Stadium 2022

A Miracle Come True

After the pandemic, and all the uncertainties, in the midst of a war nearby and an economic recession, on July 23rd, 2022, we were finally able to get together in Puskás Arena to praise our Lord and Creator and to fellowship with one another.

Our hearts are grateful that after a two-year delay, a period of long preparation and hopeful waiting, we could have this special event celebrating the 20th anniversary of This is the day! There were more than forty thousand people present from over thirty nations, coming from all over the Carpathian basin and the wider region.

Despite the sweltering heat, many were there from the very beginning, in fact, the sound of praise could be heard on the special trains and buses headed to the event. As the afternoon turned into evening, the bleachers were filled, and after a short and refreshing rain, all were thrilled to sing to God, listen to the inspirational thoughts being shared, and pray in unison for peace, and for the spiritual renewal of Hungary.

At this convention, all denominations were present with one accord, from the Catholic Church to Faith Church, from Lutherans and Calvinists to Baptists and Pentecostals as well as the members of numerous smaller fellowships. We have always placed special importance on being interdenominational, so we organized the program with the intention of involving representatives of the various denominations.

The program consisted of musical performances by well-known national and international Christian musicians, with short messages in between. Several of the performers have stood by our movement in the past twenty years, for instance, Noel Richards from Britain, who organized a similar worship event in Wembley Stadium in 1997. Martin Smith returned to us after taking our Roadshow to 23 cities, and we were especially thrilled that he was accompanied by Stu G, the guitarist of Delirious?. We heard upbeat gospel melodies performed by the London Community Gospel Choir and Noel Robinson, profoundly worshipful songs from veteran Graham Kendrick, and lively songs from Tim Hughes, and Gas Street Music. Highlights of the evening included beautiful worship music performed by three-time Grammy winner Michael W. Smith, and Bethel Music from California. Planetshakers from Australia closed the program with a terrific performance.

Naturally, most of the beautiful songs were sung in Hungarian, the whole stadium acting like one huge choir. What really mattered was not who was on the stage but who the song of thanksgiving rose to. In this intimate praise and worship, we were led by PZM, Hidden Kingdom, Hermons, Dics-Suli Band, Crux (from Upper Hungary, now Slovakia), Gergő Oláh, Keresztkérdés, András and Gellért Gável along with Misi Mező, Calvary Chapel with Heléna, András Hellinger, and Illés Dobner, Caramel, Új Forrás, Laci Csiszér, László Prazsák, Hanna, and Béla Pintér. Regretfully, Amaro Del could not travel from Transcarpathia, so they sent a video message. We also sang the national anthem, led by opera singer István Kovács, and followed by the prayers of the heads of churches. We closed the night by saying the Lord’s Prayer together.

We are grateful for having a close relationship with the believers of surrounding nations, and many of them were represented in those stands. We deemed it important for them to be represented on the stage as well, so our Romanian fellow believers were represented by Not an Idol from Moldova, the Slovakians by Marian Lipovsky (Timothy) and Julius Slovak (Godzone), the Polish by Mate.O. Andrej Grozdanov guitar player and Emanuel came from Croatia, Darijo Sehić from Serbia, and Tadej Vindiš from Slovenia. German speaking people were represented by Juri Friesen, the leader of Outbreakband.

Between performers, we listened to testimonies and inspirational messages shared by József Baranyi, Dániel D. Szabó, Zsuzsa Görgey, Virág Győri, József Kiss, Viktor László, Dávid Nemes, Lajos Rácz, János Szeverényi, and László Varga. The gospel was preached by pastor Sámuel Mike.

We are grateful to God for showering His blessings on this day, and we are thankful to all who attended.

The vision was fulfilled, the stadium was filled – glory to God!

Our hearts are grateful as we look back on July 23rd, 2022, when we gathered in Puskás Arena to exalt our Savior God. It had been a long road, full of rough patches, trials, and difficulties, but our Creator never let go of our hands. Viktor László, the founder and chief organizer of This is the day! has cherished the vision for over two decades that one day we will gather in the greatest stadium of the nation and cry out to God together. Here is an interview with him about what that day meant to him.

After the pandemic, and the double delay, how did you feel when it was finally decided that the event would actually take place?

It was somewhat similar to what I experienced as a soldier in the late 80’s. We often had war games, shackles of the old regime, which differ from real war in one aspect only: we were not using live ammo. I can compare the situation to such a military exercise: all we did before was preparation, and on July 23rd, the time for the real battle came. Battle in the positive sense, of course. We were fighting the good fight of faith, and at last, we were indeed there in the stadium, with Jesus. After the pandemic, in the midst of the war going on in a neighboring country, surrounded by economic uncertainties, but standing on the winning side, in the huge arena of the nation. It was a good fight, an afternoon full of victorious battle cries, fighting for Jesus.

