Love Côte d'Ivoire Festival with Andrew Palau Draws Tens of Thousands for Historic Event
Massive gatherings in Yamoussoukro and San Pedro reach more than 110,000 people with a powerful message of hope
Contact: Chelsea Miller, 239-994-3668
CÔTE D'IVOIRE, West Africa, Nov. 8, 2017 /Christian Newswire
/ -- At the invitation of hundreds of church leaders throughout the nation of Côte d'Ivoire earlier this year, international evangelist Andrew Palau and his team launched a massive 2-year campaign focusing attention on the nation's two capital cities: Yamoussoukro (the political capital), and Abidjan (the economic capital). The campaign, which came to be known as Love Côte d'Ivoire, set its sights on uniting the local churches in order to mobilize the Christian community to serve their neighbors and share their faith in Jesus. Yamoussoukro was the focus of efforts this year, culminating in a week of ministry reaching more than 65,000 people and documenting 15,850 public confessions of faith.
The festival in Yamoussoukro was the result of two years of planning, prayer, and preparation from local pastors and leaders. The nationwide effort has brought more than 325 local churches together in unity so far, with the dream of letting all of Côte d'Ivoire hear the Good News of Jesus Christ.
"God has opened this amazing door for Andrew Palau's ninth African capital city festival," campaign director, Tim Innes, said. "Tens of thousands have already come to know Jesus through this festival, including the outreaches in schools, prisons and special events for women and business leaders. The harvest and the eagerness we've seen has been absolutely humbling."
Andrew Palau responded in faith to the invitation of every major denomination in Côte d'Ivoire under the leadership of Reverend Appolinaire Gboagnon, President of The Federation of Evangelicals.
"When we heard Andrew Palau had accepted our invitation and was willing to come to Côte d'Ivoire two years in a row, it was the best news we had ever heard," President of the Federation Evangelique de CI (Evangelistic Federation of Côte d'Ivoire), Reverend Appolinaire Gboagnon said.
Nine years ago Andrew Palau and wife, Wendy, followed a call to the nations of Africa with plans to bring evangelistic outreaches to ten capital cities in ten years. Two years ago when they accepted the invitation from the church of Côte d'Ivoire they discovered the country held two capital cities. Almost immediately they knew the campaign would not be confined to one year but instead would be part of a two-year, nationwide vision.
In Yamoussoukro, Ivoirians gathered for the final 3-day festival at Jean Paul II, a local sports ground located directly across the street from the Mayor's office. The festival featured a safe and fun kid's zone with bounce houses, games and friendly competitions; a BMX demonstration with sports professionals Vic Murphy, Jon Andrus and Dustin Orem from the United States; a special, kid-friendly Gospel presentation from United Kingdom evangelist Duggie Dug Dug and his team of actors and dancers; and many of Côte d'Ivoire's finest musical artists including Richard Kreme, Mary Sy, Emmanuel Boaffo, Lily Gohilou, and Kone Fontaly as well as Dave Lubben from the U.S.
At each segment of the festival, the Good News Gospel was shared and all were given the opportunity to accept Jesus as their Savior. Each night of the festival drew to its climax as Andrew Palau presented a message of hope, rest and salvation for everyone within ear shot.
As always, in an effort to reach the entire nation with the Gospel, the Palau Association mobilized several Next Generation Alliance (NGA) partner evangelists to reach other cities in Côte d'Ivoire. In San Pedro, the four-day festival saw the same fun events and activities for children and families, and featured Palau Association NGA Evangelists Richard Hamlet, Allan Greene, Reid Saunders, Keith Cook. That event alone saw 47,000 people in attendance with 5,251 public confessions of faith.
"Wendy and I have fallen in love with Côte d'Ivoire," Andrew Palau said. "Every year we serve with believers in a new nation and every year we ask how will we ever find friends and partners that share our vision for the Gospel in the way these do? But then every year we do. I'm so thankful for the Holy Spirit's leading to allow us to serve in Côte d'Ivoire now for two years. The potential this has to impact the nation increases because we get to work with these great leaders for another year."
The Love Côte d'Ivoire Festival in Yamoussoukro is the ninth consecutive African festival with Andrew Palau. Past African festivals have included Cairo, Egypt (2008); Kigali, Rwanda (2009); Kampala, Uganda (2010); Bujumbura, Burundi (2011); Dar es Salaam, Tanzania (2012); Addis Ababa, Ethiopia (2013); Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso (2014); and Lilongwe, Malawi (2016).
Going forward, the Palau teams in Africa and in the United States are excited and expectant for the historic campaign to continue in Côte d'Ivoire, focusing on Abidjan in 2018.
We are all praying now for the hard work of the church to help each decision maker from the festivals. In Yamoussoukro and San Pedro, each one received a Gospel of John (over 100,000 were distributed in partnership with Bibles for the World) and will be followed up with by the local church and one of the 2,346 "friends of the festival" who were trained in evangelism as part of the campaign. To conclude his time in Côte d'Ivoire, Andrew Palau met with 100 church leaders and denominational heads in Abidjan to report on the work in Yamoussoukro and begin the planning for Abidjan in 2018.
For the Palau Association, this year marks the launch of a massive, four-year initiative called 2020: Bless the Nations. The effort sets to expand ministry in every aspect by building the largest global network of evangelists, increasing capacity for citywide evangelistic efforts, helping to foster City Gospel Movements across the world, and broaden the overall, global reach of the Gospel through new media opportunities. The four-year push sets to culminate in a massive year of proclamation in the year 2020.
For more information on Love Côte d'Ivoire and 2020: Bless the Nations, visit www.palau.org