Franklin Graham praised God for his harvest of new believers after the first night of his three-day Blackpool, Lancashire "Festival of Hope" on Friday amidst LGBT protests.
"We had a great first night at Lancashire #FestivalofHope!" shared Graham on social media Friday.
"I shared with the people of Blackpool that God loves them so much that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, from Heaven to this earth to die for their sins," he continued. "I'm thankful for all those who made the decision to put their faith and trust in Christ tonight—the best decision of their lives!"
According to The Christian Post, LGBT demonstrators flew rainbow flags in the city in protest after failing to have Graham's visa revoked prior to the event, which continues through Sunday, September 23, due to his "inflammatory views" towards Muslims and LGBT people.
On Thursday, ahead of the event, Graham compared his visit to Blackpool to his father's 1982 visit. He wrote on Facebook, "I'm glad to be in Blackpool, England, to preach the Gospel at the invitation of 200 area churches. This morning I went down to the historic Blackpool Tower where my father Billy Graham stood back in 1982 when he came here to preach."
"Will you pray this weekend, that many will turn to Jesus Christ and find the hope and peace that only He can give?" he asked.
Despite the protests, including reports that the Blackpool Tower will display rainbow-colored lights in opposition to Graham's visit, and prior hurdles such as Blackpool Transport's decision to pull "Festival of Hope" bus ads and subsequent apology to the LGBT community for running the ads in the first place, Graham hopes "God will move greatly during the evangelistic event."
"My message will be the simple Gospel message: a timeless message of God's hope, love and redemption for all people," Graham said in a statement Friday. "Regardless of the hostility, I plan to preach the Word of God in Blackpool."