Despite being the son of one of the world’s best known evangelists Andrew Palau rebelled against God until in his late 20s all that changed during a dramatic encounter in Jamaica. Peter Wooding met the man on a mission to Britain
Typical of so many kids growing up with their parents in Christian ministry, Andrew Palau rebelled against his mum and dad’s faith and set about living the party lifestyle.
Even though he’d heard his father, Luis’, gospel messages countless times, it took a fisherman in Jamaica to eventually lead him to Christ.
“I was 27 years old at the time and I’d graduated from university,” Andrew says.
“I was living on the East Coast in Boston working my way up the corporate ladder. I wore a mask to say everything was fine, but in my heart I was really trapped in abusive relationships, drugs and alcohol.
“My father invited me to come to visit while they were having a festival in Kingston, Jamaica. It was February and there was two feet of snow in Boston and my parents thought the attraction of Jamaica might work. I love fishing so I said if you give me a marlin fishing trip I’ll come.”
Andrew’s dad then found a family on the sun-kissed island where one of the sons was a tournament marlin fisherman and arranged for a fishing trip to take place.
Andrew continues: “The guy had recently come back to faith out of a pretty radical lifestyle similar to mine. Hearing about his newfound faith and the healing from addictions he’d experienced, I realised that’s what I needed. I had heard this before all my life, but somehow the example of his transformation caught my attention and put me on a path of really asking God if he was real.
“I then went to my father’s festival outreach at the Kingston National Stadium where I finally gave my life to Christ. At that moment I knew I was changed. I just kept weeping as the burden on me was lifted and I was set free from a number of addictions.”
During that time in Jamaica, not only did Andrew gain this newfound faith for himself, he also met his future wife who just happened to be the fisherman’s sister. Just a few years later they were married and now have three young boys and a girl they adopted from Ethiopia.
Around the time that Andrew got married, he started working as his father’s assistant. Little did he realise then that this would lead him to following in his father’s footsteps.
This journey to Andrew becoming an inter national evangelist in his own right had begun at the time in Jamaica when he’d first encountered a calling to tell others about his faith.
“When I first became a Christian it was radical and I was shaken. I hadn’t cried a day in my life and after crying to God I remember in my enthusiasm telling God I would tell everyone what he’d done.
“I’d made that statement in my heart and there was a type of a response from the Lord when I received his calling to tell everyone, but I didn’t understand it as a preaching calling.
“Years later after I’d been serving as my father’s assistant I began preaching in evangelism and then I got cold feet. I thought it was ridiculous. Why would I be a preacher just because Dad’s a preacher?
“But as I finally realised that this was my calling the doors opened and now it’s been ten years. I’m so thankful.”
Over the past decade Andrew has preached in major city-wide evangelistic festivals around the world. He says one of his highlights though has been preaching in his home country of America.
‘But to see the boy’s joy of receiving the Lord, that’s what it’s all about’ – Andrew Palau
“We were just in the state of Idaho recently and after preaching I went into the crowds to pray with people who had responded. There was a wonderful mother in her 30s and she had such a joy in her face and she said, ‘I got saved three weeks ago and now my son has come to get saved.’
“There was this little 12-year-old boy Kirk just beaming. His mother shared about her husband leaving the family recently and how that’s affected them.
“But to see her joy and the boy’s joy of receiving the Lord, that’s what it’s really all about. To think that the abundant life is available to a family like that! Even though there’s trouble in the world, Christ overcomes it.”
Andrew has a decade-long strategy to reach Africa and the couple adopted their daughter Sadie in Ethiopia.
“Around that time I was praying about any opportunities to preach in Africa, which was one of the few places where my father had never gone, and immediately doors began to open,” he recalls.
“Then the idea came from the Lord to commit to ten capital cities in Africa for the next ten years. Then immediately a door opened for a festival in Kigali in Rwanda, then Cairo in Egypt, Kampala in Uganda and many other capital cities across Africa. Every year through relationships and through prayer, invitations from the churches would come and now we’re in our eighth year and going to Lilongwe in Malawi.”
Very close to Andrew’s heart though is the UK where he’s been coming to preach in more recent years.
“We feel a debt of gratitude to the missionaries who came from the UK and rescued both my wife’s family and my father’s family in Argentina, which is why I am always thrilled to be invited to speak there.”
Andrew is scheduled to speak at the We Are Men United men’s event at Stoke City Stadium on May 27, 2017.
He added: “When the invitation came for me to come and share my story I couldn’t refuse. I feel so honoured to be part of men coming to faith and reigniting who they are in God and being able to respond and walk with God.”[alert-announce]
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