July 9, 2012
It was my honor to welcome international evangelist Dr. Luis Palau to the California State Capitol last month.
Luis, who is 77 years old, has proclaimed the good news of Jesus to an estimated 30 million people in 75 countries, and through his organization has addressed over a billion people! He has authored nearly 50 books, and his Bible-based radio broadcasts are heard by millions of people in 48 countries on 3,500 radio outlets in both Spanish and English. Though he is an American citizen, he was born in Argentina and has a widespread following in South and Central America, earning him the nickname “the Billy Graham of Latin America.”
Luis came to Sacramento to speak at one of his huge weekend evangelistic Festivals. When I heard he was coming to town I contacted him, with the help of a local pastor who is a mutual friend and invited him to visit the California State Capitol. He graciously accepted our invitation and spent two days with us at the Capitol.
On Wednesday, Luis addressed and prayed for legislators and staff in a hearing room. His message was about the importance of praying for government leaders.
He then shared the good news of Jesus with many hundreds of business and civic leaders at a luncheon at the nearby Sheraton hotel. Thanks to some generous contributions I was able to invite 60 legislators and staff members to attend this inspiring event. The photo below is me with Senate Republican Leader Bob Huff, Democratic Senator and Congressional candidate Juan Vargas, and former Senator Bill Leonard at one of six tables Capitol Commission filled.
On Thursday, Luis returned to the Capitol where he mingled with legislators and staff, presented an opening prayer for the State Senate Floor Session, and was honored with a Resolution during the Assembly Floor Session. You can watch videos of these sessions here (skip ahead to 6:30-14:00) and here (skip ahead to 7:45).
The California State Capitol is a decidedly secular environment, not entirely comfortable with welcoming “religious” figures. Arranging for Luis’ visit was quite a challenge. Luis was carefully instructed to not mention Jesus in his Senate prayer. Staff members wrestled with how to write a Resolution honoring him without mentioning his Gospel proclamation. Some legislators and staff who are uncomfortable with Christianity noticeably bristled at his arrival. Nevertheless, the Lord worked mightly through his visit. I was encouraged to watch as Luis, who has counseled many world leaders, interacted skillfully with state leaders and their staff. Throughout his visit he demonstrated humility, kindness, and a focus on the good news of Jesus. Some legislators wanted to speak with him because of their faith in the Lord, and were encouraged when he prayed for them. Others who are non-believers approached him merely to get their photo taken with him because of his fame, but soon found themselves engaged in conversations with him about their spiritual need. I continue to hear from legislators and staff about how meaningful his visit was.
Most special to me personally was standing outside the Capitol with Luis as his visit concluded. As we spoke one-on-one, he affirmed the value of what Capitol Commission is all about – the proclamation of the Good News of Jesus and the teaching of God’s word. He expressed concern that so many people are yelling at government leaders, when we should instead be reaching out to them to help them to know the Lord and grow in Him. He spoke about the global significance of California, and expressed his thanks for this ministry to our leaders. After his visit, he drafted this kind endorsement for our work:
“I have observed the ministry and the serious commitment that Frank Erb as the California State Director for Capitol Commission has exercised in Sacramento, capital of California. I have observed his relationship with State Senators and Assemblymembers. I have noticed the respect he has gained from the political class of California. I have prayed with Frank Erb for the life responsibilities and burdens that these politicians carry. And I believe that the biblical bases and the practical wisdom that Frank Erb has practiced is the kind of ministry that every state capitol as well as the federal government politicians need in the USA. I pray that God will continue to uphold and use the ministry of Capitol Commission under Frank Erb in California. I also want to encourage all believers who care for the state of the nation for the direction of the political dialogue national and state-wide, to support Frank Erb’s personal ministry as well as the ministry of Capitol Commission.” - Luis Palau, International Evangelist
Glory to God!
Your Missionary to the State Capitol,
California State Director