RIVERSIDE, Calif., August 16, 2011—What do a pastor, a young pro-surfer, and a 94-year-old former Olympian and WW II vet have in common?  This past weekend, each one of them—Greg Laurie, Bethany Hamilton, and Louis Zamperini—spoke to crowds gathered at Angel Stadium for the 2011 Anaheim Harvest about their shared faith in Jesus Christ.

Hosted by more than 215 churches, from Riverside to Irvine to Temecula, the Harvest Crusades with Greg Laurie marked its 22nd year of evangelistic outreach in Orange County, Calif. with a three night event, August 12 – 14.  The 2011 Anaheim Harvest drew a diverse crowd of 115,000 people from 34 states and 11 countries, all of whom gathered to listen to top Christian music from artists like Kutless, Jeremy Camp, Francesca Battistelli, Jars of Clay, Red, and Phil Wickham, and to hear the faith stories of Hamilton and Zamperini.  But most important was the message of salvation presented by Riverside, Calif. pastor and evangelist Laurie each evening.

Speaking to a crowd of 45,000 gathered on Sunday evening—many of them 25-years-old or younger–Laurie addressed the theme, “Home Before Dark,” drawing on the biblical parable of the prodigal son.  This is a story that Jesus tells that illustrates how we are like this boy, running from God.  “When I was a boy, my mother used to tell me to get home before dark,” said Laurie.  “My mom was the prodigal daughter, but she came back to the Lord before she died.  She made it home before dark.”

Laurie continued, “Don’t put off your decision to come to know God–you don’t know if you’ll have a tomorrow.  Tonight is your night to get right with God or to come back to Christ.  You can get home before dark.  If you want Jesus Christ to come into your life, he will tonight.”

By the end of the 2011 Anaheim Harvest, 11,905 people at Angel Stadium accepted Laurie’s invitation to put their faith in Christ, while another 376 made the same decision via an online broadcast of the Harvest Crusades.

Apart from the crowds gathered at Angel Stadium, the 2011 Anaheim Harvest was broadcast on the internet, where people from 50 states and 63 countries around the world watched the Harvest outreach.  Online viewers connected with the live webcast 404,222 times and over 1.3 million times overall (live and archived). In addition, 376 webcast viewers filled out online cards indicating that they prayed with Laurie to make a commitment of faith.  All three evenings of the Harvest outreach are archived and available for viewing at www.harvest.org.

“Behind the scenes” updates from Greg Laurie were posted on his blog at blog.greglaurie.com, as well as on Twitter at twitter.com/greglaurie and on Facebook at facebook.com/harvest.greglaurie.

Greg Laurie, who founded the evangelistic Harvest Crusade events in 1990, also serves as senior pastor of one of the largest churches in the U.S., Harvest Christian Fellowship, which has campuses in Riverside and Irvine, Calif.  During the past 22 years, the Harvest Crusades have drawn some 4.2 million people to events in the U.S., Canada, Australia, and New Zealand.  Laurie also serves on the board of directors for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

The final 2011 Harvest Crusade event is scheduled for Dodger Stadium in Los Angeles on September 10.  For more information, go to http://la.harvest.org/.

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