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In Manado, Indonesia, the Christian community is thriving. Yet like so many other places around the world, young people are turning away from their faith in record numbers. Distracted by secular culture and worldly influences, they have come to be known as the Lost Generation.
Nearly 8,000 miles across the globe, Andrew Palau knows the story all too well. As the son of renowned evangelist Luis Palau, Andrew spent his childhood watching his father proclaim the gospel around the world. Yet Andrew never believed the message for himself. He lived a life of rebellion until the age of 27, when he finally embraced the truth of the gospel at his own father’s evangelistic campaign in Jamaica.
Since that life-changing decision more than 20 years ago, Andrew has devoted his life to sharing the Good News gospel at every opportunity. Taking the message of Jesus and his own story of redemption to Manado, Andrew had the privilege of joining with hundreds of local believers to accomplish the massive evangelistic festival, Aug. 26-31.
This youth-led campaign took months of planning and prayer. It included the partnership of hundreds of local churches, plus city officials and thousands of Indonesian believers. It also involved international organizations from the United States and Australia. Compassion First, a nonprofit organization with a strong presence in Manado, was instrumental in bringing the campaign to the city and connecting the organization with the right leaders.
Ministry partners Vic Murphy and Jon Andrus, along with others, also joined in the effort, helping share the Good News through action sports at many of the events around the city. Also joining Andrew and the Palau team for the festival were a number of local music groups, including the all-girl group Cherrybelle and pop idol star Sammy Simorangkir. Australian worship leaders Planetshakers, the Salem Baptist Choir from Chicago and Dave Lubben led the crowd in worship.
The result? A sea of people packed MegaMas Field in the heart of the city each night of the festival as the crowds clamored to hear more about the son of Luis Palau, his years of rebellion and his unconventional journey to faith.
At the end of the message each night, people of all ages across the crowd eagerly raised their hands in surrender to Christ and met with decision counselors stationed across the venue. On the second night, an elderly man near the back of the crowd wearing a green Manado CityFest volunteer T-shirt looked on with tears in his eyes as a young boy signed a card indicating his decision for Christ.
By the end of the festival and week of outreach events, more than 3,500 decision cards were received and 7,000 copies of the Gospel of John had been distributed. Many of those who made decisions took to social media to express their joy, with one participant thanking Andrew for “telling us that Jesus still loves us no matter what.”
"I was so blessed at the festival to see so many people accept Jesus and respond to the invitation by Andrew,” festival volunteer Daniel Sompotan says. “It was truly amazing and so beautiful. I could not stop crying.”
Events leading up to the festival included a week of outreach events planned and facilitated by local believers to bring the festival to many levels of society. Festival events began on Aug. 25, with Andrew speaking at a number of church services. Andrew spoke to well over 6,000 people at these services, and following one service, a young university student came up to speak to the Palau team. She had no idea why she had decided to come to church that day, but she claimed that Andrew’s message spoke directly to her and was thrilled to give her life to Jesus.
The next evening was the official opening ceremony for the festival at MegaMas, in which Harley Mangindaan, the vice-mayor of the city, officially welcomed the Palau Association to Manado. The opening ceremony kicked off the Manado CityFest Community Exhibition. The exhibition was designed to attract people to the festival venue, with more than 70 different Christian and non-Christian service organizations that included biker and skateboard groups, punk communities and Manadonese arts and crafts. The exhibition also featured local artists, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, traditional flag-dancing teams and break-dancing competitions.
Throughout the week, events were held at different locations throughout the city, all heavily covered by local media and often featured on the front page of local newspapers. Andrew shared the gospel with students at CampusFest at Sam Ratulangi University and at a smaller-scale version of the festival held at the local prison.
“Even if you spend the rest of your life and die in here, Jesus Christ can revolutionize your life today,” Andrew shared at the prison. “He can bring joy to your life daily and give you confidence about eternity!”
As local churches begin the follow-up process, the Palau Association is finalizing preparations for a countrywide campaign in Ethiopia, widely considered the unofficial capital of Africa. Andrew Palau will lead an outreach in the largest city in Ethiopia, Addis Ababa, in November, while five partner evangelists will lead outreaches in five other influential cities in the country.
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