Brent Liebe, the local missionary who helped coordinate the Love Malta Festival last week, gave us hearty, and tearful goodbye hugs. His last words to us were, “Thank you for coming to show God’s love. You have changed a whole nation!”
Over 5,000 people heard the gospel presentation during the week-long outreach and 119 made first-time decisions to follow Christ. Nearly 100 volunteers from local Maltese churches were trained to share their faith and 60,000 were reached by radio broadcast. That doesn’t sound like dramatic results until you consider that there were only an estimated 800 evangelical Christians in Malta before we arrived. With the new decisions, the believers have increased their number by 15% in one week!
One man who accepted Christ on Saturday night, when Reid spoke at the festival, came to his first Sunday morning church service where Reid was speaking. He brought his whole family with him. When Reid gave an altar call, extending the opportunity to follow Christ, this man’s wife and children received Christ also! It was so encouraging to witness their decision and see trained volunteers reach out, embrace, and pray with these new believers in Christ!
Malta is a small, independent island nation strategically located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, with a rich culture and history extending back thousands of years. In the last 20 years, the Catholic Church in Malta and throughout Europe has declined dramatically, leaving a spiritual vacuum. Once the pillar of the community, cathedrals have become museums of art and empty religious tradition. The evangelical Christian church has seen minimal growth in the last few years, but something has recently changed. The Christian pastors, now sensing a new outpouring of the Spirit, repeatedly told us that their members have been dramatically energized and have adopted a completely new mindset for reaching their nation. New, exciting opportunities for ministry are presenting themselves daily because of the festival. Local government officials are now calling on the Christian church for help. Praise God!
Brent, now in his third year of ministry in Malta, told us that change comes slowly to the island and its people traditionally react much differently than in other parts of the world. We learned, in their culture, it is unheard of for someone to raise their hand and make a public declaration to receive Christ. It is also considered offensive to visit a friend’s home without a month’s notice. So yes, in the span of seven days, a nation has been remarkably changed by God’s message of love and redemption, a small team of Christ followers, and many people faithfully praying for revival.
Reid Saunders Association partnered with LifeLight and seven Maltese evangelical churches to produce the Love Malta Festival, September 2017.