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“Americas Pastor” passes away at 99

“My home is in Heaven. I’m just traveling through this world,” said Reverend William Franklin Graham Jr., better known as Billy Graham. He recently passed away at the age of 99 due to natural causes, Feb. 21, 2018.

Billy Graham, right, with former US President Bill Clinton. Graham passed away from natural causes at the age of 99, Feb. 21.

He was best known for his annual Billy Graham Crusades, which were held in sold-out stadiums and were broadcasted over television and radio for the world to tune in. Over 3.2 million people came to the Christian faith at these events.

Through his radio and television influence, Graham has preached the gospel to the most people in the history of Christianity, reaching a lifetime audience of approximately 2.2 billion.

Graham provided spiritual mentorship for 12 presidents, from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama, as well as many other influential public figures. President Trump tweeted out to commemorate his passing.

When Graham visited Fresno, he hosted a four-day crusade at Fresno State University’s Bulldog Stadium, attracting a crowd of 201,000 people. He was 82-years-old at the time and visited a month after the events of September 11. He encouraged people to pray for the President as he steered the country during these new, dangerous times. At the end of the event, almost 14,400 people came to accept Jesus.

“I don’t think there is a city or a county anywhere in the world quite like Fresno City and Fresno County,” Graham said.

FC junior high science and Bible teacher, Terry Richards, held the opportunity to see Graham in 1964 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.

“He’s certainly the ideal Christian man,” Richards said. “Even though some people he met did not come to Christ, they left with the knowledge that they needed Jesus. He never let anyone go by without knowing that. I was listening to Glenn Beck the morning after he died. He is a Mormon, but he went and had an appointment with him at his house and talked with him about Jesus. He was America’s pastor.”

Fresno community member Kathy Medina attended the five day Urbana Missions Conference in Champagne, Illinois in 1987.  

“I believe there were about 14,000 people in attendance,” Medina said. “The venue held 12,000 people. So, if you did not make it into the venue you had to the over-flow halls which were down the street at the University. And you watch the guest speakers on big screens. I grew up watching Billy Graham on television and read many of his books. I was drawn to his style of preaching. So a friend of mine went with me to the venue 4 hours early to get a good seat to hear Billy Graham speak that night.

“My husband and his friend decided to take the stage to entertain the few dozen people who were waiting for hours for the event to begin,” Medina continued. “My friend and I were the only ones laughing at their jokes, so the cute boys decided to come down off the stage and introduce themselves. And that was the beginning of a great life together and we’ve been married now for 28 years!”

Graham will be missed by millions. His global impact was extraordinary.

His funeral will be held on Friday, March 2. The funeral service is private, but a live stream will be provided, beginning at 10 a.m. E.S.T. Concluding the service, he will be buried next to his late wife Ruth at her Library’s Prayer Garden.

For more articles about his legacy, read Christian Today‘s Billy Graham and CNN‘s Billy Graham is remembered in what’s his final crusade.

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This author can be reached via twitter @logan6300 and via email: Logan Lewis.

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