Luis Palau's China Visit Finds Change, Hope, Opportunity
- Monday, April 19, 2004
Luis Palau returned to China this month and continued the pursuit of his life-long dream to one day hold an open-air festival in China's capital city of Beijing. "I came back to China to listen, learn, and share the Good News," said Palau. "This visit impressed me with three words: change, change, change. There is rapid change everywhere, especially in the area of open discussion about the relevancy of Jesus Christ. Any generalizations you made about China yesterday are probably a long way off the mark today."
Joining Palau on the trip were tennis star Michael Chang, recording artists Steven Curtis Chapman and Geoff Moore, Palau's partner evangelist Jose Zayas, and a delegation of some 40 business people. The group was officially invited to Beijing by the China Charity Federation to help promote the adoption of Chinese children.
Chapman and Moore each have two adopted Chinese daughters and have been involved in a number of humanitarian efforts with Chinese officials. Palau and the team used the group's charitable events to also speak about the spiritual adoption that takes place when a person, by faith, opens his or her heart to Jesus Christ.
At several charitable functions, Palau told his international and Chinese guests, "Adoption is a powerful symbol of what God has done for us through His Son, Jesus. He loves us and welcomes us into His family through Jesus Christ."
Palau was hosted by the China Association for International Friendly Contact (CAIFC) to discuss enhancing overseas cultural exchanges. The CAIFC invited the evangelist to meet with them at the Diayutai Government Guest House, considered the "Camp David of China." The state dinner was held at the same location where President Nixon met with Chinese authorities on his first visit to Beijing.
Shen Weiping, Vice President of CAIFC, toasted Palau by insisting, "We'd like to see you more often in China and we would be delighted to be your hosts on your next visit."
Shen and Palau discussed a wide range of topics, ranging from the writings of Chairman Mao Zedong, (1893-1976) to the dramatic growth of Christianity in China. Palau expressed appreciation for being invited back to China. His hosts were intrigued by the evangelist's extensive knowledge of China's history, politics, and religious background. The unprecedented meeting for an evangelist took place during Easter Holy Week, which led to a lengthy discussion about the Bible and the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The vice president jokingly told Palau, "Maybe it's very possible that the next time you come to China I'll have become a Christian." The meeting included a very amenable exchange on why they thought Christianity was spreading across China. By most estimates there are between 70-100 million followers of Jesus Christ in China.
As he did when he met with the government officials in Shanghai four years ago, Palau was very open about sharing his dream to one day hold one of his "Great Music, Good News" festivals in both Beijing and Shanghai.
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