World renowned preacher and evangelist, Billy Graham, has died at the age of 99. The sad event took place at his home in Montreal, North Carolina yesterday according to the BBC.
As an Evangelist, Billy Graham paid Liberia many visits and was well known to some past Liberian Presidents including William V. S. Tubman and William R. Tolbert, who was also a Preacher of the Baptist Convention.
In 1972, Rev. Graham accompanied then U.S. First Lady Pat Nixon to represent her husband, Richard Nixon, at the inauguration of President William V. S. Tubman. In 1960, President William V. S. Tubman invested Rev. Graham as Grand Commander Human Order of African Redemption.
In a memoir, Rev. Graham recounted his impression of the investiture ceremony, saying: “President Tubman invested me, while in the country, as a Grand Commander of the Humane Order of African Redemption, the nation’s second-highest honor. The title commander was misapplied, I was sure, but the words humane and redemption meant a great deal to me, in view of my pursuit of God’s calling for my life. I knew that Africa could move in any of several directions–Communist, Islamic, animistic, or Christian–and I was there to promote the last.”
Graham was also known to many other Liberian officials, as well as a cross section of staff at the ELWA Ministry.
During his many visits to Liberia, he usually preached at the Centennial Pavilion in Monrovia. In his evangelistic broadcasts, he usually preached on the theme, “The hour of decision.”
In order to continue the Graham’s evangelistic ministry but in another way, his son Franklin Graham took over, focusing on humanitarian activities.
He founded the Samaritan’s Purse; the non-governmental organization that helped to expand and revise the ELWA Hospital to its current modern state.
The Samaritan’s Purse has also helped to renovate two airstrips in Liberia including the Foyah Airstrip and the Tappita Baptist Mission Airstrip.
The late Billy Graham did not only make his ministry felt in Liberia alone. His global ministry was felt in Nigeria, South Africa, North Korea, the United Kingdom and many other countries.
Graham is also recorded for having shared a pulpit with American civil rights leader, Martin Luther King, Jr. in New York.
Born November 7, 1918, Billy Graham was raised on his family’s farm in Charlotte, North Carolina.
He became converted to Christianity at the age of 16 and was ordained in 1939 as Minister of the Gospel at 21.
There are a couple of things to remember of Billy Graham in his Christian life. He avoided sexual and financial scandals — which dogged some contemporary televangelists through the decades (BBC). He was a also social conservative who opposed same-sex marriage and abortion.
His final revival meeting preaching was done in New York in 2005 at the age of 86. In his last word, Graham is quoted by the BBC as having said, “I know that soon my life will be over. I thank God for it, and for all He has given me in this life. But I look forward to heaven.”