MILWAUKEE -- Millions of people around the world on Wednesday, Feb. 21 remembered the life of a man many refer to as "America's Pastor." Billy Graham passed away at his home in North Carolina at the age of 99.
During his life, Rev. Graham traveled the world, evangelizing to millions of people, praying with our nation's presidents and serving as a "guiding light" to generations of Americans. Along the way, his mission influenced the Milwaukee community.
"I don't believe that one can die before their work is done if they're servants of God, and in the role of God, and he was. I'm confident, I have no doubt he is in heaven," said Pastor Julius Malone at New Testament Church.
Pastor Malone has led New Testament Church in Milwaukee for nearly 38 years. He said Rev. Graham's organization has made a lasting impact on him.
"They would pray, for example, as if everything depended upon God, but then they would work as though everything depended upon them, so there was a neat balance and it's hard to find that," Pastor Malone said.
In the 1970s, Malone met Graham during a crusade in Milwaukee.
"He's a very humble man, and that was another thing that impressed me," Malone said. "He'll be remembered. He'll be remembered."
At Eastbrook Church, Pastor Matt Erickson recalled his time at Wheaton College, an Alma Mater he shares with Graham.
"I would stop in oftentimes and reflect on being a part of something bigger and his great legacy, kind of laid an amazing foundation for that aspect of the campus," said Pastor Erickson.
Pastor Erickson said Graham's ability to unify people was uplifting.
"One of the things that's amazing about Billy Graham is how he broke down some of the dividing walls among races in the work he did," said Erickson.
Erickson said he even broke down walls among Christian denominations -- spreading a message of togetherness that's resounded around the world.
"He wanted to lift up and share the message of Christ, that is just so evident. I don't think there's a lot of people who have that level and scope of impact. It's astounding," said Erickson.
The life work of Rev. Graham will continue after his death, in part through the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association based in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is also expected to be laid to rest at the Billy Graham Library there, beside his late wife.