There are many events organized in Budapest that have significant news value, with more and more Christian events among them. There was such an event in the BOK Sport Hall at last weekend, on 6th and 7th March named as “It’s Time To Believe Your Life Can Be Changed!” The organizers’ team, consisting of young pastors, had been working hard with the help of many volunteers to prepare this event of large significance.
During the morning and the afternoon there was a Pastors’ and Leaders’ Conference where Pastor Gary Wilkerson and Pastor Tim Dilena had been ministering, and there were evangelistic outreach events at the evenings with the testimony of Nicky Cruz. The conference was attended by 500-600 people – pastors, preachers, ministers and their wives – from several church denominations. At the beginning of each session a new music team of young people led the praise and worship. Afterwards the two speakers encouraged the audience in turns by inspiring, awakening, sometimes shaking messages to examine their former attitudes to ministry. They made the weekend unforgettable.
Gary Wilkerson is the Founding Pastor of The Springs Church (Colorado Springs, CO) and he is the President of World Challenge, an international mission organization that was founded by his father, David Wilkerson. His desire is to encourage and strengthen believers and pastors, and to give them theologically clean Biblical teachings about God. Gary works passionately on providing such tools to Christians as what they can use, to become people of active faith. He is also the leader of the Poverty Solutions mission branch, that is concerned with the feeding of people who live in poverty.
Tim Dilena used to be the Founding Pastor of Revival Tabernacle church in Detroit, Michigan for 30 years. He renovated a movie building for adult films with 900 seats, to create a church facility in downtown. His father, Paul Dilena was the Chief of Police in New York, when David Wilkerson arrived there to help young people who were in gangs. He was the one among the policemen who could see, those young people needed a Savior, and he actively helped the work of that young pastor. Until recently Tim had been the lead pastor of Our Savior’s Church (with 3,000 members) in Lafayette, Louisiana.
At the evening meetings several thousands of people were watching and singing along with the worship teams. The musicians and singers of the Summer Praise and Prophetic School were leading us into the presence of God at the first night, and the worship team of the Pentecostal Music Ministry proclaimed the glory of God in the evening on Saturday.
Probably the most anticipated part of both evenings was, when former gang leader, Nicky Cruz stepped on the stage to graphically proclaim the richness of God’s love, patience and mercy to all people through his own life story. Nicky was born and raised in Puerto Rico. His parents were a satanist priest and a witch, and they regularly held seances in their home. Nicky had repeatedly been a victim of physical abuse during his childhood, and he was rejected by his own parents. He escaped from the abuse to New York in the mid ’50-s, where he soon found himself in the vicious environment of gangs of young people, what was a serious problem in New York those days. Without fear, and seemingly being insensible to physical pain, he became the “warlord” of the infamous Mau Mau gang. Then one day a skinny preacher – David Wilkerson – arrived to the apparent war zone of the streets of Brooklyn, with a message to Nicky: Jesus loves you! At first Nicky gave a death threat to the preacher, but few weeks later at a meeting in St. Nicholas Arena organized for the gangs, he gave his life to God and exchanged his weapons to a Bible. During the last more than fifty years Nicky has been traveling around the world and has been preaching to several millions of desperate people, in order to give them hope. His life story can be read in the bestsellers titled “Run Baby, Run” and “The Cross and the Switchblade”, and can also be watched in the movie with the same title as the second book.
The culmination of the evenings was, when in reply to the encouragement from Nicky, many people came forward to the space in front of the stage, who decided to experience the same love and forgiving mercy of God, and to experience the same life changing miracle what the Bible calls new birth. Several hundreds of people made this decision during the two evenings, but there were some people, who decided to stay at their seats and prayed the sinners’ prayer there. We trust in God, that those decisions will last in many people, and later some of them might become such witnesses of Christ who will encourage others to make the same decision.
Many participants have expressed their gratitude for this extremely valuable and spiritually rich event; and we hope the lives of many people – leaders, pastors, preachers, church members and former non-believers – will become such examples to follow as the lives of Nicky Cruz, Gary Wilkerson and Tim Dilena.
Main Partners of the event: