New Orleans pastor comes to Charlotte to pay respects to Billy Graham

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Again on Tuesday, thousands of people made what for many was a pilgrimage to pay their last respects to Reverend Billy Graham.  Today was the last chance to visit the library while Reverend Graham was lying in repose there.

Reverend Lamar Dunford is pastor of New Orleans Innovations Full Gospel Baptist Church.

"It was important for me to be here today for the simple reason that Billy Graham has mean so much to us over the years," Reverend Dunford said.

Reverend Dunford was one of those thousands to visit the Billy Graham Library today…from the famous, like former president Bill Clinton, and Super Bowl and NASCAR championship winning Coach Joe Gibbs…to the busloads of visitors who came from all over the Carolinas…

"I think he'll be remembered for God's love because he exemplified that in the way he lived his life," said Craig Ledford, visiting with his wife Donette from Mooresboro, NC."It's just a special occasion because he touched so many people's lives."

…and from across the country, including this New Orleans pastor…

"We had the black and white TV and Billy Graham meant so much to us because we loved to hear about the Billy Graham crusade and in those messages, that he gave, he left a profound impact on our lives even today," reverend Dunford added.

That impact is shown when many visitors leave the Graham home place…many are in tears, stopping to pray with workers from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association.

That was the case for Reverend Dunford, who, even though his spiritual journey began when he was in his late 30's, wants to pattern his ministry after Reverend Graham, and recently his wife said he was pretty close.

"One time I was preaching and she said 'Go Billy,' she called me Billy, she said you reminded me of Billy Graham when you preach," reverend Dunford said.

That's high praise he says, and adds that the highest praise he could hear, is what he says Reverend Graham is hearing right now.

"He's gone on to be with the Lord," reverend Dunford added, "and the Lord will say to him without a shadow of a doubt, well done thou good and faithful servant."

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