Just weeks after a period of widespread political unrest due to the Burkinabe uprising, tens of thousands of people gathered in the heart of Burkina Faso’s capital Ouagadougou for Love Burkina Faso, a collaborative effort between international evangelist Andrew Palau and hundreds of Christian churches to foster hope in the African nation, reports Tim Innes, special for Assist News Service.
Events took place throughout the city December 15-21, and included 28 outreaches for business and government leaders, women, students, and prisoners. The culmination, a two-day evangelistic festival in the heart of the city, included activities for children with evangelist Doug Horley, demonstrations from professional BMX and FMX athletes Vic Murphy and John Andrus, performances from regional, West African artists—including Simon Kologo, Ella Kinda, and Emmanuel Bouaffo—and a clear evangelistic message from Palau.
Photo via assistnews.net
Throughout both days of the festival, people could be seen marveling at the BMX and FMX athletes as they performed high-flying stunts, and leaning over the railing to get a better view of the various festival performers.
After Palau’s message each night, thousands of hands were raised into the air across the crowd indicating thousands of people making decisions for Christ. One thousand five hundred trained counselors were available to help each decision maker further understand the decision they were making.
By the time the festival was over, more than 14,522 decisions for Christ were reported. Some 6,838 of those decisions were recorded during the two-day festival, with an additional 7,684 reported through the 28 other outreach events during the week. Each decision maker, as well as thousands more, received a free copy of the gospel of John, provided by ministry partner Bibles for the World.
Photo via assistnews.net
“This really is a great victory and one that will remain a special legacy,” Luis Palau Association Director of Festivals Tim Innes said. “For Burkina Faso, the best days are ahead. It's been an honor for us to serve with the leaders in this season.”
“Thank you for allowing this festival to take place . . . it was amazing and we hope the Palau team will consider Burkina Faso again in the future,” Pastor Jules Campore, who served as Palau’s interpreter throughout the week, commented.
The campaign also included the participation of dozens of volunteers from around the world who served in various outreach events throughout the week leading up to the festival. They led outreaches in prisons and schools, and helped distribute eyeglasses in clinics throughout Ouagadougou.
The week prior to the festival also included dinners for both women and business leaders, both of which were nearly filled to capacity. A clear gospel message was presented at every opportunity.
“The response to the Good News was remarkable,” Palau shared. “We had people coming up to us asking how to accept Christ and wanting to do so throughout the week— Zacchaeus-like moments.”
The nation is in a state of transition after former President Blaise Compaore was ousted from power at the end of October. Following a period of civil unrest, a transitional government was put in place with a new interim president. Love Burkina Faso was originally scheduled to take place November 15-16, but was rescheduled due to widespread civil unrest.
To help make the reschedule possible, businessman Scott Cahill and Fulcrum Partners from Florida stepped in as a presenting sponsor. Their timely partnership helped with critical last-minute adjustments and expenses necessary to move the festival to December.
“We are privileged to help make the festival possible,” Scott Cahill said. “The work being done by Luis Palau, and continued by his son Andrew, is a critical ministry outreach in a country that is fighting an enormous battle against poverty, human trafficking, crime, disease, and illiteracy.”
Love Burkina Faso marks Palau’s seventh festival in Africa. Other campaigns took place in Bujumbura, Burundi; Addis Ababa, Ethiopia; Dar es Salaam, Tanzania; Kampala, Uganda; Kigali, Rwanda; and Cairo, Egypt. In 2015, Palau will play a crucial role in NY CityServe & CityFest, a large-scale evangelistic campaign in New York City.