His good friend Grady went with him. They didn’t want the evangelist to point his finger at them, so they pretended to be singers and sat in the choir behind the preacher. And they kept coming, night after night, until finally Billy Frank and Grady both found themselves at the altar—Billy Frank to accept Christ as his Savior, and Grady to dedicate his life to Christian service.
Three years later, Billy Frank Graham enrolled at Florida Bible Institute. He would paddle a canoe to a little island where he practiced preaching four borrowed sermons to the birds, alligators, and tree stumps. When he was asked to preach at a church, Graham replied, “You don’t understand. I’ve never really preached in my life.” The invitation stood and Billy Graham preached the following Sunday, flying through all four of those sermons in only ten minutes! But then he asked if anyone wanted to receive Christ, and several raised their hands.
Not long after that, Graham got on his knees and accepted God’s call to preach the Gospel. Since that time, it is estimated that Billy Graham preached to more than 215 million people, and hundreds of millions more were reached through his books, films, webcasts and television reruns. At twenty-nine he became the nation’s youngest college president at Northwestern College in St. Paul, Minnesota. He held crusades in over 600 cities and 185 countries.
He received 20 honorary doctorates, the Congressional Gold Medal (Congress’ highest award) and the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civil award our country can give a civilian. He was on America's "Most Admired" list a record 61 times, far more than anyone else. He and his wife Ruth Bell were married 60 years until she died in 2007. Together they had five children, 19 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.
Dr. Graham often said that the first thing he would do when he got to heaven would be to ask, “Why me, Lord? Why did You choose a farm boy from North Carolina to preach to so many people, to have such a wonderful team of associates, and to have a part in what You were doing in the latter half of the twentieth century?” He concluded that only God knew the answer.
But now, as of February 21, 2018, he knows the answer as well. “Well done, good and faithful servant!”
--Rocky Henriques, www.uticabc.com