On Tuesday of last week, Dave and I went to the Billy Graham Library that is located in Charlotte, NC. The Library itself is a 40,000 square-foot building shaped like a barn, with a huge cross-shaped window in the front, is designed to reflect Rev Graham’s journey from his childhood as a farm boy to the international ambassador of God’s love that he became. The grounds, which consist of 20 acres, includes not only the Library but also the Graham family home place where Rev Graham lived in from age 9 until he left for college, as well as the Memorial Prayer Garden where his wife, Ruth Bell Graham, is buried and where Rev Graham will be buried when he passes.
Rev Graham was born on November 07, 1918 and has spent the majority of his life preaching the gospel around the world and as has served as spiritual advisors to several Presidents from Harry S. Truman to Barack Obama. He has preached the gospel message to more than 215 million people in over 185 countries from around the world and was involved in the Civil Rights Movement, becoming a close and personal friend to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and, at one point, even bailing out Dr. King out of jail in the 1960’s when he was arrested in demonstrations.
Ruth Bell (McCue) Graham was born on June 10, 1920 in Qingjiang, Jiangsu, China to parents who were serving as medical missionaries. She spent the majority of her formative years in China and Korea, finishing high school in Montreat, North Carolina while her parents were there on furlough. She furthered her education at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois where she graduated and met Billy Graham, whom she married in the summer of 1943. Ruth bore five children during her marriage and became known as a Philanthropist, Poet, Author and Painter.
The consistent theme that I noticed throughout the time that I spent at the Billy Graham Library was that Rev Graham never took any accolades or praise for the work that he has accomplished during his ministry. He simply considered it his life’s work to tell history’s most powerful story. The love that he felt for his wife, Ruth, was quite evident as well as he often turned to Ruth for her advice and input about many ministry decisions and praised her for the raising of their children, often which she did alone, as Rev Graham was away quite a bit running his crusades.
Walking away from the Library, I had a greater understanding and a deeper respect for the work that Rev Graham has accomplished.
The house that Billy Graham grew up in was a two-story brick Colonial located on the outskirts of Charlotte, NC. The house was disassembled, board-by-board, brick-by-brick, numbered, and reassembled on the site of the Billy Graham Library which is four miles from the original homestead. The grounds that the house was originally built now serves as a shopping center.