I was privileged to be the pianist for Franklin Graham’s recent National Festival in Latvia. Often I’ll mention traveling to this wonderful country and people will say, “Where is Latvia?” Latvia is in the Baltics and a part of the former Soviet Union. God is doing a mighty work there, and it was truly a privilege seeing lives transformed by the power of the gospel.
Latvia used to be a very dark place, but now the freedom only found in the gospel of Jesus Christ has come, and the light of that same gospel has started to shine through. For over 50 years, Latvia was occupied by the Soviet Union, but in the 1990’s, freedom came. Even though their country was now free physically, believers there knew that true freedom can only be found in a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. As a result they have been praying for a mighty move of God’s spirit, and they showed up by the thousands for the Festival.
Being a part of this ministry is truly an honor. With Michael W. Smith, Dennis Ajaganian, John and Annie Barbour, musicians from all over Europe, and a full orchestra and choir almost one thousand strong, the people were in for a taste of heaven. Scripture says that God inhabits the praise of his people, and His presence was very evident.
As the saying goes, music opens up the heart and the Word fills it. The people’s hearts were opened up by the music, and their hearts were transformed by the life-changing message presented by Franklin Graham.
All aspects of the Festival are incredible, but there are no words to describe the altar call. This is my favorite part of the evening. Just before the end of the sermon, I start playing the invitation hymn “Just As I Am” very quietly, and Franklin gives the altar call. Very soon the choir joins in and we wait for people to respond.
First there is a trickle, and then, before you know it, the altar is full. As if that weren’t enough, I get even more excited when Franklin says,
“I am asking everyone to take a step forward to make room for the others who are still coming to give their hearts to Jesus.”
Wow! What a scene this is, people of all ages with tears streaming down their faces giving their hearts to Jesus in a formerly communist country.
A few years ago if we had decided to have this kind of meeting, all of us would have started a prison ministry . . . and we would have been the inmates. Praise God! What a difference a few years make. As a result of the Festival over 3000 people dedicated their lives to the Lord. Decision magazine has reported incredible stories of lives being transformed, and you can read more at http://www.billygraham.org/articlepage.asp?articleid=6363.
We are called to evangelize the world, and I am honored to be able to serve God in this capacity as a musical ambassador. We can’t take these opportunities lightly. I asked one of the singers from another visiting country about a crusade in his country, but he said the government won’t allow groups to hold this kind of meeting right now. Please continue to pray for Europe that all nations will be open to receive the gospel. God bless you richly.
Rev Huntley Brown, Annette, Natalie, Natasha, Nicole & Nadia