As the Christian world mourns the passing of Billy Graham who died Wednesday at 99 years of age at his home in Charlotte, North Carolina, the evangelist's numerous children and grandchildren are sharing some of the joy, humor, and great love for the Gospel that he exemplified throughout his life and ministry.
The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association announced that a motorcade will depart the Billy Graham Training Center at The Cove in Asheville on Saturday, and will make its way to Billy Graham Library in Charlotte around 3 p.m. local time.
It added that Billy Graham will be laid in repose inside the Graham Family Homeplace, on the grounds of the Billy Graham Library, which will be open to the public Monday-Tuesday. Friday, March 2, will see a private funeral service before he is buried beside his wife, Ruth, in the Prayer Garden at the Billy Graham Library.
Here are seven notable reactions to Billy Graham's death from his family, revealing the surprises and passions of his life.
1. Franklin Graham
Franklin Graham, who is president of BGEA and of Samaritan's Purse, said in a Facebook post on Wednesday that there is sadness, but also joy that his father is now with God.
"My father Billy Graham was once asked, 'Where is Heaven?' He replied, 'Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to Him soon!' This morning, at the age of 99, he departed this world into eternal life in Heaven, prepared by the Lord Jesus Christ — the Savior of the world — whom he proclaimed for nearly 80 years," the evangelist shared.
"He will be missed by our family, his colleagues, faithful ministry partners, and, yes, many around the world. But what joy he has to be welcomed by God the Father, and be reunited with my mother in the presence of Jesus who speaks peace to eternal souls."
Franklin Graham asked readers around the world:
"What about you? When you depart this world do you know with certainty where you will spend eternity? You can know this today. Jesus said, 'For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life' (John 3:16)."
2. Anne Graham Lotz
Evangelist Anne Graham Lotz, one of Billy Graham's daughters, said in an emotional Facebook post that both her father, and her husband, Daniel Lotz, who died in 2015, are now in Heaven.
"My two favorite, dearly beloved men are together again! Looking up with tears on my face," she wrote, sharing a photo of the two men together.
In a longer statement titled "Daddy Is Home," Lotz reflected that her father "was always a farmer at heart."
"Who loved his dogs and his cat. Who followed the weather patterns almost as closely as he did world events. Who wore old blue jeans, comfortable sweaters, and a baseball cap," she wrote about his down to earth lifestyle.
"But when I think of him I also think of his message because he was immersed in it. Saturated in it. He was his message ... a simple man who had responded to God's love by placing his faith in Jesus, receiving the assurance that his sins were forgiven, that he would not perish, but would have everlasting life. Simple faith. Faith that now matters more than anything else," she added.
Lotz shared her hopes that her father's death will be a "rallying cry."
"That tens of thousands of pastors, teachers, evangelists, and ordinary men and women will rise up to take his place. That they will take up his message like a baton being passed in a relay race and faithfully pass it on to those with whom they come in contact," she continued.
"Because Daddy's message is God's message. And it's a message of genuine hope for the future, of love for the present, of forgiveness for the past."
3. Boz Tchividjian
Boz Tchividjian, one of Graham's grandsons, said that the world-famous evangelist was his hero.
"I am forever humbled to have known and loved a man who was the real deal — who was the same person whether he was in front of thousands or whether we were walking alone through the woods," he wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.
The law professor at Liberty University, who has been working to expose sexual abuse in Protestant churches, added:
"In an era when many evangelical leaders were exposed for deep moral and financial failings, I am grateful that my experience was much different. I could have easily grown to become cynical about Jesus and those who claim to follow him, but I knew and loved a man who made Jesus that much more beautiful to me."
Boz Tchividjian further explained that Billy Graham didn't allow differences to get in the way of "his love for people."
"He understood that regardless of position, wealth, political affiliation, race, gender or any other defining characteristic, all are made in the image of God and are in need of His love," he wrote.
