Luis Palau

Luis Palau

Luis Palau, Jr. (born November 27 1934) is an international Christian evangelist living in the Portland area in Oregon, United States. He was born in Argentina, began preaching at age 18, and moved to Portland in his mid-twenties to enroll in a graduate program in Biblical studies.

Palau had a long and close relationship with evangelist Billy Graham, and has been characterized by many as Graham's successor. He is known for his strong appeal to young people, and for his efforts to reach out to secular leaders to address issues like homelessness. He has broken with traditional Christian dogma at times, for instance suggesting that some people are "born with an inclination" towards homosexuality.cite news
title=Closing for Christ
work=Willamette Week
date=August 25 1999

In 2007, he was estimated to have shared Christian teachings with 25 million people in 70 nations. [cite news
title=World renowned evangelist, Luis Palau, is keynote speaker at Hillsboro's Prayer Breakfast
date=October 5 2007
work=Hillsboro Argus
] Palau's ministry employs 70 people in Beaverton, Oregon and another 25 around the world.

Early life

Luis Palau, Jr. was born November 27 1934 in Ingeniero Maschwitz, Buenos Aires, Argentina. He has five younger sisters and one stepbrother.cite news
title=Luis Palau Jr. path to the United States: Biography
work=The Oregonian
date=November 3 2003
] His father, a construction executive, died when Palau was 10.cite news
title=The Monday Profile. A man with a message – Luis Palau: 50 years of making the case for Christ
work=The Oregonian
date=November 3 2003
] Palau says that he was born again at the age of 12, devoting his life to Christ. He was educated in British-run boarding schools. He worked at a bank in Córdoba, and joined a missionary organization.

Palau first heard Billy Graham on a radio broadcast from Portland, Oregon while still living in Argentina in 1950, and drew inspiration from him. He later worked for Graham as a Spanish translator and as an evangelist. In 1970, Graham contributed the seed money for Palau to start his own ministry, which he modeled after Graham's. [cite news
title=In Portland: Evangelist Palau drew inspiration, help from Graham
work=The Oregonian
date=June 24 2005

Since then, Palau has held many large-scale evangelistic festivals and gatherings around the world.

ettling in Oregon

Palau arrived in Portland in 1960 to attend a graduate program at Multnomah Bible College, from which he graduated in 1961. His travel and tuition was paid by U.S. benefactors. There he met his wife, Pat, a Beaverton kindergarten teacher, who was a fellow student. He became a U.S. citizen in 1962.

In 1976, on the 25th anniversary of Overseas Crusades, founder Dick Hillis stepped down as president and Palau was named president.

Palau began plans for his first "crusade" in Portland in the late 1980s. He retained a strong base of support in Latin America. He sees a void that needs to be filled in the "pagan Northwest."

He spent time as a missionary in Egypt, a predominantly Muslim country, in the late 1990s. [cite news
title=Egypt's Christian converts risk abuse
date=October 28 1998
work=The Oregonian

Growing local popularity and secular service

Palau presently resides in Cedar Mill, Oregon. His ministry, the Luis Palau Evangelical Association, is based in nearby Beaverton. Three of his four sons work for his ministry.

In 1999, a writeup in a Portland weekly newspapers noted that Palau had assembled an 80,000 member audience in "the nation's least-churched major city." It also noted the contrast with the previous large revival, led by an aging Graham, which drew larger numbers but not as many young people as Palau's. Media coverage of Palau's event mentioned Palau as a potential successor to Graham. The annual budget of his ministry was estimated that year at $6 million.

As of 2003, he hosted three daily radio programs: an English show carried by 900 stations in 23 countries, and two Spanish programs carried by 880 stations in 25 countries. In that year he was noted for being "at the forefront of efforts to make evangelism more active, contemporary and accessible to a younger audience," [cite news
title=Evangelist Luis Palau targets younger crowd
work=The Columbian
publisher=Associated Press
date=November 2 2003
] and his ministry's annual budget was estimated at $11 million.

In August 2003, Palau mobilized several thousand volunteers from numerous churches to "spruce up" local public schools.

In November 2005, Palau visited China, wrapping up a week-long visit by attending a Beijing church service along with U.S. President George W. Bush. [ [ Luis Palau to Meet Bush in China, Wrap Up Visit | ] ] He launched a book venture after holding a conversation with a former government Chinese official during his trip to Beijing; Palau launched a book venture based on the transcribed work. The book, now published by Zondervan is entitled "A Friendly Dialogue Between An Atheist and a Christian." [ [ Shanghai Daily | 上海日报 - English Window to China News ] ]

Palau makes a point of staying out of politics, refusing to endorse ballot measures or candidates. Recently he has partnered with secular leaders as well. Former Portland Mayor Vera Katz did not attend his first big Portland event in 1999, but current Mayor Tom Potter, who is not a churchgoer, approached Palau at a 2005 Portland appearance by First Lady Laura Bush. Potter asked for Palau's assistance in getting other evangelical leaders to address Portland's homelessness problems. [cite news
title=Holy Alliance!
work=Willamette Week
date=June 20 2007

Palau got in touch with fellow evangelicals, and cooperated with Portland Commissioner Erik Sten, Potter, Beaverton Mayor Rob Drake, and Gresham Mayor Shane Bemis in 2008 in planning his August 22–23 festival, which will focus on volunteerism in support of the homeless. Palau's last Portland event drew about 140,000 people over two days. [cite news
title=Portland's season of service
work=The Oregonian
date=February 15 2008
] Palau addressed 500 Christian pastors in March 2008, joined by Portland City Commissioner Sam Adams, in the buildup to the August event. He calls the effort the "Season of Service." [cite news
title=Societal challenges
date=March 23 2008
work=The Oregonian


Palau has written numerous books including:
* "Where Is God When Bad Things Happen?"
* "What To Do When You Don't Want To Go To Church"
* "Calling America and the Nations to Christ"
* "God is Relevant"
* "High Definition Life"
* "A Friendly Dialogue between an Atheist and a Christian" ISBN 978-0310285335


* [ PALAU Luis] International Who's Who. accessed September 1 2006.

External links

* [ Myspace Profile Page]
* [ Luis Palau Evangelistic Association web site]

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