In one month, the Rev. Billy Graham will celebrate his 90th birthday, and those who have been touched in some way by the world renowned evangelist's ministry are being encouraged to share their story with him.
"On November 7, my father will celebrate his 90th birthday, and we'd like to give him a special gift," writes Graham's son, Franklin, who serves as president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.
"If you or someone in your family came to know Jesus Christ through his ministry, please share that with him. Send us your story – or a simple greeting – by November 1, and we'll put all the messages together and present them to my father when we celebrate his birthday," Franklin added.
For more than 60 years, Billy Graham has preached the good news of God's love in-person to nearly 215 million people at hundreds of events and countless millions more via television and radio.
The influential evangelist is regularly listed by the Gallup organization as one of the "Ten Most Admired Men in the World," having made an unparalleled 51 appearances since 1948 – 44 of which were consecutive appearances.
Graham has also been a friend to every U.S. president since Harry Truman and every one of them "found both a need and a use for this one man," according to Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy, authors of The Preacher and The Presidents.
"He was every bit famous as they were," Gibbs told ABC News. It was "publicly and politically very valuable to be seen with one of the most admired religious leaders in the world."
Those who have been personally touched by an aspect of Billy Graham's ministry are welcome and encouraged to visit www.billygraham90.com to share a greeting or a personal story about his ministry they feel would encourage Graham at next month's milestone.
Following Graham's birthday in November, all of the greetings and wishes in honor of his faithful decades-long ministry will be combined into books and presented to him during a special tribute dinner with family and ministry friends later in the month.
Also in recognition of Graham's 90th birthday, a movie based on the early years of the evangelist's life is preparing for limited release.
"Billy: The Early Years," which tells the story of Graham and his life before international prominence, is set to release this Friday in at least 280 theaters – mostly throughout Bible Belt states.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association revealed in August that it had not collaborated with nor does it endorse the movie and Franklin Graham has criticized the movie for depicting events "that never happened or are greatly embellished."
But filmmaker Bill McKay and Graham's eldest daughter, Gigi, who has endorsed the movie and is helping to promote it, say they feel Franklin was just nitpicking.
"It's a movie, not a documentary," McKay told Christianity Today. "We were just trying to humanize the experience in that scene. But every step of the way, we tried very hard to be faithful to Dr. Graham's story."
Producer Larry Mortorff further insists that the movie is a homage to Billy Graham.
Since retiring from public ministry due to his failing health, Graham has been largely confined to his home in Montreat, N.C. He has suffered from Parkinson's disease for about 15 years, has had fluid on the brain, pneumonia, broken hips, and recently revealed that he is suffering from prostate cancer.
Next month's birthday celebration will be the second since the death of his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, who died four days after her 87th birthday in 2007.
Ruth Graham was buried at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte, N.C., where Graham said he too would be later buried one day.