If time is of the essence, then the timing of the Franklin Graham's Festival of Hope in La Paz, Bolivia couldn’t be more essential.
The Good News will be proclaimed outdoors at the tail end of the rainy season, as summer turns into fall in this South American metro area some 13,000 feet above sea level. A crisp gospel message delivered in the crisp mountain air. But any uncertainty of weather conditions for the March 8-10 evangelistic outreach pales in comparison to the region’s outlook.
“They are not sure about the future,” said Festival of Hope Director Galo Vazquez. “It’s a society in transition at all levels.”
When souls are at stake, there’s never a moment to waste. But in the case of La Paz, those hours seem to be ticking down in slow motion for churches involved. In many ways, the Festival of Hope can’t get here quick enough. Since 2011, there has been a passion to bring a revival to La Paz by local church leaders who dream of the life-changing gospel sparking a fire that turns its city around — and to God.
“They are looking at it as THE time to preach the gospel,” Vazquez said. “There’s a fear or concern that in the near future things may change radically and they won’t have the same freedoms as they have now.”
So churches—by the hundreds—are jumping at the opportunity for a region-wide Franklin Graham Festival, one that firmly unites the churches of La Paz and the neighboring bedroom community of El Alto. To date, more than 800 churches are involved in the Festival, with many booking buses to transport people to the three-day events, many who live up in the mountains of El Alto.
“Right now there is a projection of over 900 buses for the three nights,” Vazquez said.
The three-day event at Rafael Mendoza Castellón—also known as Achumani Stadium—will transform the 15,000-seat soccer stadium into an arena for revival with extra seating. Headline musical artists include Tercer Cielo on Friday, Daniel Calveti on Saturday and Alex Campos on Sunday.
The Tommy Coomes Band along with Dennis Agajanian and the Guitierrez Brothers will set the stage musically — as well as local bands — for Franklin Graham to deliver a Gospel presentation each evening. It’s the second Bolivian Festival for Franklin Graham, who preached in Santa Cruz in 1999.
“It’s been very, very encouraging to see the response of the local churches,” said Vazquez as this year’s Festival of Hope has three times the number of churches involved as Santa Cruz. “Every step. Every initiative. We are very much encouraged.”
In Spanish, follow the Festival de Esperanza Bolivia Facebook page.