Did you ever waver in your conviction that this day would come or were you able to trust in God’s promise without hesitation?

Twenty-four years ago, a vision was born in my heart that one day the stadium would be filled with worshipers. During this time, there have been very inspiring stages, in fact, a few times we seemed to be at the brink of its fulfilment. However, the upper stands in the old stadium were closed down due to a construction failure, and in the end, it was decided that instead of reopening them, a new stadium should be built. We were so close to the promised land and yet we could not enter to conquer it. However, all these hardships did nothing but reinforce the fact that the fulfilment of the vision was the perfect and sacred will of God, scheduled for exactly this time.

Nothing proves it more than the fact that when it looked like we could finally have the event in the summer of 2020, a world-wide pandemic broke out, canceling our plans. The next year, we found out that vaccination was not wide-spread enough, people were afraid, and the borders were closed. It was like an obstacle course, like a maze, but God led us through and our motivation just kept getting stronger. The uncertainties were used by God to increase our strength. When the war broke out in Ukraine, it created a situation similar to the pandemic being declared. Nevertheless, we are grateful that fellow believers came even from Ukraine, filling more than ten buses, and the stadium became a meeting point, since there were some who had fled earlier and were able to see their loved ones there.

God especially blessed the fact that we endured during this 24-year journey and kept believing in His promise. It is like when you really trust in something but do not see it in front of you, in fact, even the traces of it are gone. You can only hold on to the fact that God promised it and He always keeps His promises. We had a prophetic revelation that through these difficulties, the event would be even more powerful. When we said goodbye late at night, after distributing the Jesus Bibles, we could see that the word guiding us through the whole thing, hand in hand with Jesus, was indeed from the Lord.

Organizing the event was an enormous task, you practically had to pull it together within a few months. How were you able to take care of everything?

The last few days ended up being quite surreal for every detail to fall into place. It took a week to build the stage and accurately install 25 truckloads of equipment in order to provide state-of-the-art lighting, sound and visual technology. We reserved over 200 rooms for the guests at the hotel next to the stadium. More than 200 buses came from within and across the borders, and six special trains arrived from major cities of Hungary.

I am grateful for the extreme commitment of the small band of organizers; without them, this program could not have been put together. Our volunteers helped conscientiously, and all external partners involved also offered their expertise. Everyone did their best, that is how it could be done.

The program was very colorful. What were the aspects for choosing the performers?

For us, the most important thing was to be friends with those stepping on the stage and to know that their hearts are passionate for praising Jesus. It was not our intention to invite famous people; we wanted to invite brothers and sisters in Christ. We know every performer very well. International performers know that This is the day! is a recurring worship event in Hungary, and we know they are anointed ministers in the area of praise and worship. It was friends standing on that stage, many of them close friends who walked with us through this 22-year journey and regularly or occasionally participated at our events.

How do they feel about us and about what is going on within the Hungarian Church?

I have had the opportunity to speak with several of them in person, and every such instance was a huge testimony. These artists travel all over the world, they minister overseas, in Africa, in European countries, in Australia, and they all emphasized that what they experienced here was unique and deeply moving. It is their hope that the fire we all felt would start spreading, taking the sparks to beyond the borders and bringing fruit everywhere. Many feel that Hungary would be the center of an upcoming revival. They were emphatically grateful to have witnessed the developments happening within the Hungarian Church, and they rejoiced to have been a part of it.

In the midst of all the tasks, how did you personally expect July 23rd?

As the stadium event was drawing close, I felt like a child whose birthday is drawing near. Nothing else matters, you just want that cake on the table and all your loved ones around it. There, in the stadium, we could light that imaginary candle and the light, the fire that emanates from God’s heart was able to be poured out and touch people.

It is no ordinary feeling standing on an enormous stage like that and welcoming all who gathered. But the moment finally came, This is the day! happened at last. As we read in the psalms: “This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it” (Psalm 118:24). It happened right in front of our eyes: the psalm came alive!

How did you feel during those hours spent at the stadium?

I was reminded of the words of the apostle John: “the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us” (1 John 1:2). To me, that had become the motto of the stadium, and it was in line with the theme of the day which was LIFE. Life was made manifest, and we saw it, and do we need any greater evidence than the fact that of over 30 nations, thousands of people set out to go to this place in order to praise the name of Jesus? It was also important that the gospel was preached; we proclaimed eternal life to those who had not yet received Jesus as their personal Savior.

I am grateful for the smooth execution. It is quite an accomplishment, since this is a brand new stadium, and it was an unpracticed situation for local management as well as the technical, security, and emergency staff.

