Billy Graham: A Lifetime of Impact

By   •   November 5, 2008   •   Topics: ,

Read some of the latest greetings:

“Growing up in the ’50s I listened to you on the radio, but your messages never took hold. My father abandoned my mother and me, so I was very bitter until a few years ago when my wife and I went to Tampa, Fl. to see you. The Holy Spirit moved me to forgive my father and mother, and I realized that there are no abandoned children in God’s Kingdom. He knows us before we are born and loves us in spite of our circumstances. Thank you for moving the Holy Spirit to speak to me about this troublesome issue I carried for years! I am now free of this issue and am doing everything I can to be a child of God—not for my own works but because I love Him!!”
– Steven C.

“Happy Birthday, Dr. Graham! I am the oldest child of Dr. Fred Smith, a biochemist at the University of Minnesota. Daddy became a Christian after your crusade in 1958 (I think). He died of pancreatic cancer in 1965. You may remember him. He referred to praying in faith for salvation as “The Great Experiment.” His testimony was featured in your Decision Magazine. Because of your faithfulness to the Lord in preaching the Gospel, all four of us Smith children and most of our children are Christians. I attended Hampden DuBose Academy with your daughter Anne. We truly are knitted together in the Body of Christ. I’m so grateful that because of your ministry we will all be reunited one day in Heaven and we will be able to thank you, face to face.”
– Pamela Pierre

“On Boxing Day 2006, I sat in my room in Kitui, Kenya, frustrated by life in general. I’d lost my job, and all my family’s livelihood destroyed by ethnic clashes in post-election violence. The Christmas celebrations worsened my woes; what did I have to celebrate? I contemplated suicide before the New Year. Then, Billy Graham popped up on the little 6-inch TV lent to me by a kind friend, with the message from Isaiah 9:6 on the “Prince of PEACE!” It was heaven-sent, for me! Loved by a LORD I knew from childhood but whom I had ignored to my detriment. Tears and more tears later, evangelist Billy Graham led this then 40-year-old poor soul to Jesus and love, joy and peace flooded my life once again. It’s been Christmas for me ever since, my job restored, family reconciled and Christ as LORD and Savior. The future is assured and heaven is being in His Presence moment by moment.”
– Dave Kehara

“Thank you for being a Faithful Soldier all these years and for consistently demonstrating a standard of excellence in communicating the depths and riches of God’s Word to men and women. As a 17-year-old teenager back in 1964, I would listen every Sunday night to the Hour of Decision and hear you preach. On one broadcast you were preaching from Israel. Your sermon moved me to tears as you described the pain and agony that Christ experienced for our salvation. Listening to you on the radio I could tell and was so impressed your voice had the passion you had never got over what Christ had done. I made the decision that night in my life to do the same. Thank you again for your faithfulness and always being an encouragement to me.”
– Larry Latta

“I am forever thankful to Billy Graham. It was at a November 1974 crusade in Norfolk, VA, that I came to know Jesus as Lord & Savior. I was a hardened newspaper reporter assigned to cover the meetings and ‘get the goods on Graham.’ God had other plans ~ He ‘got the goods’ on me! Hallelujah!!!!”
– Ethel Steadman

“Dear Billy – I went forward to publicly proclaim my new birth as a Christian during your 1994 Cleveland crusade. What a blessing and impact! God has continued to bless my family and has guided us through cancer and a deployment to Iraq. I commanded a Battalion of 400 men during OIF 1. We claimed Psalms 91 prior to deploying and a group of us committed to praying for the unit at 0430 every morning. We accomplished our mission and not one of our soldiers was killed, Praise God! My family has resided in Williamsburg for the past four years and we experience a bit of you and your crusade every Sunday morning through the praise and worship music of Ted Cornell. Thank you for answering the call! May you have a blessed birthday and may God continue to bless you and your entire family!”
–Bruce

“Dear Billy – As a young girl in a small town I first heard your powerful message. I grew up attending a loving church and my faith was solid. But your message rang a bell in my soul, even then, to awaken and strengthen my walk on this path. In the late ’60s we moved from a town of 400 to the largest city in the world, Tokyo, Japan. I felt overwhelmed that our family was adirft in this unfamiliar place. Then we learned that you were coming to Tokyo with your ministry and we were so excited! We came to that huge arena and listened to your message of faith and felt home again. The strangeness of the place fell away and the sight of many Japanese, some of whom had heckled in the beginning, coming forth to accept Christ, strengthened us. That’s when I really came to understand that God’s love and our relationship with him is with us everywhere, in every place and at every moment. Today I wish you blessings and thank you from my heart for being an instrument of love and faith.
–Nancy Nance

