Lively all-night church services, one-on-one prayer at eyeglass clinics and a message of hope for the entire city helped characterize Haiti's second Fun in the Son Festival with Andrew Palau.
A weeklong evangelistic campaign featuring service outreaches such as eyeglass and medical clinics, prison ministry and events for kids set the pace for the free, open-air music festival Saturday at Champs de Mars.
The high-octane crowd of more than 40,000 people sang and danced along to the music of Haitian and international artists, and cheered as Action Sports athletes performed high-flying stunts. Palau shared a message called "Rest for Your Souls," referring to the rest and redemption found in a relationship with Jesus Christ. "Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom," Palau told the crowd.
Only last year, Champs de Mars was the site of one of the largest tent cities that housed many of those left homeless by the 7.0 earthquake in January 2010. Since the summer of 2012, the park has been under redevelopment and is once again the bustling "living room" of the city.
"The Bible says in Psalm 118:22, 'The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,'" Palau said. "I believe the rebuilding of Haiti will be directly related the issue of whether Jesus Christ will be the cornerstone upon which individuals place their faith and begin their foundation afresh."
Stories of rebuilding and recovery permeated the campaign. The weekend preceding the festival, Palau spoke at Shalom Church, which was completely destroyed in the earthquake. Shortly after, the congregation began to meet on the hillside below their old building. Thousands of hurting people began to attend "the church on the hill." Shalom is now one of the largest churches in the region, with 20,000 people attending regularly. The team also joined Shalom for an all-night prayer rally Friday before the festival.
Hundreds of prisoners in Haiti also had the chance to hear about the freedom found in Jesus Christ as Andrew Palau, musician Dave Lubben, and BMX pro Vic Murphy led outreaches at three prisons in Port-au-Prince, Croix-des-Bouquets and Petionville.
Festival staff received approximately 5,000 responses from the festival, each representing an individual who made a decision to follow Jesus Christ. Over the next few weeks, local volunteers will follow up with each person and help them get connected to a church in their area. More than 600 Haitian churches participated in the outreach.
Fun in the Son is a collaboration between the Luis Palau Association and Haiti Broilers. Haitian President Michel Martelly recently acknowledged the Haiti Broilers as an example of the bold business leadership helping to transform Haiti. Last March, the first Fun in the Son Festival in Port-au-Prince drew more than 30,000 people.