Beloved evangelist, Luis Palau, has died at the age of 86 after a three year battle with lung cancer.
Palau died at his home in Portland, Ore., on Thursday morning, according to a release from the Luis Palau Association (LPA).
Palau spent over 65 years in ministry, beginning by preaching on street corners in his native Argentina as a teenager. By 19-years-old he was hosting his own radio programs. In 1960 Palau moved to Portland to attend Bible school, where he met his wife, Patricia Scofield.
“I have no regret in pouring out my years, from the time I was a boy, for the sake of the Good News. If I was given a thousand lifetimes, I would dedicate them all to the same calling," he is quoted as saying in his obituary.
Early on in his ministry, Palau worked as an intern with the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and occasionally served as a Spanish translator for Graham. The LPA says that "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."
Palau's passion for his native country and Latin America as a whole would result in a decades-long ministry that had over 1 billion people listen to his preaching, the LPA says. But his ministry also led to places like the Soviet Union in the '70s and '80s, being one of the few evangelical preachers allowed to speak there.
He would hold over 500 evangelistic campaigns, festivals, and rallies in more than 80 nations, including historic campaigns in leading world cities such as New York City, Buenos Aires, London, Madrid, Singapore, Hong Kong, Cairo, and Mexico City.
Three of Palau's sons have led the LPA ministry for several years now. "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," the LPA says. "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.
A private memorial service will be held in Luis’ home town of Portland, Oregon, and will be livestreamed for the general public at www.luispalau.org. In lieu of flowers, memorial gifts may be made to the ongoing ministry of the Luis Palau Association, online at www.palau.org, or via mail, sent to the Luis Palau Association, PO Box 50, Portland, OR 97207. Notes of remembrance can be left at LuisPalau.org