as part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s three-day Mi Esperanza (My Hope) project.
The project, which has led millions to Christ in more than 50 countries, trains Christians to invite their friends and neighbors to their homes to watch a 30-minute television program featuring messages from Billy and Franklin Graham and testimonies from local celebrities who are now following Christ. After the program, hosts share their own testimonies and invite their guests to receive Christ.
“I don’t have enough to pay the Lord for what He has done for me,” Alejandrina told the 12 men and women who were crowded into her tiny front room the first night of the program. “That’s why I made a promise to Him when I was very ill that I would give everything to him, all my strength, because He is the one who deserves it.”
“Wouldn’t you like for God to fill your life with peace tonight?” she asked. “Sometimes I feel that I am lying in his hands. He picks me up and takes me high. If any one of you wants to feel this peace, I invite you to come up here right now.”
Seven of her guests immediately stood to their feet and huddled in front of the little television as Alejandrina’s son, 21-year-old Jonathan, led them in a heartfelt prayer for God to forgive their sins and give them peace.
“My youngest son, José, is at another house doing the same thing,” Alejandrina said.
The next night, on another side of the city, Pastor Demetrio Franco watched as neighbors filled the plastic chairs he had placed on the street in front of his church, Centro de Avivamiento y Restauración Familiar (Revival and Family Restoration Center).
Because power outages are common in Santo Domingo, many Christians hosted gatherings in the streets near a business or other facility that could provide generators. Some showed the programs in college arenas, where hundreds gathered to watch.
More than 3,700 churches participated in the My Hope event, and some 40,000 homes participated.
Four people accepted Christ at Franco’s meeting, after hearing a sermon from Franklin Graham dubbed in Spanish.
“I’m rejoicing because right now in Heaven, there is a feast,” Franko said. “When one person comes to the Lord, there is a feast. For pastors, there is not a greater joy than to see people come to Christ.”