Cole's father, Glen, was the former pastor at Capital Christian Center and was friends with Graham, helping to organize the Sacramento crusades. Yet the impact and influence of that quick meeting in New York is as fresh as if it happened yesterday. The ministers made the decision because, as one of them said: "I fear Catholicism more than I fear Communism". But when Billy preached, it was as if he was preaching to a group of sinners that didn't know the way, that were looking for the way. "He knew what it meant to be a bridge builder and a unifier, rather than a divider".
"He was speaking to the hearts of the people directly", said Professor Rev. Sejin Koh. "That became my passion, so I think that was the key point in changing my life". Graham should have heeded the psalmist's warning about putting one's faith in princes.
One of the people that Graham inspired was Carlos Baldovinos, executive director of Mission at Kern County.
"It was like going to church except it was like walking on holy ground", Cook said. Two, unlike other popular evangelists, he never let down his flock with unseemly scandal.
"Broad-minded, forgiving, and humble in his treatment of others, he exemplified the life of Jesus Christ by constantly reaching out for opportunities to serve".
Today, Warren says that some of his most valuable possessions are the personal cards and notes Graham would send him over the years. "He's been like the world's pastor for a long time".
Graham served as an example for many evangelicals to look up to. He wore Graham's hat on the inaugural dais. His efforts to bring everyone to Christ reached beyond any one nation or race.
"He was respected as a man of character and as a man of his word", said Meshaw.
It was at Western Springs that Graham met musician George Beverly Shea and made his first foray into electronic ministry with the radio.
He praised the pope for his Bible-based vision and message and said the pontiff's homily at the inauguration of his ministry "was a straight evangelistic address".
Since that introduction, Chandler said he saw Graham speak a few more times and was impressed by his focus and passion.
"As a good evangelist, he really energized people deep in their soul", says Mahony. "When I was reading the plaque, I was crying", said Kim Cecchi of Hemet. This resourceful philosopher was looking for a general statement to which all Christians could subscribe. He welcomed us into his home, stuck out his hand, and said, 'Hello.
"Thanks, Dr. Graham, for your life and witness". "That's the most important thing". He is a Guggenheim recipient and a Yale PhD.
He says Graham had the traits of a true leader, someone capable of counseling 13 US Presidents. He urged Dwight D. Eisenhower to run for president and played golf with John F. Kennedy.