Evangelist Luis Palau wraps his weeklong visit to China this weekend, meeting up with President George W. Bush at a Christian church service in Beijing.
Palau will speak Sunday evening at Gang Wa Shi Church in Beijing before returning to the United States on Monday. The trip is the latest in a series of visits that began five years ago by the Palaus ministry, the Luis Palau Evangelistic Association, to open up communication with the people of China.
For his latest visit, Palau was invited to speak at a conference in Beijing called "Hand in Hand in Charity," which focused on charitable activities and opportunities in China. Earlier this week, he was in Shanghai and launched a new book venture with former Chinese Information Minister Zhao Qizheng. The two recorded a series of conversations that will be transcribed. "A Dialogue Between An Atheist and a Christian" has received extensive national press coverage throughout China. It will be published in Chinese and English.
This current visit to China is symbolic of the changes that are occurring in this vast and wonderful country, said Palau. I pray these changes will lead to greater religious freedom.
Palau has been invited by the White House to join President Bush, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, and U.S. Ambassador to China Clark T. Randt on the final day of a Presidential Asian tour that stopped by Japan, South Korea, Mongolia, and now China.
Were honored that the President would ask us to join him in worship, particularly during his China visit, said Palau. Bush and Palau shared the platform on Sept. 16 at the National Cathedral in Washington, D.C., for the Day of Remembrance for the victims of Hurricane Katrina.
Ive been so encouraged by the receptiveness and hospitality of the Chinese people. And its an absolute blessing to join the President at worship services with our Chinese friends.
Church growth experts estimate that there are as many as 100 million followers of Jesus Christ in China. Many of these Christians, according to Palau, are well-educated, successful business people. In addition, the Bible is the second most widely distributed book in China. The Nanjing-based Amity Foundation Press has been permitted to print 36 million Bibles in recent years.
Palau's international evangelical ministry visited over 70 countries where Palau has spoken face-to-face to over 21 million people. His Great Music and Good News festivals have reached over 4.5 million people in just the past five years.