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Hope in Puerto Rico

In 2010 the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association partnered with churches in the US territory of Puerto Rico for Mi Esperanza (My Hope). After over a year of preparation 1824 local churches trained over 19,000 Christians living on the island, and on the mainland, to use the three night TV broadcast as a tool for personal evangelism. One of the those trained was 23 year old Alex.

It was Friday night – the second night of the program – Alex was getting ready to show the My Hope broadcast to friends and family members at his aunt’s house in Patillas. Though churches had prepared for a year, it was a moment that God had been preparing for much longer.

Alex was born into a Christian home and grew up in church. However, as he grew older he strayed from the Lord. When he was 19 he moved to Pennsylvania where he got involved with a gang.

“They sent me out for my test,” says Alex. “I was supposed to beat someone up; and if I killed them, I killed them.”

When he was on his way to complete his “test” he passed by a church, and there was a woman singing inside. “I didn’t know why but I started to cry. It was like I hit a wall, and I couldn’t keep walking.”

That day when he was 20 years old, Alex gave his life back to the Lord. He promised to serve Him no matter what. He quit the gang, and began attending a local church.

Fast forward three years later, Alex was living with his aunt in Puerto Rico. He heard about the My Hope project through his cousin, Javier, who was a My Hope coordinator. For seven months before the broadcast Javier trained pastors in the south east of the island how to take full advantage of the My Hope broadcasts. Alex frequently went with Javier as a volunteer to distribute materials or help in any way he could.

When the time for the transmission arrived, Alex was convinced he too had to open his own home. He invited two of his cousins and three others over to his aunt’s house to watch the broadcast on Friday night.

“Some of my friends and family didn’t really believe that I had changed,” said Alex. He said his desire was to explain to them the transformation he had experienced. That night the My Hope program featured the reggaeton star Hector “el Father.” Hector shared that even though he was rich and famous; Jesus had rescued him from depression and suicide. After the program, Alex shared his own story about how God had saved him three years before while he was living in the US. He gave an invitation, and to his surprise, all five of his friends and family raised their hands to accept Christ as their Savior. Alex’s friends and family were just five of the thousands of people all across Puerto Rico who reported making decisions to become Christians through the My Hope project.

Immediately following the Puerto Rico broadcast, despite incredible results, Alex said he was not yet finished. He said he also wanted to share his hope with his friends in the US.

Now through My Hope with Billy Graham, Alex will have the opportunity. My Hope witlh Billy Graham is working on Spanish versions of the training materials as well as a 30 minute program tailored to Hispanics living in America. Coordinators are working and praying to mobilize thousands of Spanish-speaking churches that will have a great impact in their communities.