Written by: Reynaldo Aragon
Article source: religionunplugged.com
Dr. Luis Palau, the great Argentine evangelical preacher sometimes called the Billy Graham of Latin America, died at his home in Portland, Ore. last Thursday, March 11, at the age of 86 from lung cancer.
“The wonderful thing is that I will see the Lord Jesus Christ face to face, I will see him face to face and I will be able to know what he is,” Palau said in 2018 on the Argentinian TV show Puertas Abiertas (Open Doors), publicizing his diagnosis of lung cancer after suffering with the disease for three years.
Palau was one of the greatest and most influential evangelists of our time. He worked with the evangelist Billy Graham as a translator in presentations to the global Latino population. The numbers reveal the extensive ministry of this man of God in preaching the good news around the world: 65 years of service to God, author of 50 books and thousands of articles, 500 evangelistic events in more than 75 countries, radio programs that are broadcast on more than 4,000 stations, as well as messages on social networks. According to these figures, he was one of the best-known Latin American evangelists in the world.
Through his radio and TV programs “Crusade with Luis Palau” and “Luis Palau Responde” (Luis Palau Answering) and festivals, he reached an estimated 800 million people worldwide. At the “Festival de la Familia,” one of his tours, he invited famous Latin American artists to share personal testimonies of their relationships with Jesus Christ. It was very inspirational to hear famous singers talk about how the gospel impacted their lives, and then give the stage to the powerful messages of Palau.
He preached in Spanish and English, and although he lived much of his life in the U.S. He could not stop using the famous word “ché”, which characterizes Argentinians when they speak to others.
Palau presented his message to presidents and kings, in stadiums, churches, streets and squares, announcing the salvation of Jesus. His preaching was simple, but very profound, and he did not shy away from any subject. He responded to any question that was asked from the people on radio and television programs, with the clarity of his knowledge of the Bible and the good humor that characterized him.
They were decades of service to God, and his influence on evangelization and the church in Latin America is unquestionable.
But he also had a great ministry in the former Soviet Union, where he was one of the few authorized to preach about Jesus, and preached many times in Europe – especially Spain – and Asia and Africa.
I had the opportunity to collaborate with Palau in 2004 when he came to Lima to present the Family Festival, which attracted more than 700,000 people in Peru’s capital. Peruvian Pastor Julio Rosas, who coordinated the local churches, and his team led by pastors Carlos Barbieri and Rubén Proietti, entrusted me with media relations during this visit. I accompanied Palau during those busy days of his interviews with the president of Peru, attending a conference in Congress and meetings with government ministers and the mayor of the Lima. Palau’s energy to fulfill official commitments and the joy with which he carried out the tasks were inspiring. I was also able to accompany him in other meetings, such as a coffee-conference in which artists of the stature of the Venezuelan José Luis Rodríguez “El Puma”, and the Mexican artist, Yuri, recounted their experiences with Jesus. Afterward, Palau spoke of the redemptive power of God’s love. It was impressive. Hundreds of people, including businessmen and congressmen, accepted Christ at that time.
Upon his death, many well-known Latin American evangelical leaders who knew and worked with Palau published testimonies of how much this preacher influenced their lives. I want to end this obituary in memory of Luis Palau, with a memory of something he said to the team that we worked with on the last event he held in Peru, which was held in 2004. As soon as he arrived in Lima, he gathered the production team and shared the text of Colossians 3: 23-24:
“And whatever you do, do it heartily, as for the Lord and not for men; knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance, because you serve Christ the Lord.
He called us to serve the Lord with excellence. This message was engraved in my heart, as were all those who participated in this large production.
You did well, Palau. Millions of people are witnesses of this. And I am sure that upon entering that place you longed to reach, He who is the rewarder of all those who honor him has told you upon receiving you:
“Well done, good and faithful servant … enter into the joy of your Lord.”
See you again Dr. Palau, with the millions you won for Christ, in the Celestial Homeland, beyond the sun.
Date published: 24/03/2021
Feature image: Luis Palau in 2004. Photo via the Luis Palau Association.
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