Billy Graham's granddaughter, Upstate pastor both reflect on his - FOX Carolina 21

Billy Graham's granddaughter, Upstate pastor both reflect on his life as he celebrates his 99th birthday

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Billy Graham and his granddaughter, Jerushah Armfield (Courtesy: Jersushah Armfield). Billy Graham and his granddaughter, Jerushah Armfield (Courtesy: Jersushah Armfield).
Reverend Billy Graham pictured with close friend and pastor, Dr. Donald Wilton (Courtesy: Dr. Donald Wilton). Reverend Billy Graham pictured with close friend and pastor, Dr. Donald Wilton (Courtesy: Dr. Donald Wilton).
Billy Graham with two of his grandchildren (Courtesy: Jerushah Graham). Billy Graham with two of his grandchildren (Courtesy: Jerushah Graham).
Reverend Billy Graham pictured with close friend and pastor, Dr. Donald Wilton (Courtesy: Dr. Donald Wilton). Reverend Billy Graham pictured with close friend and pastor, Dr. Donald Wilton (Courtesy: Dr. Donald Wilton).
ASHEVILLE, NC (FOX Carolina) -

His family said it would be a quiet celebration with just family, close friends and lemon cake with curd icing and Upstate pastor Dr. Donald Wilton is one of those close friends who made a trip up to Montreat on November 7th to celebrate Reverend Billy Graham's 99th birthday.

"In his physical body Mr. Graham is very frail. He's carrying a 99 year old body which happens to the best of us but his mind continues to be the same, beautiful mind that he's always had," said Dr. Wilton.

Wilton, the pastor of First Baptist Church of Spartanburg, has served as Graham's pastor for years now and he said the Evangelical leader has made a lasting impact on his life. He now visits Graham weekly. 

"Because of the openness and the honesty of his own life in sharing with me and through that mentorship, I believe that God has allowed me to at least become a better person than I was before I sat down with him, and that's been every time," said Dr. Wilton.

Wilton said the hallmark of Graham's work, circles back to one thing. 

"A life totally changed by Jesus Christ. That was bent on passing on in every way that hope and total change to every other person," said Dr. Wilton. 

A sentiment echoed by his granddaughter, Jerushah Armfield, who said the humility and kindness her grandfather has shown the world is the most authentic she's ever witnessed.

"He is the same man fielding calls from presidents as he is watching my thanksgiving play as a child. His hopes and dreams have never been for himself but for the world to know the love of Jesus and to him it was really that simple," said Armfield.

Although quieter and fragile, Armfield said her grandfather is still present.

"His sweet spirit had not changed a bit... He is aware that we are present and loving on him and occasionally will respond with something sweet like and “I love you”. Always holding my hand and being tender," said Armfield.

She said on his birthday, she reflects back on his life and legacy.

"He has always been to me a very hands on grandfather. He was Billy Graham to most but Daddy Bill to me. His birthday always makes me think about the gratefulness I have for being part of such an incredible legacy and how blessed I am. I think I also realize that the world will lose him soon and there is a sadness but such an amazing peace that comes with that," said Armfield.

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