It’s been nearly a year since a massive earthquake devastated Haiti. The 7.0-magnitude quake struck on January 12 near Port-au-Prince, the capital city. At least 52 aftershocks measuring 4.5 or greater were reported within the next two weeks. The Haitian government reported that an estimated 230,000 people died, 300,000 were injured, and 1,000,000 made homeless
Samaritan’s Purse immediately responded to the disaster, and in the following months provided hope for more than half a million Haitians through emergency relief, feeding, medical, clean water and sanitation, rubble removal, maternal health, and shelter programs.
On Sunday, Samaritan’s Purse President Franklin Graham will bring eternal hope to Haiti when he proclaims the Gospel at the National Soccer Stadium in Port-au-Prince.
The Festival of Hope is being conducted by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. According to the BGEA, 493 churches representing 93 denominations throughout Haiti joined together to invite the organization to conduct the event.
“This country is still struggling, even though there have been some great things that have happened this past year,” said Graham, also the president of the BGEA. “We want to do everything we can, not only to help the people of Haiti, but to reach them with the Gospel of Jesus Christ.”
The message could impact a vast audience. The stadium can seat more than 15,000, and tens of thousands of people living in makeshift camps around the stadium will be able to hear the event. The Festival of Hope also will be available to a worldwide audience via the internet. A live webcast of the Festival will be shown on this site beginning at 1:30 p.m. Eastern time.
“It's very important right now, the message of hope,” said Vladimir, a local pastor who lost his wife and daughter in the earthquake. “The people of Haiti need hope. That's the reason why it’s important to have the festival. Not only a festival but a festival of hope.”
The webcast opens at 1:30 p.m. Eastern with interviews and video reports of the work done in Haiti by Samaritan’s Purse and the BGEA. The Festival, scheduled to begin at 2:30, features music by Michael W. Smith, LeCrae, the Tommy Coomes Band, and Dennis Agajanian in addition to the Gospel message.
The BGEA responded to the crisis in Haiti by sending chaplains to help victims deal with their emotional and spiritual stress. Trained chaplains have comforted and prayed with more than 17,000 people that have lost friends and loved ones or been injured by the earthquake. The organization has also held five training sessions to equip local churches for outreach.