Library volunteers witness God’s goodness every day. It’s in the people they meet, their stories and the timing of it all. Here are just three examples of the Library’s powerful ministry.
June 27, 2012: A longtime Christian meets a middle-aged homeless woman who lives in her car and battles depression. The woman has contemplated suicide.
Billy Graham Library volunteer Elizabeth Puckett took her post at the prayer room that day – the last stop in the Journey of Faith tour that details Billy Graham’s ministry. She noticed a woman in her early 50s who was clean but worn; she wore cutoff jean shorts and a shirt that had as many wrinkles as she did. She showed no expression.
As the two struck up a conversation, the woman told Puckett that she had taken some family members to the airport and decided to stop by the Library. She shared her belief in God, but that’s where her faith ended. Soon she was crying.
“It just got to me,” the woman said. “I’ve always liked Billy Graham. I always watched him when I was a teenager.” The woman once saw Billy Graham, along with Johnny and June Cash, in Columbia, S.C. She’s sent him letters and read his books. Yet, a personal relationship with Christ seemed far away until last month during her visit to the Library. Puckett led her in a prayer of salvation and assured her of God’s immeasurable love for her.
“It thrills me to see that God is so good,” Puckett said. But the real kicker came that evening when her husband, Jimmy, who volunteered as a Library greeter that day, mentioned the same woman, not knowing that his wife had prayed with her.
“Jimmy said she left smiling,” Puckett said. “He … was impressed with her happiness and smile in contrast to the way she looked earlier. We both rejoiced in what our great God had done!”
The woman lives in Elgin, S.C., and wants to bring her daughter and grandkids to the Library. “If I lived closer, I’d come every day,” she said. She would even work as a volunteer, but traveling from Elgin every day with no income isn’t an option right now. Life is still rough, she said, and she’s still looking for work, but with Christ in her life, she’s more optimistic and finds the strength to keep going.
June 5, 2012: Richie Clough usually volunteers on Mondays. This week, he had to switch to Tuesday.
“I was in the prayer room when Seth, 21 years old, handed me his decision card that said he had prayed to receive Christ,” Clough said. “With watery eyes, Seth told me he had been baptized a few years ago, but had turned away from God. He had been involved with a gang and ultimately he was tired of feeling miserable.”
Clough, 28, was the youngest volunteer working at the time. Seth came with his mom and grandmother, looking for someone his age to talk to. He found Clough, who talked to him about what he was going through and about continuing his walk with God. For Clough, it was another example of God bringing the right people together at the right time.
“I thank God for what He did to arrange this divine appointment!” Clough said. “He said he was going to be telling everyone about his decision.”
May 21, 2012: It’s about 12 hours from their home on Long Island, N.Y., to the Billy Graham Library. But the nearly 700-mile trek is nothing compared to the joy they have knowing both of their sons have accepted Christ – thanks, in part, to the Library’s ministry.
Gary and Connie Abrahamsen first visited the Library in the summer of 2010. That’s where their younger son, Elijah, committed his life to Christ at age 10. The family spent four –and-a-half hours there that day.
“It was wonderful. I don’t know how to describe it,” Gary said. “They were closing and we weren’t done yet. We couldn’t get enough of it.”
Fast forward two years to this past May. Library volunteer Larry Spach remembers seeing the couple’s older son, Aaron, now 13, taking a picture of the painting at the end of the Library tour. Spach then asked if Aaron had made a decision to follow Christ. He wasn’t sure, so Spach went through a booklet called “Steps to Peace with God.”
“We came to the page where it asks what side you are on,” Spach wrote. “Aaron said the side without Jesus, but he wanted to be on the other side. So we prayed together.”
Aaron said the tour was “moving” and that it was nice to talk to someone one on one. He’s been reading his Bible more since that day in May.
“We couldn’t think of a better place the Lord would choose” for Aaron to accept Christ, Gary said. The family prayed about the trip beforehand and said it couldn’t have gone better. Gary called it “monumental.”