Evangelist Luis Palau Helps Local Churches Reach 30,000 Young People at Australian Festival
More than 30 years after his first campaign in Newcastle, evangelist Luis Palau returned to help more than 100 local churches reach new generations with the love and Good News of Jesus.
An estimated 30,000 people flocked to Newcastle's Foreshore Park Nov. 17-18 for CityFest--two days of live music, kid-friendly shows and activities, and the gospel message presented nightly by Palau. "I have seldom felt the presence of God in a crowd like I felt tonight," he said after speaking on Saturday.
CityFest included performances by Australian Idol winner Stan Walker, New Zealand rockers Evermore, and praise powerhouses Darlene Zschech and Hillsong. Stunt demonstrations and personal testimonies by extreme sports athletes highlighted the festival's youthful bent.
Palau's son and co-evangelist, Andrew Palau, also shared the stage. By the end of the weekend, several hundred people had made the decision to follow Jesus Christ according to response cards.
Several individuals who came to faith during one of Palau's previous events in Newcastle--then called "crusades"--helped cast the vision for today's model. Jenny Allen, dean of students at the University of Newcastle and chair of counselor training for CityFest, said her role had everything to do with the decision she made at a crusade in 1979.
"My hope and dream for this festival is that in 33 years, someone could be sitting here filming somebody else who remembers the 17th of November the same way we remember '79," Allen said in a video interview. "That they sit here because of the moment in time when they were confronted with the reality of Jesus."
Andrew Cole, pastor at New Vine Baptist Church, oversaw the festival's Kids Zone. Cole accepted Christ as a teenager during a Palau crusade in 1982. "I was a messy, 18 year-old, beer-swilling, rugby-playing young person. When I heard Luis speak, that got my attention," he said. "It's been such a wonderful thing for me to contribute into this festival, knowing that 30 years ago a whole bunch of people gave me the opportunity to hear." UCN
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