GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – The passing of 99-year-old evangelical preacher, Reverend Billy Graham, is being felt around the world.
In all, nearly 215 million people heard his messages that impacted countless lives, including some here in eastern North Carolina.
Jay Buckingham is a pastor at Covenant Church in Greenville.
Buckingham said he saw Graham as a thirteen-year-old in Dallas, Texas.
“The invitation was given and I went forward and went down,” said Buckingham. “I didn’t necessarily pray to receive Christ but that started my journey on understanding what it means to be a Christ follower, to have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”
That sentiment is felt by others in the east including Pastor Mike Meshaw of Grace Church.
Meshaw said, “I used to turn the TV on, and like now we had a lot of TV preachers, but Billy Graham stood out.”
For Meshaw, there was no one like Billy Graham.
“It always amazed me how clearly and powerful his message was,” said Meshaw. “It wasn’t a complex message but it was about Jesus and hope that he gave.”
Graham served as an example for many evangelicals to look up to.
“He was respected as a man of character and as a man of his word,” said Meshaw. “People trusted him. That’s why he had access to presidents and prime ministers.”
Whether world leaders or everyday peopleGraham’sms legacy stands as one of hope and grace.
Buckingham said, “He cared about people he cared about people everywhere in the world he cared about every race, because he knew in his heart, I believe, that every person needed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.”