THE evangelist Luis Palau died on Thursday morning, aged 86, it has been announced. The Luis Palau Association said that Mr Palau had died after “a three-year battle with lung cancer”.
Mr Palau, who was born in Argentina, spent more than 65 years working as an evangelist and Christian apologist. He was invited to speak in 80 countries around the world, and his association reckons that he addressed more than one billion people during that time, through live events, broadcasting, and in print.
Mr Palau was born in 1934, in a small town outside Buenos Aires. He became a Christian aged 12, two years after his father’s death. As a teenager, he began to preach on street corners, and, aged 19, became host of a Christian radio programme.
In 1960, he moved to the United States, and, while studying at Bible college in Portland, Oregon, met his wife, Patricia, with whom he went on to lead missions to Latin America and around the world.
Mr Palau had a close association with Billy Graham. The Luis Palau Association said: “Mr Graham and his team played a significant role in opening doors of opportunity for Palau as he launched out with his own ministry efforts, and eventually helped him start his own evangelistic organization in 1978. . . Throughout their lives Palau and Graham stayed close friends.”
Mr Palau led missions to the UK, including in 1984 and 1998. On the latter mission, to the East Midlands, he teamed up with the Alpha programme of Holy Trinity, Brompton.
The Archbishop of Canterbury posted on Twitter that he was “grateful to God for the life and witness” of Mr Palau, and quoted Mr Palau’s saying: “You don’t have to have a jaw-dropping story of how you received Jesus. It just must be your story.”
The British evangelist J. John spoke on Thursday evening of his respect and affection for Mr Palau. “One reason that Luis was so good as an evangelist was that he was so openly and wonderfully enthusiastic about the gospel. As anyone who heard Luis will testify, there was joy in what he said. With him the good news sounded good news.”