FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. (AP) As college students celebrated spring break, Christians sponsored a giant admission-free beach party led by Argentine-American evangelist Luis Palau.
Organizers said Beachfest'' offered spiritual highs from Palau's sermons, Christian rock music, a huge skate park and chances to chat with Miami Dolphins wide receiver Cris Carter, Florida Marlins pitcher Braden Looper and golfer Bernhard Langer.
Kids are looking for the real thing and not being pushed around by culture,'' said Palau, 68. They have more of an awareness of ethics and morals. That has switched from 30 years ago.''
Palau said the war in Iraq creates a ripe moment for spiritual discussion. People are thinking, 'Life is tough,''' he said.
During the festival, 1,200 visiting college students built homes with Habitat for Humanity and cleaned up graffiti and trash.
The evangelist was mentored by Billy Graham but three years ago switched from conventional rallies to informal festivals that are less intimidating for people who don't attend church regularly.
Each year he holds four to six such events in the United States and abroad.
Palau was invited by Fort Lauderdale community leaders and 1,100 churches. The event cost $2.2 million.
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