Evangelist Luis Palau Passes At 86 Stirring Memories of BeachFest

luis palau
Evangelist Luis Palau

Evangelist Luis Palau died peacefully on the morning of March 11, 2021, at his home in Portland, Oregon, at the age of 86 after a three-year battle with lung cancer.

For more than 65 years Palau played an influential role in Christian missions and worldwide evangelism as a powerful speaker, teacher, and author, presenting a clear case for Christianity to an audience of more than 1 billion people through television, radio, print, and live events.

Palau and his team have held more than 500 evangelistic campaigns, festivals, and rallies in more than 80 nations. South Floridians may remember Luis Palau from “BeachFest” that took place in 2003, attracting crowds of more than 600,000 over that March weekend in Fort Lauderdale to see Extreme sports and top music bands.

luis palau“As always Luis would cap the night off with a meaningful message,” said Sean Stepelton, Director/Trustee at The Stacy Foundation, recalling BeachFest. “He would talk to all about how to find a deep and fulfilling peace via a God who loves us. No matter how bad our mistakes. A forgiving God. A God of second chances… The event was free to attend and he never asked the crowd for a penny because he wanted everybody to have fun and to experience a potentially life-changing message and MANY did. Luis and his family became good friends over the years. In a self-centered world it’s so refreshing to meet selfless people.”

Standing strong for issues of faith and the importance of a vibrant, healthy spiritual life according to the teachings of the Bible, Palau was well regarded by leaders around the globe, including presidents, nobility, business leaders, and church clergy.

Early on in ministry, Palau served as an intern with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, occasionally helping as the late Reverend Billy Graham’s Spanish translator. 

luis palauFranklin Graham, President and CEO of Samaritan’s Purse and the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association shared on Facebook that “Luis was a close friend of my father Billy Graham’s throughout the years, and he was my friend as well. Luis was a passionate evangelist who faithfully preached the Gospel of Jesus Christ—His birth, His sacrificial death on the cross, His burial, and His resurrection. Millions have heard this truth, and untold men and women have trusted Christ, as a result of Luis Palau’s ministry. I thank God for his life and the example he set.”

With a special heart for his home country of Argentina, and Latin America as a whole, much of Palau’s work over the years focused on the Spanish-speaking world. His two daily radio programs in Spanish, Cruzada con Luis Palau and Luis Palau Responde, have aired in millions of homes for decades. 

For the past several years, Palau’s sons have run the day-to-day operations of the ministry based in Portland, Oregon. Kevin Palau serves as the president and CEO. Keith serves on the Development team. And Andrew, Palau’s third son, has followed in his father’s footsteps as a well-respected evangelist, leading similar evangelistic campaigns around the world. Stephen, Palau’s youngest son, faithfully serves as an elementary school teacher in the Portland area.

Luis Palau is survived by his wife, Patricia; his sons Kevin, Keith, Andrew, and Stephen; his daughters-in-law Michelle, Gloria, and Wendy; his sisters Matilde, Martha, Catalina, Margarita, and Ruth; his brother Jorge; 12 grandchildren; and many beloved extended family. 

Notes of remembrance can be left at www.LuisPalau.org.

Read about one of Luis Palau’s mission trips at: https://www.goodnewsfl.org/luis_palau_shares_the_gospel_with_scotlands_highlands/

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