Today Evangelist Luis Palau went to heaven. He was a great evangelist and I am so thankful for his life and his example.
In 1997, Luis Palau did a Festival in Juarez, Mexico. At that time, my parents were missionaries in Juarez and my father was involved in helping to mobilize churches for the festival. Back then, my brother and I dressed up as clowns and did small children’s festivals in the barrios of Juarez. We were just teenagers, but we were invited to minister at the Kid’s Fest for thirty minutes. Over 7,000 children attended. It was the biggest crowd I had ever been in front of. Thousands of children responded to the Gospel.
It was this opportunity to minister that helped put a dream in my heart to become an evangelist. Since then, I have visited 69 nations and led over two million people in a salvation prayer, but it all started at a Luis Palau Kid’s Fest in Juarez, Mexico.
Now, I am a member of the Next Generation Alliance (also known as the Global Network of Evangelists), a group founded by Palau to train and encourage young evangelists. I am thankful for Palau’s example, his encouragement, and for the way he gave other evangelists opportunities to minister, even when they were teenage juggling evangelists who wear clown makeup.
This is a picture of me presenting a picture of me as a clown at the Juarez Festival to Luis Palau. It was a great honor to have the opportunity to say thank you to him in person.
In July of 2015, I was invited to observe and participate in a massive evangelistic effort by Evangelist Luis Palau in New YorkCity.
For six months before the main event, Palau’s organization prepared for City Fest: New York City. They conducted mini-fests all over New York City and it culminated with a two-day massive outreach. On Friday night, there was an evangelistic gathering in Times Square and on Saturday night there was a Festival in Central Park. Thousands of people made decisions to follow Jesus.
I volunteered to serve as a counselor. At my Gospel Festivals, I ask local church members to serve as counselors, so I figured I should sow a seed by serving as a counselor at another evangelist’s event. When Luis Palau gave the altar call, I saw a woman near me raise her hand to respond to the invitation. Her name was Sofia. She was 45-years-old and was born in a Christian home but had wandered far away from God. She heard the music as she was walking through Times Square and paused to listen. The message captivated her and she decided to rededicate her life to Jesus. As I led her in a salvation prayer, her eyes glistened with tears of joy. She was really impacted by the Gospel.
In Times Square there was a group of performers dressed up in costumes. They make money by taking pictures with tourists. I approached a man dressed in a Super Mario Brothers costume. I found out that his name is David and he is Hispanic. He has been in the United States illegally for thirteen years. In Spanish, I explained the Gospel to him and he decided to make Jesus the Lord of his life.
Here are some of my thoughts after participating in this evangelistic event:
* I was inspired to dream big dreams. Luis Palau said he has dreamed of doing an evangelistic event in New York City for over fifty years. There is no dream too big for God to bring to pass. I decided that if Palau can set a big goal and see God bring it to pass, then I should have some equally big goals to believe God for. I chose ten places around the world where I want to evangelize before I die. Some of the places seem impossible right now, but I believe God can make it come to pass.
* I was inspired to reach America with the Gospel. America needs God just as much as the villages of Africa and Asia. Far too many churches in North America have become anemic in the area of evangelism. It is time for us to do more to preach the Gospel here in America.
* I was inspired to reach big cities with the Gospel. Every two seconds, five more people enter the world than leave it; this adds 3,600 people to the population daily. With this rapid population growth, there is a migration from the village to the metropolis. We need to reach the small towns, but millions of people live in big cities and we need to have a strategy for reaching them.
* I was inspired to believe God for more resources. The total budget for Palau’s outreach in New York City was twelve million dollars. To me, this sum appears to be enormous. Most of our events cost between $10,000-$30,000 and sometimes, despite the generosity of our friends, it is difficult for me to raise even this small amount. I am believing God for more resources so I can reach more people for Jesus.
* I was inspired to build a team for evangelism. Palau does not work alone; he has a large team around him that works together for people to be saved. I am inspired to build a team to help us reach more people for Jesus.