“Happy Birthday, Reverend. Back in the early ’60s, I went to one of your crusades at Balboa Stadium in San Diego. When you asked for those who wanted to welcome Jesus into their hearts, my friend and I went onto the field. I was about 14 at the time. When one of your volunteers came to me and asked my name, I replied ‘Billy Graham.’ (I went by Billy well into my late teens) He politely laughed but obviously thought I wasn’t being truthful. I was able to produce my junior high school ID card and he was delighted. You have been an inspiration to me all my life and I thank you for that. In many jobs I’ve held over the years, many co-workers have called me ‘ The Reverend’. I’m humbled but happy that people of all ages still recognize the name…..a name I have always been proud of. Sincerely and with prayers.”
– Bill(y) Graham

“My name is Jo Oelkers and I want to thank Billy Graham for his message that changed my life! It was on Sept 9, 2000. I was at home preparing to end my life. Everything that I held dear was gone and I just didn’t see the point in living anymore. I turned on the TV for background noise and this man on there was saying, ‘Do you feel like ending it all? Do you feel like everything you do just makes the situation worse? Then call this 800# and Jesus can help you.’ I thought I don’t know who this Jesus is, but I do know he can’t help me because no one has been able to. But the other thought was, I will call the number and then end my life, what could it hurt. So I called the number and repeated some words, not knowing what I was saying. But later, months later, I realized I had prayed the sinners prayer and had accepted Jesus as my Savior. And Jesus said, ‘Well done good and faithful servant.’ I love you Billy and Happy 91st.”
–Jo Oelkers

The entry below is an excerpt of an article written by William Minor, a Texas A&M student, for the university newspaper on September 7, 2005. He died three months later in a traffic accident. His father sent this to us in honor of Mr. Graham’s birthday: “Billy Graham has lived a life of service and leadership, a true testament and example of living a life of standards. In today’s society of glamorized and glorified actors, musicians and athletes, Graham stands as a beacon, offering practical and pivotal approaches to a fulfilling and fruitful life. His standards, though, have not led him to a remote mountain cabin, seeking isolation from all that is heathen and placing him out of touch with mainstream America. Yes, Graham takes a stand as a televangelist Christian, but he still maintains approachability.”
– William Minor

“Happy Birthday, Billy Graham! During the mid 1960’s, may parents and various evangelists planted and watered the seed in my journey to meeting Christ. You, dear brother, reaped the Harvest! I accepted the Lord while you gave the altar call at a crusade in 1969. I was watching one of the crusades on my parents’ black and white TV! I was just 9 years old and my parents were out. I was always being disciplined for watching TV when I should have been doing my homework. This was the one time that they were thankful for buying a TV! PTL! I look forward to spending Eternity with you and our Lord, dear brother!”
– J. Mark Robinson

“After an exhausting day in my family practice office, I poured a cup of hot coffee, put my feet up, and flipped on the TV. Billy Graham was preaching. I might have flipped to another channel, but the channel selector was missing. I wasn’t familiar with Billy Graham but listened closely to his message; I got down on my knees in front of the TV and prayed to receive Christ. As I started to grow spiritually, God started to change my life. I had a great desire to help the poor. The Lord gave me ideas about starting a nondenominational, non-profit health service. We opened the free clinic in the basement of a church in Toledo, which is within walking distance for thousands of the city’s working poor. After taking care of their physical problems, we talked to our patients about their spiritual needs. Throughout the years, hundreds received Christ.”
–D.P.

“I visited your Library on October 14th of this year, and want to tell you what a heart-warming experience it was. I was touched as I made my journey through your home, the prayer garden, and the Library, which contained so much about your ministry. It was during my visit while being surrounded by the Holy Spirit during my tour that I rededicated my life to Jesus Christ. I so wish I could remember the lady counselor who prayed for me, but it was through her prayer that I renewed my love and asked Christ the Savior to come into my heart to stay.”
–O.C.

“I had been raised a Christian all of my life, and I believed in Jesus. But I heard a new message on November night in 1981 at Rice Stadium in Houston. I had never had any one tell me that I could have a personal relationship with Christ. I had joined the church, but had never felt I had made a public commitment to Christ. I made that decision that night. Four months later, my husband walked out on me and our baby. My world was crashing around me. Then on one of my darkest nights two men came to follow up from the Billy Graham crusade. I realized again just how alive Christ was and how much he loved me. I wish I could tell you that my life has always been perfect since that day, but it hasn’t been. But I have never walked the difficult places alone; Christ has always been there. Each day I walk a little closer with Him. Thank you for making Christ alive to me that night.”
–J.P.

“I am grateful for the opportunity to write you and tell you how God has used you in my life. In 1995 I was in between combat tours of both the Persian Gulf and Bosnia. I was a Combat Engineer, (Canadian). I was in my barracks room one night and I was seriously contemplating suicide. Before cutting my wrists a voice told me to put on the television. There you were preaching about why we shouldn’t hurt ourselves, that suicide wasn’t the answer.”
– Anonymous

“I’d like to bless you with the knowledge that your son Franklin led me to Christ in 1995 in Wilmington, N.C. There must be no greater joy in life as a father than to know that your children are walking with God, leading others to know Jesus Christ. I have always wanted to thank you and Franklin for leading me to Christ and now for causing me to pursue my Savior with passion all over again. Thank you so much, and I hope you have a wonderful birthday.”
–F.S.

