'A Story of God's Grace, Favor': Palau Family Opens Up About the 'Billy Graham of Latin America'

A promotional shot from "Palau: The Movie"
A promotional shot from "Palau: The Movie" (Luis Palau Association)

Called the "Billy Graham of Latin America," Luis Palau is one of the most noted evangelists of the 20th century.

"Humanly speaking, there was nothing Dad had going for him that you think would allow him to be able to do what he's done," Kevin Palau, his son, tells Charisma. Kevin is now the president of the Luis Palau Association.

Luis' life has been turned into a film, set for a limited release on April 4 and 6.

"It's really a story of God's grace and favor, of dad being obedient in the small things and gradually doors opening," the younger Kevin says of Palau: The Movie.

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Luis has shared the gospel with more than 30 million people in 75 countries, according to his website. More than 1 million people say they've come to Christ because of his preaching.

Palau, now in his 80s, was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer in late 2017.

Despite the diagnosis, Luis continued sharing the gospel.

In January 2019, Kevin shared this update:

Although his blood work continues to look great, the doctors confirmed the tumor has begun to grow once again. This comes after several months of very positive response to the immunotherapy treatments.

As a result, the doctors are switching to a new treatment plan, and we'll monitor progress closely.

Dad is still in great spirits and is quite active. In fact, he's headed down to Sacramento, California, this weekend to speak at a wonderful church there. He's also just come off a busy week with our team, discussing plans for our entire year of outreach including festivals in Abidjan, Cote d'Ivoire; Madrid, Spain; Swansea, Wales; Tyler, Texas; and Cape Town, South Africa. My brother Andrew will be the lead evangelist for each of these campaigns, although Dad is still hoping and praying he will be healthy enough to take part in the Madrid Festival in June.

Also included in plans for ministry this year is the release of Dad's most recent book—Palau: A Life on Fire (Zondervan, June 2019). We're also eagerly anticipating the release of a major motion picture on Dad's life. You can read more about it and watch the trailer at palauthemovie.com. It's set to hit theaters throughout the United States and Latin America on April 6.

When filmmakers first approached the family about the movie, Luis wanted to ensure the story gave God the glory—not the evangelist.

"He wanted it to really honor the Lord and be an encouraging film for the everyday believer to think about what can God do to any one of us if we simply will be obedient and unashamed of the gospel?" Kevin says.

The film more than accomplished those goals, Kevin says.

"We're encouraged that it's going to be a tool God can use," Kevin says.

Listen to the podcast for more about the film, Luis' health and the future of the ministries.

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