Billy Graham Turns 90
The famed evangelist proves an old dog can learn new tricks.
November 7, 2008
Billy Graham may be celebrating his 90th birthday today, but he's not done learning yet. The world-famous evangelist will use the Internet for the first time this week when he sends an e-mail reply to a supporter.
"We're helping him write it, but he's going to push the button," said Graham's son Franklin, who has received more than 100,000 letters through the Internet to give to his father for his birthday. "He was asking me the other day, 'How does it work?' And I said, 'I don't know, but I know it does.'"
Graham preached in person in more than 185 countries to over 215 million people during his more than 70 years of ministry. He prayed with every American President from Harry Truman to George W. Bush.
Graham now uses a walker, his hearing is failing, and macular degeneration is deteriorating his eyesight. But his children say his mind is still very sharp, and as he reaches his 90th birthday, he has one birthday wish: to turn 91. In age, Graham is still behind gospel singer George Beverly Shea, who regularly sang at Billy Graham crusades.
"Bev Shea turns 100 in February, so I think Daddy's trying to catch up to him," Franklin Graham told Christianity Today. "I try to tell him from time to time, 'Dad, let's go for a walk,' and he will look at me a little bit disgusted and say, 'You wait until you turn 90.'"
The last time Graham preached publicly was in 2006, when he accompanied Franklin to a festival in Baltimore. Graham is now working on a book about aging, but has been set back by his health. He spent a night in the hospital last month after falling when trying to pet his dog, Sam.
"He has said several times, 'Franklin, I wish I had the strength to do one more crusade,'" his son said. Family and old friends such as singer Bill ...