‘Spiritual Hunger’ Ahead of Celebration of Hope in Portugal

Will Graham is in Portugal ahead of today’s Celebration of Hope. Please pray for all those who hear the Gospel to respond to Jesus Christ.

On April 25, 1974, plans for a Billy Graham Crusade in Portugal came to a halt due to the Carnation Revolution. The coup ended a dictatorship and brought the country greater civil liberties. But in the turbulent aftermath, the outreach was canceled.

Although Mr. Graham never preached in Portugal, he shared the Gospel throughout the country in December 2011 through a home-based film project called My Hope with Billy Graham.

Seven years later, Franklin Graham picked up where his father left off, holding the Festival of Hope in Lisbon, where more than 27,000 people heard the Good News with hundreds surrendering their lives to Jesus Christ.

Now—50 years after the Revolution—Will Graham will be heading to Europe’s westernmost country for the Celebration of Hope in Porto on April 26.

“The timing is quite special,” said Mark Bashford, director of festivals in Europe for The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA). “The Revolution that happened stopped Billy from coming 50 years ago, then Franklin came in 2018, and now Will is coming.”

Bashford is especially excited about the large amount of young people who have shown interest in the upcoming outreach.

“We’ve done a lot of work to reach out to the younger generation,” he shared, believing many young adults will be attending the Celebration. “There is a spiritual hunger.”

In the months leading up to the Celebration, BGEA has hosted 80 Christian Life and Witness Courses (CLWC)—trainings that help Christians grow stronger in their faith and learn to share it with others.  Many of these classes have been offered specifically for young adults.

Over 100 young people attended this Christian Life and Witness Class in Porto, Portugal. Eighty trainings were held around the country to equip youth and adults in sharing their faith ahead of the Celebration of Hope with Will Graham.

In all, BGEA has trained over 2,000 people from more than 100 churches to serve as volunteers at the Celebration.

“These churches represent many different Christian denominations in Portugal,” said Jógvan Zachariassen, who oversees the trainings.

“Many denominations are coming together around the Celebration of Hope as one in Christ for evangelism—that’s a miracle in itself.”

Over 3,500 people have already registered to come to Porto’s Super Bock Arena at 9 p.m. on April 26 when they will hear Graham’s message about how to have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.

The event will be translated into English, Spanish, Mandarin, Russian, and Hindi.

Please join Christians around the world in praying that many will place their faith in Jesus in Porto—and that these new believers would, as Zachariassen puts it, flood into the local churches, “like a breath of fresh air.”