By Patrick H. - Christian and Family Book and Article Ghostwriter
It was 1982 and one of the men I had discipled at McClatchey High school was now a pastor in Spokane, Washington. He asked me, "How would you like to speak at a Billy Graham Crusade?"
I was ecstatic!
I flew to Spokane and was sitting in my hotel room when I heard a knock on the door. I opened it and there stood Cliff Barrows, Dr. Graham's main assistant. He said, "Pat, I'd like you to meet Bill Graham!" (he was known as "Bill" to his friends)
I smiled and before I knew it, Dr. Billy Graham was in my hotel room!
Cliff excused himself and left the two of us alone to visit. I had been with Dr. Graham, Bill Bright and E.V. Hill in Dallas for Explo '72, but never like this. I was an outsider hanging around spiritual giants.
Bill smiled at me and asked, "Why don't you tell me about yourself, Pat?"
I thought, "Me? You have it BACKWARDS. You are the legend here!"
For over an hour, I talked and he listened.
He was like Jesus with people.
We prayed together and that night I went over to Joe Albi stadium where 37,000 people awaited us. When he saw me, he walked over quickly and gave me a bear hug, like the dear old friends we were!
I was the first comedian to do stand up at one of his Crusades. I did a set on, "The Psychotic Family Vacation," perfect for that crowd of parents and kids. Then, I shared my personal testimony on how I personally met Jesus.
I had never addressed that size of a group before or since. I felt like I was talking to a mural.
It went over very well and I sat down on the stage and enjoyed his sermon. I was thinking, "What an honor this is. What a GREAT man!"
We lost him today but heaven gained a gentleman.
He is reunited with his lovely wife, Ruth, and Dr. Bright and our Father in heaven is enjoying their fellowship. I imagine the angels are hugging everyone!
I will never forget meeting him. I will never forget that night.
Bill Graham is the real deal, as genuine and sincere a man of God you will ever see on this earth.
I was privileged to see that greatness up close and personal. Christianity...the way it should be.