Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret Morning News
Yiye Avila, considered the Billy Graham of Latin America, greets Salt Lake's Gustuva Mena Sr. on Monday.

Yiye Avila, one of the most celebrated evangelists in Latin America, is in Salt Lake City for a three-day revival at the South Towne Expo Center. A coalition of 25 local Spanish-speaking evangelical ministers orchestrated the event. They expect 15,000 people to attend over the three days, Monday through Wednesday.

A native of Puerto Rico, Avila won the Mr. Universe body building competition in 1952. He later played professional baseball and taught at the university level before feeling called to the ministry. Recent revivals in Bolivia and Venezuela were major news events. He has been traveling and preaching for 44 years. His many books and videos give him one of the most recognizable faces in Hispanic religious circles. This is his first trip to Utah.

When asked how he felt about appearing in Utah, with its ties to The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, he said, "We did not come here to argue but simply to preach." His "Utah for Christ" message will deal with strengthening the family and avoiding the pitfalls of the world. At a Monday morning press conference, he called television "a tool of Satan" and urged all local ministers to unite in Christ to thwart the devil.

The revival continues today and Wednesday at 7 p.m. at the Expo Center, 9575 S. State St. Admission is free.