Hungary: Franklin Graham’s Festival of Hope (Reménység Fesztivál)
Finally! I had finally made it to the Franklin Graham Festival of Hope a bit early – in spite of all the difficulties encountered earlier in the day. The trolley ride was uneventful, but there was one more hurdle to overcome: I didn’t have a ticket. Fortunately the door was opened to all comers about 15 minutes before starting time; I found a seat and settled in. The seat wasn’t optimal, but I was in.
I had found out about the whole event quite by accident: I simply saw a billboard in Budapest, and thought it would be interesting to attend. I had no idea what to expect; I had never attended a Billy Graham event before.
Franklin Graham is Billy Graham’s prodigal son. He is much like many of us who, attracted to the distractions and pleasures of this world, left the Christian faith as a teen-ager. Then – unlike many of us – at the age of 22 he realized that there is more to life than meets the eye and gave his life to God. From that moment his life changed forever; he was re-born in Christ. He has preached at over 140 revivals in 34 countries to millions of people. And now Franklin Graham was bringing The Good News, the Gospel of Jesus Christ, to Hungary, a land thirsty for revival; and I had an opportunity to experience it firsthand a continent away from home. Coincidence? I doubt it.
The Festival was a three-day event (Friday, Saturday, and Sunday evenings), but my schedule allowed me to attend only Saturday night. The Arena was filled with anticipation as its capacity of 12,500 people waited for the event to start. Many came to hear live performances by world famous Christian musicians and groups. Some came as part of church groups. Others came because they were invited by friends. Still others came because they were just curious or had nothing better to do than go to a free concert.
After opening with a prayer, the worship began in earnest led by some excellent Hungarian musicians and singers. Prayers were offered. Moving testimonies were presented, including testimonies by a group of criminals serving the Lord in prison after having accepted Jesus while incarcerated.
Then there was more great worship music; everyone in the Arena joined in. To this day – weeks after the event – I still vividly recall everyone singing Chris Tomlin’s great anthem “How great is our God” with one voice – in English! I’m still moved by the memory of the joyful noise everyone made to The Lord as one in worship.
Then Franklin Graham presented the Gospel:
- All men have fallen short of God’s standards and have sinned.
- The price of sin is death and eternal separation from God.
- But Christ Jesus has paid the price for our sin when He died on the Cross on our behalf. He now offers each of us the free gift of reconciliation and eternal life with God that He purchased on our behalf with His life.
- All we have to do is accept His free gift by accepting Him in our hearts as our personal Lord and Savior, and we will be reconciled to God forevermore. Our sins will be forgiven. Come, come and taste the joy of the Lord! Accept the free gift of salvation offered by Jesus Christ.
- Come! No ritual is acceptable. No church membership provides validation. Your spiritual heritage is immaterial. All that matters is a heartfelt, very personal relationship with the Creator Himself – freely offered. Come!
And after he presented the Gospel, he invited those who wished to accept Christ Jesus as their personal Savior to come forward. About a third or more of the auditorium crowded up front ready and anxious to respond. Four thousand salvations in one evening! What a glorious event. What a bountiful harvest.
Clearly this is a land thirsty for revival. Praise God!
 For more details simply search the internet for “reménység fesztivál”. You will be provided links to videos of Michael W. Smith, The Casting Crowns, and other great participating worship leaders as well as to other parts and details of the event. Some of these links are: