In Memoriam: Evangelist Luis Palau, The Billy Graham of Latin America

NRB | March 11, 2021 | Encouragement

After three years of battling lung cancer, evangelist Luis Palau passed away Thursday at age 86.

Often referred to as “the Billy Graham of Latin America,” Palau shared the gospel with more than one billion people throughout the world. He spoke in person to more than 30 million people in 80 countries and led millions of people to make personal decisions to follow Jesus.

The Palau Association has been a NRB member since 1993 and received the Milestone Award in 2002. Palau received the NRB Hall of Fame Award in 2018 and the William Ward Ayer Award for Distinguished Service in 1987 and again in 2008.

“Today, the world has lost a true champion for the gospel. There is rejoicing in heaven that this faithful saint has entered into the presence of his Lord and Savior,” NRB CEO Troy A. Miller said Thursday.

“For nearly 70 years, Palau faithfully shared the good news of the gospel. NRB was blessed to have him as a member for so many years.”

Palau’s radio broadcasts in both English and Spanish reached millions of people on thousands of radio outlets around the world. He also hosted an international Q&A program in Spanish called Luis Palau Responde as well as Reaching Your World, a devotional-style program emphasizing biblical wisdom.

Will Graham, Billy Graham’s grandson, called Palau “one of the best Gospel communicators I have ever known.”

“He had a humble spirit, a genuinely kind soul, a true servant’s heart, a love for his Savior and a deep passion for the lost,” Graham wrote in a tweet Thursday. “Luis’ legacy and the eternal impact of his ministry will be felt for generations.”

Last week, the Palau family sent an update letter asking for prayers.

“We don’t know exactly how much time we have left with Dad, but the end seems near,” the family wrote. “He is in good spirits and not in pain, which is a blessing. His final wish is to be able to spend one-on-one time with each one of his grandchildren.”

Since his lung cancer diagnosis in 2018, Palau continued to pursue faithfulness in ministry.

“I know that the Lord is with me by the Holy Spirit indwelling,” he said after receiving his diagnosis. “I’m ready, I know it sounds crazy to say, ‘I can’t wait to go to heaven.’ Now, it’s a reality for me.”

On Thursday, Palau finally experienced that reality.

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