By Michael Ireland
At the 1957 New York Crusade, Dr. Billy Graham had a one-night meeting just for Spanish-speaking people.
Franklin Graham addresses Hispanic media (Photo: BGEA)
Then, in 1960, Billy had a 3-day crusade, again, in New York City — The Spanish American Billy Graham Crusade, from October 7 to 9, 1960, in what was part of the Madison Square Garden complex.
The international news magazine TIME, dated October 24, 1960, reported at the time: “Fresh from his tent outside Berlin’s Red sector where he wound up his successful German crusade, Evangelist Billy Graham moved into Manhattan’s Madison Square Garden last week. The message of repentance and salvation was much the same as in his New York Crusade three years ago-but the words were different.
” ‘Hispanos, Billy Graham con nosotros,’ the signs proclaimed in buses and stores and the old favorite hymns they sang would have startled many a Bible-belter: The Old Rugged Cross was La Cruz de Jesus, What a Friend We Have in Jesus was Oh, Qué Amigo!, and Wonderful Words of Life was Oh, Contádmelas Otra Vez.
“Billy Graham of Montreat, N.C. was making a special path to New York City’s nearly 1,000,000 Spanish-speaking inhabitants, mostly Puerto Ricans. Of the 43,500 who went to listen to him, 1,139 made ‘decisions for Christ.’”
(Read more at: http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,871769,00.html#ixzz1QJbATvQf)
Now, a generation later, Billy’s son Franklin this past weekend held Spanish speaking meetings (Festival De Esperanza) – Festival of Hope – at The Home Depot Center, in Carson, California, where the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association’s Trevor Freeze says hundreds of Hispanic hearts were warmed and changed forever by the saving power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Some 18,722 people gathered June 25-26 near Los Angeles for the first-ever Franklin Graham Festival de Esperanza. During the two-day event, more than 1,500 responded to the Gospel message.
In his online article for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA), Trevor Freeze says: “It was a night to remember for many Hispanics in southern California.
“And not because of the Mexico-U.S. Gold Cup soccer match at the Rose Bowl.”