The Reverend Billy Graham had a strong work ethic, a deep personal integrity and a praying mother. Those were just some of the influences that helped him leave a legacy in the lives of people around the world.
Graham shared the Gospel of Jesus Christ with nearly 215 million people in live audiences in more than 185 countries and territories.
And he reached hundreds of millions more through media.
He developed his strong work ethic growing up on a dairy farm during the Great Depression.
In 1978, CBN spoke with Graham's mother, Mrs. Frank Graham, in Charlotte, North Carolina, in a report for "The 700 Club."
"Our main prayer was that he might study to show himself 'approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth,'" she shared. "That was really the sincere prayer of our heart for years."
The Billy Graham memorial website explains that he wasn't always on a path to ministry. In fact, he was opposed to it.
"I detested going to church," he said about his younger years.
As a boy, he "preferred baseball to religion." Then God got a hold of the 15-year-old Graham in 1934 at a revival meeting held by an evangelist named Mordecai Fowler Ham.
"I was opposed to evangelism," he recalled. "But finally, I was persuaded by a friend (to go to the meeting)… and the Spirit of God began to speak to me as I went back night after night. One night, when the invitation was given to accept Jesus, I just said, 'Lord, I'm going.' I knew I was headed in a new direction."
The late gospel singer, George Beverly Shea, who sang at Graham's crusades, once talked about how people would remember the famous evangelist.
"Fifty years from now, those who remember would have to remember a man of great integrity, and a man with one message: that God loves you, and Christ was provided to save you," Shea said.
His powerful conviction of sharing the Gospel compelled the aging 85-year-old Graham to hold a final crusade in 2005 in New York City. Prior to that at a news conference, he offered these poignant words:
"I look forward to death with great anticipation," he said. "I'm looking forward to seeing God face to face."
Graham and his wife, Ruth, who passed away in 2007, had five children: Gigi, Anne, Ruth, Franklin and Ned.
The husband, father and evangelist who led so many to Christ is now walking the streets of Glory himself, along with those he brought to the Lord and ahead of others who will join them in Heaven in the years ahead.
I, too, am a product of Graham's ministry. At the age of 16, my mother went forward at one of his crusades to reaffirm her faith in Christ. She would later lead me to Jesus as a child.