Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Another Surprise from God!


I was once again overwhelmed by God's surprise. I did not plan to visit Charlotte in my itinerary. I did not know that Billy Graham is from Charlotte and that the Billy Graham library is located in Charlotte. In fact the library just opened to the public in June. It is sited in a 60 acres land which looks like a park. PCA MTW Enterprise invited me to speak at the seminar in its global mission conference, the venue is in Atlanta. For 3 days I was soaked in the whole atmosphere of worship and sermons. Dr. Richard Pratt's exposition touched my heart deeply. I am grateful that God gave me an opportunity to be refreshed. Wanatabe and many others thanked me for my seminar and felt that God has used me to speak to them. I thank God for the little role that I could play in the conference. But most of all I thank God for his servants Dr. Richard Pratt and Dr. Paul Kooistra for their challenging message. I did not know, certainly did not even expect that God would lead me to Charlotte in order that I may have the opportunity to visit Billy Graham Library.

In the Library (not the library where books are housed) Ian and I sat there watching and listening to Billy Graham preaching to the crowd (Video Presentation of Billy Graham's life ministry). We moved from one room to another, each showed the different period of Billy Graham's ministry. Its amazing to see how this one man could influence so many people in the world with the Gospel of Jesus. Billy has been and is singularly devoted to the cause that God has called him. His faith in Jesus and the Word of God marks him out to be the man of God. His success could also be attributed to Ruth, his wife who is faithful to her calling as a home maker raising their 5 children for the Lord's service. Billy is surrounded by an excellent team which is loyal to him and gives him their utmost support.

Billy Graham is 89 years old. His residence, the cove is just two and a half hours drive from the Billy Graham Library. I was told that he is very frail but strong in the spirit. Ruth Graham died 5 months ago. Her grave site is situated at the serene garden just a stone throw away from the Library. The inscription on her tomb stone reads: "End of Construction. Thank you for your patience" Ruth referred to her chosen burial place as her "launching pad." Its a timely reminder that we all are Work In Progress until such time comes, the Construction will be Ended. Our grave sites then will be the launching pad to our eternal home.

I have great admiration for Ruth, a Presbyterian whose parents were missionaries in China. Ruth was a strong woman, intelligent, articulate, devoted to God. All her life she gave Billy Graham her utter devotion by supporting his ministry. She almost singlehandedly raised her children because Billy Graham had to travel extensively preaching the gospel across the globe. Ruth and Billy had been married 64 years. Ruth was Billy soul mate and best friend. With her passing away, a big chunk of his life is removed. Time Correspondence interviewed him how he was coping since her death in June 2007. "I realize now," Graham replied, "in a way I never could have before, that a very important part of me has been taken away."

I told Ian, an American missionary kid, that he too can be greatly used by God. One man who loves the Lord wholeheartedly, believes in the power of the gospel for the salvation of the world, possesses full faith in the authoritative word of God can change the world. Billy Graham is coming to the end of his life and ministry. God is looking for another man or woman whom he can use just as the way he uses Billy and Ruth.

What a visit!

7 comments:

Tracy Tan said...

i can see you are having a great time Pastor! enjoy your time with sarah when you meet up with her :)

Sarah said...

Wow...it's like God gives you surprises everywhere you travel!

splim said...

I guess Ruth Graham didn't forget her roots. The Chinese character 'Yi' meaning righteousness was also inscribed on her tombstone.

Interestingly, the character 'Yi' is made up of 2 characters 'Yang' i.e. lamb on top and 'Wo' i.e. me at the bottom. The Lamb above me. Our ancestors might had the idea of righteousness being imputed to us through some form of sacrifice.

Pastor, I look forward to more of your postings from the States.

Sian Pheng

splim said...

Sorry. Should be righteous rather than righteousness. In Christ she has been declared righteous.

Wong Fong Yang said...

Hi Tracy,
Sarah and I have wonderful "daughter and father" conversation. Its great to see her adjusting well and enjoying her study in Calvin College. It has been academically stretching and liberating for her.

We are now in Chicago staying in her friend's house celebrating Thanksgiving Day. Its wet in Grand Rapids but snowing in Chicago. I am thankful to God for the opportunity to be able to meet up with her. God is kind and good.

Wong Fong Yang said...

Hi Sian Pheng,
The Chinese word engraved on Ruth Graham's tombstone is 'righteouness.' I think Ruth is deeply grateful to God imputing Christ's righteousness to her. Its just a guess. How's your application to STM for theological study?

splim said...

Hi Pastor,

My application to STM has been approved. Thanks for your letter of recommendation. Just came back from my first class on the Gospel of John. Going to sleep now. Long weekend ahead.

Take care and God bless.

Sian Pheng