Graham's Hometown Reflects on Evangelist's Influence

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Doctors say Rev. Billy Graham's condition is steadily improving and he's expected to return home within the next couple days.

Graham was admitted to a North Carolina hospital Saturday for bronchitis.

This latest health scare has residents in his hometown of Ashville, N.C., reflecting on Graham's influence. Though it's felt worldwide, they feel a special connection to the 93-year-old evangelist.

"He's someone who I look up to greatly and he's been a great influence on my life and my ministry and I pray for him," Danny Gasperson, pastor of Zephyr Hills Free Will Baptist Church, said.

Gasperson said he's a preacher because of Graham's influence.

"His ministry has been impeccable," he said. "He has given of himself and he's done so much -- not just (for) our area but for the entire world and the Kingdom of God."

Visitors at the Billy Graham Library in Charlotte were surprised to hear Graham was in the hospital. Many drove from all over the country to retrace the reverend's faith journey.

"We pray for the best for him and his family," Graham library visitor Dennie Fordham said.

Meanwhile, Graham's daughter Gigi said her father's fever is gone and the antibiotics seem to be working against the infection.

"We're feeling good about it," she said. "We really are. We feel it's under control and as I said, he has the sweetest, most wonderful care."

Graham's niece, Cathie Bowers, said he's in great spirits and ready to get back home and finish writing his latest book, due out next year.

This is Graham's third hospital stay in little more than a year for respiratory problems.

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Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

Caitlin Burke and Efrem Graham

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