Billy Graham
(Photo : Warren K. Leffler/Wikimedia/CC)
Evangelist Billy Graham celebrated his 98th birthday on November 7. He has reached billions of people for Christ through radio, TV, and tours to 185 countries.

Evangelist Billy Graham turned 98 this Monday, having preached the gospel at the pulpit for more than 60 years.

He has preached live to over 200 million people in more than 185 countries.

"He has led hundreds of thousands of individuals to make personal decisions to live for Christ, which is the main thrust of his ministry," his profile at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) states.

"Today, Mr. Graham and his ministry are known around the globe. He has preached in remote African villages and in the heart of New York City, and those to whom he has ministered have ranged from heads of state to the simple living bushmen of Australia and the wandering tribes of Africa and the Middle East," it continues.

He was born on November 7, 1918, and was raised on a dairy farm in Charlotte, North Carolina. At the age of 15 in 1934, he gave his life to Jesus and five years later he was ordained by Peniel Baptist Church in Florida.

He graduated from Wheaton College with a degree in anthropology, and married classmate Ruth Bell who was a daughter of a missionary surgeon and had lived for 17 years in China.

Ruth Bell Graham died at the age of 87 in 2007. They have five children, and 19 grandchildren.

Graham founded BGEA in 1950 and took the gospel to billions of people worldwide through radio and television.

He has written 33 books, and many of them are among the best sellers. His recent books are "The Reason for My Hope: Salvation," "Nearing Home: Life, Faith and Finishing Well," and "Storm Warning."

"The world celebrates Dr. Graham's 98th birthday because of a decision he made 82 years ago last Tuesday," said lawmaker Robert Pittenger (R-NC). "On November 1, 1934, Dr. Graham accepted Jesus as his personal Savior and committed to telling others about Jesus. God used that decision to impact millions of lives."