Billy and Ruth Graham had a special friendship with Johnny and June Carter Cash that began in 1969 after Billy asked the governor of Tennessee for assistance to meet Cash. Billy recognized that many young people weren’t going to church because they felt like everything there was so old – especially the music. Billy knew that his Crusades could suffer in the same respect if he didn’t think about how to reach the younger generation. He invited Johnny Cash to his Knoxville Crusade in 1970, and Johnny ultimately made 30 Crusade appearances over the years.
The Grahams and the Cashes were prayer partners and confidants, and they sometimes shared holidays and vacations together. In 1982, Johnny Cash sent a letter and coin to Ruth Graham as a Christmas gift. The letter reads:
“The Widow’s Mite” probably the smallest coin ever made. The very poor donated this coin to the temple treasury. This one is very rare in that it is about twice as large as it should be. Roughly struck by hand in Jerusalem, too much metal was poured into the mold, and it spilled out the edges. Struck in early 1st century A.D., sometime between the birth of Christ and the destruction of Jerusalem 70 A.D.