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    More than 13,200 people gathered for an evangelical outreach led by Franklin Graham in Milan over the weekend. The Billy Graham Evangelical Association (BGEA) revealed that over 520 local churches worked together to plan and pray for the Noi Festival on October 29. It was the first time in Italy’s history that hundreds of evangelical churches coordinated with each other, resulting a record-breaking audience hungry for God’s Word, reports

    “There are many people here with hungry hearts, many who have been searching for peace in their lives,” Graham, president and CEO of BGEA told the standing-room-only crowd at the Mediolanum Forum. “I’m here to tell you that God loves you, and you can find that purpose for your life by putting your faith and trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. He came from heaven to this earth to save us from our sins.”

    I’m here to tell you that God loves you, and you can find that purpose for your life by putting your faith and trust in God’s Son, Jesus Christ. —Franklin Graham at the Noi Festival in Milan, Italy

    The son of legendary evangelist Billy Graham gave a gospel invitation and over 700 people made the decision to follow Jesus Christ. BGEA said 36% of those new followers were between ages 10 and 25. Each new believer talked and prayed with a trained counselor. They will be connected to a local church to help them grow in their new faith.

    “I shared this evening that whatever mountain is in front of you—Jesus Christ is the answer,” Graham continued. “All you need to do is be willing to turn from your sins & by faith & repentance, accept Him into your heart & life. We praise God for those who made the decision to take that step tonight!”

    COVID-19 became the bridge between Graham and Italy; the Lombardy region became the epicenter of the pandemic in 2020. The Christian humanitarian organization Samaritan’s Purse, also led by Graham, was the first international aid agency to provide emergency medical relief efforts.

    Samaritan’s Purse set up an Emergency Field Hospital and deployed a disaster assistance response team to Cremona, near Milan. Doctors, nurses and medical staff from five countries served Cremona Hospital for two months. Since then, Samaritan’s Purse cooperated with other COVID- 19 relief operations in the region.

    “What a night! Both @SamaritansPurse & @BGEA have close ties w/Italy where we deployed a field hospital to Cremona when it was the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic in 2020,” wrote Graham on Twitter. “Tonight, it was my privilege to preach the Gospel at the Mediolanum Forum in Milan at the #NoiFestival.”

    Graham’s organization inspired local churches to come together to share the Gospel. The cooperation among hundreds of local churches didn’t stop at the Noi Festival. Italian pastors vowed to continue their work for future events.

    “Pastors in the north part of Milan are praying with pastors in the south,” said Gerry Testori, a festival committee member. “This is a blessing for our nation.”