“I am a native of Jamaica, and I remember as a little girl I used to listen to you on the radio. I enjoyed every moment of it. I am now 48-years-old and living in the USA. I have continued to listen to you. I believe that as a child, God allowed you to plant seeds in me because now Jesus is my Lord and Savior. My life belongs to Him. God bless you for your ministry and for the dedication that you gave into it. I pray for your ministry and for your strength in the Lord.”
–S.L.

Dear Billy, you say in one of your books that many folks find Jesus over a period of time, and some know exactly when and where they found him. I found him in your Library one day in August ’07. My wife and I were taking the tour, and after the third room, the Holy Spirit grabbed me and hasn’t let go since. I have found a church, and my life has not been the same since that day. Someday I plan to revisit your Library and find that spot where tears came to my eyes, and I knew I was saved. Thank you for all you have done for the world.
–D.

“In the summer of 1995 while I was going through yet another crisis in my life, I was flipping through TV channels. I came across a Billy Graham Crusade. But his question, I will never forget. Billy asked, ” If you die tonight, where will you spend the eternity?” I was born and raised Muslim. No Muslim can answer that question with any confidence. I, too, could not answer it. But that was the beginning of my journey of faith.

“A very happy birthday to you, Dr. Billy Graham! In 1978 I was an atheist. In 1979 I read your book How to Be Born Again. I had many questions, and as I turned each page, the answer would be on the next page and so it went on all through the book! It got really exciting, so that by the end of the book, I believed in God–a miracle!

“You said ‘read the Bible,’ so I did, and it became the Living Word. You said ‘find a church,’ so I did. ‘Join a Bible study,’ you said, so I did. One evening after coming home from the Bible study I cried out to God, and I asked Jesus to be Lord of my life, every minute of it, and my life has been changed from that moment on.”
–P.O.

“I have read many of Billy’s books. He is a good man. I believe the Lord has used him to bring people from every tribe and nation to the saving knowledge of Jesus. I always wanted to meet you in person, to shake your hand and give you a hug. Although that may not happen in this life, I will see you on the other side. With love in the name of our Savior,
–S.

“Being brought up Jewish, we never watched your crusades on TV. One night, when babysitting a neighbor, I saw it was on so I watched, and it sparked something inside of me to search more. I spoke to the counseling center, and the person was very considerate and understanding. It led me to accepting Yeshua as my Messiah. May you have a blessed birthday, and may the BGEA continue its fine work.”
–J.C.

“During the Korean War, I was stationed in Japan with the U.S. Air Force. I attended one of your meetings at Yokata Air Force base in December 1952. At the end of the meeting, I accepted the Lord Jesus Christ in my heart. This was the first time that I had ever heard about the salvation we can have through Jesus Christ. It has been a great blessing in my life ever since I received Christ as my Savior.”
–A.R.

“In 1987, I was in a mental hospital. While there, I found a Decision magazine. I left the hospital and got an apartment. I was recording my own suicide message on a tape recorder and then put it back in the drawer. In the drawer was the Decision magazine that jumped out at me as if I’d never seen it before. The title was something like, “Is Jesus God?” I felt that God was speaking to me. I then gave up drinking and drugs after a prayer for God’s help that seemed to invite God’s presence in my lonely room. Then in August of 1988, I gave my life to the Lord and found a relationship with the living God that shook the foundations of my being. I’ve never been the same since. I found a church, Providence Baptist, where I met Sam & Nell Bailey who introduced me to their friends Danny and Anne Graham Lotz who prayed for and encouraged me as a new Christian. Today, I’m a missionary having served in Albania for 6 years and for the last year, I’ve represented Frontiers in mobilization.”
–Mark S.

“I wanted to send birthday wishes to Mr. Billy Graham and thank him for the many years of his ministry. I came to know the Lord through his ministry in 1970 and since then many of my family members have also, including my four children, and my brother-in-law, who was in prison. I was able to share the Lord with him and God saved him, changed him and used him there to minister to many men for many years until he went to Heaven last year. Through that, God has now led me to be in a prison ministry in York, SC. God keeps blessing us through first being saved through My Lord and your ministry. Thank you, Rev. Graham for your love for our Lord Jesus and your faithfulness.”
–Glenda S. Small

“I have listened to you since I was a little girl. My family lived in Deerfield Beach, FL, near Boca Raton. Our 1st Baptist Church took the teenagers to Miami to hear you in person. I enjoyed it so much. I always wanted my parents to take me to meet your children in NC when we went to the mountains there. They said your family needed their privacy. My Mama reminded me of your sweet Ruth. I love to read and hear Ann speak. Now your grandson will be taking over my in-laws church Coral Ridge! I feel like you are distant family!! Now that I am older, I have been supporting Franklin’s Samaritan’s purse to honor God and your family’s devotion to Him. Thank you for doing what was right all those years.”
–Susan Neff

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