21 May 2014
Manado CityFest Press Release
In Manado, Indonesia, the Christian community is strong. Contrary to popular belief, many churches are thriving. Yet, like so many other places around the world, young people who have grown up in the Church are turning away from the 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, he spent his childhood watching his father unashamedly proclaim the Gospel around the world. Yet, Andrew never believed the message for himself and at the age of 18, he left home to pursue all the world had to offer. It wasn't until the age of 27, at one of his own father's evangelistic campaigns in Jamaica that he turned away from his rebellion, embraced the truth of the Gospel for the first time, and began following Jesus Christ.
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, Christian leaders, and international partners to accomplish a massive evangelistic festival, August 26-31. Local leadership, including top denominational leaders, international service organizations, and city officials, recognized the unique opportunity for Andrew and the team and did all they could to pave the way for this region-wide campaign.
This youth-led campaign took months of planning and prayer. It included the partnership of hundreds of local churches and thousands of Indonesian believers. It also involved international organizations from the United States and Australia. Compassion First, a non-profit organization with a strong presence in Manado, was instrumental in bringing the campaign to the city and connecting LPA 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, Salem Baptist Choir from Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, and Dave Lubben led in worship.
The result – a sea of people packed MegaMas Field in the heart of the city each night of the festival as the crowd 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. Decision counselors were equipped with copies of "Growing Faith," which includes the Gospel of John and other devotional material translated into the local language. 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, while a teenage boy nearby clutched his new "Growing Faith" booklet to his chest.
By the end of the festival and week of outreach events, thousands of decision cards were received and 7,000 copies of "Growing Faith" had been distributed. Many of those who made decisions took to social media to express their joy, with one in particular 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 said. "It was truly amazing, and so beautiful. I could not stop crying."
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 August 25 with Andrew speaking at a number of church services. After one service, a young girl came up to speak to the Palau team and shared that she was a new university student in the city. She had no idea why she had decided to come to church that day, but was thrilled to give her life to Jesus.
The next evening was the official opening ceremony for the festival at MegaMas, in which the vice-mayor of the city officially welcomed the Palau Association to Manado. The opening ceremony also kicked off a community exhibition with over 70 different Christian and non-Christian service organizations and community groups represented. It also featured local artists, 3-on-3 basketball tournaments, traditional flag dancing teams and break dancing competitions. The exhibition was designed to attract people to the festival venue.
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 country-wide 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.