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CBN News Team Shares Personal Stories About Pat Robertson's Life-Changing Impact

06-09-2023
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Pat Robertson with a film camera in the earliest days of CBN.
Pat Robertson with a film camera in the earliest days of CBN.

Note: It's been one year since the passing of CBN Founder Pat Roberton. In honor of his legacy, we're revisiting this reflective story about his impact on the CBN News team.

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA – He loved a great scoop and good storytelling – that's how one CBN News reporter described Pat Robertson's affinity for the news. And his passion inspired a generation of journalists and producers to work at CBN. 

From war zones to the campaign trail to the mission field, our reporters traveled the world with him as he followed God's leading. Here are some of their personal stories of how his faith and influence shaped their lives and callings.

"Prayer Link" host Charlene Aaron grew up watching the 700 Club, never dreaming she would one day work for its host.  "His heart for souls, his heart for prayer, his heart for Jesus. He loves Jesus with all of his heart. That is why I wanted to work at CBN because it's like—I want what he has," she recalls.

"Studio 5" host Efrem Graham watched as well. "There was a rule growing up in my house as a kid – you could not watch television before school. The one exception was if you were watching Christian television."

Years later, after accepting a job at CBN News, he walked the campus for the first time. "I could really clearly hear God saying to me 'this is what believing in a vision looks like. This is what it looks like. This is what obedience looks like'," Efrem recalls. 

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Pat inspired generations of reporters and producers to work at CBN, and sometimes directly paved the way.

National Security Correspondent Caitlin Burke says, "He took a chance on me almost a decade ago, advocating that I be put on air despite my youth and inexperience which in turn allowed me to step into a calling that God had put on my heart. I will forever be grateful for his 'yes'."

CBN News Washington Bureau Chief Dana Ritter says, "When I met Pat, I told him that I thought I always wanted to work at NBC but God called me to work at CBN, and he said 'It sounds like you had a case of spiritual dyslexia.'"

Senior International Correspondent Dale Hurd first met Pat working for another network as he covered him on the campaign trail running for president. "I remember being so impressed with his breadth of knowledge on policy issues and that was the beginning of my coming to CBN News," he says.

Gary Lane was Pat's senior campaign press secretary when he ran for president. He remembers a tough day on the trail when he asked Pat why he was running. "He said, 'God has told me to do that. I can't expect Christians to get involved in the political process if I'm not willing to put myself out there and do the same'," Gary recalls.

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Lane later produced for Pat after the Berlin Wall came down, encouraging him and Billy Graham to walk along the wall. "It was a very historic and touching moment as both of these great evangelists looked into East Germany and said, 'We're going to claim that for Jesus' and Pat said, 'The door is wide open now. Let's share the gospel with them'."

George Thomas traveled to India with Pat and remembers incredible ministry, including speaking to a crowd of half a million people in New Delhi.
 
George remembers, "I'm fixing the mic and he says, 'Pray for me, I'm nervous' and I said sure, and I just put my hand on his chest and I just prayed with him and a few minutes later he goes up and gives this powerful message. And after half an hour, 45 minutes of preaching, half the crowd gives their life to Jesus Christ and it's a powerful moment."

***For more information on the life and ministry of Pat Robertson, please visit CBN.com/Pat. To watch his biblical teachings and learn about the God he loved and served, visit CBNfamily.com. To make a memorial gift, visit CBN.com/HonorPat.***

Jerusalem Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell says Pat's vow to stand by Israel in the 1970s not only endured for his lifetime but made a profound mark around the world and at CBN.
 
"Pat kept that vow and I believe the CBN global family has been blessed because of Pat's steadfastness and faithfulness to stand with Israel and the Jewish people."

Israeli, Christian Leaders Praise Pat Robertson's Early and Steadfast Dedication to Israel

In 2006, Wendy Griffith traveled with him to Israel to cover the war with Hezbollah.
 
Wendy recalls, "He was fearless. There's literally rockets going overhead and he's doing a live shot with Fox News and sure enough a rocket whizzes over our heads and explodes on the mountain behind us."

In all the CBN Newsrooms, from Virginia Beach, to Washington, D.C., to Jerusalem, Pat's love for the news was contagious and inspiring.
 
Health Reporter Lorie Johnson says, "He was always so up to speed and up to date on what was happening, the latest medical news." 
 
Washington Correspondent Jennifer Wishon says, "One of the things that always struck me about Pat was his love of the news – a great scoop, good story telling, a compelling lead. He almost had a childlike love of telling the news, of speaking truth into all the things happening the world."

Many at CBN News also recall the details he remembered about their families and the times he showed up.
 
Wendy says, "I'll just never forget his smile at my wedding. I think he was happier, as happy as I was, because as everyone knows I was single for a long time, but he prayed such a beautiful prayer over me and my husband and I'll never forget it."

But perhaps Pat's biggest legacy for reporters and producers was his life of faith.

Chief Political Analyst David Brody says, "When I think about Pat, I think about how he listened to God. He was always listening to God."

Washington Correspondent Jenna Browder says, "When I think of Pat and of his life and his legacy I think of what the Bible calls an oak of righteousness. Giving shade to generations and generations to come." 

CBN News Anchor John Jessup says, "I believe Pat's legacy centers on the idea of his obedience and also his audacious faith. It's what led him to do foolish things in the eyes of the world like starting a Christian broadcasting ministry with no experience, little support and barely any finances."

CBN News Financial Editor and Senior Producer Drew Parkhill said, "I think what he would want people to understand is that the glory and the honor belong to the Lord Jesus Christ. He simply said 'yes' to God."

Anchor and Reporter Mark Martin says, "He yielded to God and by doing that he allowed God to work through him in just an incredible, supernatural way."

White House Correspondent Abigail Robertson, who is also Pat's granddaughter, says his giant faith never wavered, even in his last moments.

"We walked in the door and it was really the first time that he acknowledged that he was nearing home, that he was heading to heaven soon. And we walk in and he goes, 'I've been asking the Lord, what do I need to tell them, what do I need to share with them?' And he just looked at us and he said – trust God. God is always faithful. Never, ever, ever has he failed me. Never, ever, ever has he let me down," Abigail shares. "It's what I'm going to carry with me in these weeks and months to come.  

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Did you know?

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