As time went by, many of us had the feeling that Jesus had somehow stopped over Hungary, and we wished He would tarry here. Just like Zacchaeus climbed into that tree and cried out to Jesus, so we started crying out to heaven. We believe that Jesus stopped for those few hours and was there to the end, not just for a moment. The whole struggle of the past two decades was worth it, because I could feel the spiritual weight of the happenings and experience the touch of God. The vision was fulfilled, the stadium filled – glory to God! To me, that was the greatest testimony.

What effect did the sweltering heat, then the cooling rain have on you?

The weather miracle was absolutely breathtaking. We had been checking weather reports weeks, even months beforehand, and we kept praying that God would bless us with a pleasant summer day and 25-26-degree (77 to 79 °F) weather. Early afternoon, that seemed impossible, but shortly after the start, fluffy clouds appeared, granting shade in the heat. Then came a light shower, just enough to refresh us, but not drenching anyone, and we got our pleasant weather for the rest of the day. I felt like Elijah must have felt when praying for the little palm-sized cloud in the time of drought. I believe this also has spiritual significance: there is spiritual drought in our land, but God is sending rain.

How did you feel as the event came to a close?

I stayed at the stadium for several days afterwards because it took three days to take apart what had taken a week to build. Watching the stage being dismantled, I could really praise God that all of this had happened. That is when I truly realized that what we had waited for so long had happened indeed. I was relieved that it was a success, that everything fell into place, that every single ticket was sold, which meant that all the seats we had fought and prayed for for years were taken.

I believe that everything happened according to God’s script. The fact that the event was realized two years later than originally planned – with all the struggle and uncertainty involved – was beneficial in strengthening the organizational team, the supporting pastors, the cooperation of churches. After such a difficult season, there was a different hunger present, therefore God gave even greater nourishment, as evidenced by a mighty outpouring of the Spirit.

What feedback did you receive concerning that from the participants?

We have received countless testimonies, each and every one reaffirming the fact that organizing this great event was well worth it. Lives were changed, recommitted, renewed in faith, miracles experienced, enthusiasm increased, and so on and so forth. Our pastor friends also told us that after the event, the life of the congregation reached a new level. We are grateful for that, because on that day, we gathered together in unity, glorifying our Father and preaching the gospel. That day is gone now, but the aftereffects are still with us: participants returned to their local communities spreading the good news and proclaiming the kingdom of God. And what really matters is that we live our everyday lives like that, without the stadium.

I was moved by many of the testimonies personally. I will just mention one. Not an Idol from Moldova was only given time to sing one song in Romanian, but we heard later that Hungarians living in Romania began to cry when they heard that God was being praised in the Romanian language in this Hungarian stadium. This goes to prove that even the bands receiving very little time had a spiritual significance that was worth all the organizational challenges and the enormous technical apparatus.

We also received very positive feedback from the performers themselves. All those ministering on the stage, which we called an altar, continued the next season of their ministry enriched with a new experience, having gained fresh momentum, even greater fire and hope.

Looking back now, a few months later, how would you evaluate that day?

When an event is over, participants return to their homes, and they are left with the beautiful memories. We, however, are left with intense post-production tasks, including handling media and press relations, audio processing, publishing photos and videos. Our colleagues have been working tirelessly in the background so that what we experienced in the stadium could be turned into lasting memories. On our YouTube and Facebook page, we have shared over a hundred videos recorded in HD quality and mixed in studio quality, and through these, we are still present in the lives of our brothers and sisters.

It is our confidence that through this blessed edification, we can be present in the lives of friends and their families day after day. All of this on top of the channels previously established, for instance our radio broadcast, our online magazine, or our Spotify playlists. Our YouTube channel is the most popular, 30 to 40 thousand songs are played daily. This means there is constant worship going on in our land and in the whole Carpathian basin without an actual physical encounter. Regretfully, Hungary has often been described as depressed, lacking a lightness of spirit characteristic of other nations. I believe that through our mission, we are able to elevate ordinary days and help people have a deeper experience of a connection with God.

The stadium event was a one-time happening, a 20th anniversary celebration. What can we know about the future? What plans does This is the day! have?

This monumental event may be a bridge leading into the next season. It could spread to other regions of the country or pour out to other nations. It is a part of our vision to have similar This is the day! events on a regional, or even international, level. However, our plans are always defined by God. We received the vision for the stadium from His hands, and we have given it back to Him. We keep asking Him to show us the way, give us a vision and opportunities. Our goal is for there to be more and more worshipers in Central-Eastern Europe. We wish to remain a catalyst in this process, continually inviting the Spirit of God into our lives, our communities, our nation. I believe this is the time of gathering, of visitation, as the harvest has begun.