"Though some Christians criticized Daddy Bill for being too ecumenical or compromising, I witnessed his love for people open doors for him to be the hands and feet of Jesus to many who had been ignored, marginalized or simply written off by the ones doing the criticizing."
4. Jerushah Armfield
Jerushah Armfield, a writer and a pastor's wife in South Carolina, whose uncle is Franklin Graham, wrote on Twitter about her grandfather:
"My hero. Something so anticipated can still be so shocking. Thank you for the love. The world has lost a warrior, a lion and the most humble authentic spirit I have ever known. Blessed to call him grandfather. Well done sweet sweet faithful Daddy Bill."
She later told WSPA that the evangelist "was the same person talking to me about my school program, as he was fielding phone calls from the president of the United States."
"I don't think I experienced lack of a grandfather figure," Armfield said.
"He was friends to every president from long before I was born and just a real spirit of unity for this country," she added.
Armfield reflected that the world has lost "what I would believe is the last of his kind."
"They can just sense the authenticity of who he was," she said.
5. Tullian Tchividjian
Tullian Tchividjian, a Christian book author and former pastor, shared a number of memories of seeing his grandfather preach before the American people, including one time in May 1996 when he was presented with the Congressional Gold Medal at the U.S. Capitol.
"It was no surprise that he presented the Gospel that day. He spoke boldly of sin, the Cross, and the amazing grace of God. He spoke of God's infinite willingness to forgive, the brevity of life and the fleeting pleasures of this world," Tullian Tchividjian recalled on his website.
"He looked into the eyes of the many high ranking political leaders who were there that day and challenged them to contemplate death and the life after. He was so bold, so unashamed of the Gospel — yet so winsome," he added.
"To this day, I'm not sure I have ever heard the truth spoken in love more effectively. I had heard him preach a thousand times, but this time was particularly moving. I'll never forget that day."
Tullian Tchividjian shared the details behind his last real conversation with his grandfather, where Billy Graham admitted that he greatly missed his wife, who died in 2007, and that he had seen most of his closest friends pass away.
The evangelist shared his sorrow for the world that needs the Gospel, but at the same time also expressed big interest in his grandson's life and ministry, and the challenges and opportunities he faces.
6. Aram Tchividjian
Aram Tchividjian, who works as a web developer, told the Palm Beach Post that Billy Graham's family were starting to think he really could live to 100. Still, he shared that his grandfather lived every one of his 99 years with integrity and humor.
"There are some things people don't know, and this makes me laugh, but his favorite movie was 'Pretty Woman.' His favorite restaurant was Morrison's Cafeteria. That sums him up," he recalled.
"We were at Morrison's once, maybe 10 of us, and he's got a baseball cap on. Two elderly women walk up and stop at the table and say, 'Excuse us, but has anyone ever told you that you look so much like Rev. Billy Graham?' He said, 'That's so funny. I get that all the time!'"
"This was a guy," Aram Tchividjian continued, "who was friends with the Queen, who had Muhammad Ali and Bono visit him at home, who was friends with presidents. He just had no ego about it at all. He had a supernatural gift to be like, 'Yeah, Bono was here, but I don't think that's any more special than the maintenance guy mowing the lawn outside.'"
7. Will Graham
William Franklin Graham Jr., grandson of Billy Graham and son of Franklin Graham, said in a statement to The Christian Post:
"My grandfather once said, 'One day you'll hear that Billy Graham has died. Don't you believe it. On that day I'll be more alive than ever before! I've just changed addresses.' My friends, today my grandfather moved from the land of the dead to the land of the living."
Will Graham said that "we mourn that he is no longer with us physically here on Earth, but we don't grieve as those who have no hope."
"My grandfather invested his entire life in sharing the promise of eternity through Jesus Christ, and today he had the opportunity to realize that hope himself, kneeling before his Savior and hearing the words, 'Well done, good and faithful servant.' My family appreciates your prayers now and in the days ahead," he told CP.