A Day in the Life of …
…A Work Camper on Vacation
We had a Southwest credit that we had to use before October so we took a few days and flew somewhere we’ve never been before -Las Vegas, Nevada. We decided to stay in Charlotte the night before our flight since we were scheduled to leave fairly early the next morning and before we could go we had to drop Sarge off at the boarding place and we were taking the motorhome in for a couple minor repairs and oil change. We arrived at our hotel a little early the day of our reservation. Online I found a list of free things to do in Charlotte since we had several hours to kill. We hadn’t even thought about the Billy Graham Library until I saw it listed there. Turned out it was only about a 10-minute drive from our hotel. I think I was expecting a small museum full of some books and pictures but this was so much more than that! The word Library doesn’t seem to describe this place as I understand the word Library. It’s located on Billy Graham’s boyhood home. The first building we entered was the home on the farm where he grew up. After touring that you go out the back door to the “barn”. As you can see from the picture, this is more than a barn.
As you approach and enter the doors you are greeted by two very friendly volunteers that direct you to the welcome desk. Once there they explain that this is actually a tour thru several stages with videos and displays throughout. The very first stop you make you get greeted by Bessie the talking cow. Bessie is accompanied by a lazy cat resting on a barrel. She rarely moves and lets Bessie do all the talking.
Bessie describes what life was like on the farm when Billy Frank, as he was called, was growing up. From there one of the many volunteers usher us to the next station. We watched a short video there and moved on to the next display. I think there were 13 stations and all of them were very impressive. There were so many pictures and videos and rooms set to look like they would have during that time. He had a very impressive life and influenced so many people.
When asked who he thought was the most impressive Christian he ever met Billy Graham always answered his wife Ruth. Billy traveled all over the country and later around the globe. Ruth went with him more in the later years but stayed home when the children were young and were influential in the children’s early faith and belief as Christians. Ruth was the daughter of Chinese missionaries was born and lived in China until she was 12. We were told Ruth always had a heart for the Chinese people which is why there were many items on display that she had saved or collected over the years.
Billy was able to meet with leaders around the world. Russia even allowed him to come in and preach the gospel at a time when churches were being destroyed and people persecuted. There are pictures of him with presidents as far back as Eisenhower and as current as Donald Trump before he was president.
After you make your way through all the stations you come out into a very nice gift shop and Café Upon leaving the “barn”, you stop at another desk where they thank you for coming, ask for your completed survey and give you a parting gift.
There are a couple other walkways between the house and the barn that lead to memorial gardens. One garden is where Billy and Ruth are buried. They have flat stones over their graves with their names, birthdates, the date they died and a brief inscription. Ruth has some Chinese characters above her name and below it says “End of Construction. Thanks for your patience”. This is something she saw on a road sign and said she’d like to have that on her tombstone. Billy’s, along with his name, date of birth and birthdate, says “Preacher of the Gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ”.
Another thing that impressed me was printed on a sign they had hanging in one of the rooms. You never know what influence you’ll have on another person.
If you’re anywhere in the Charlotte North Carolina, take the time to visit the Billy Graham Library. There’s no charge and it’s located at 4330 Westmont Drive, Charlotte, NC. The website is BillyGrahamLibrary.org
Here’s some more pictures from the “Library”.
Billy and Ruth’s graves
Dave and Me by their beautiful roses on the garden walkway.