In an age of unparalleled division, it seems almost everyone agrees on one thing — the world lost a great man last week.
In Bladen County, as they did around the world, those inspired by Billy Graham paused to pay their respects, and at least one Bladen family did so by observing the motorcade that moved Graham from his Asheville retreat to the final resting place for his body in Charlotte. Kory and Jennifer Hair, along with their son, were in Charlotte for the observance.
“What impressed me most was how the media covered it nonstop through the nearly four-hour trip from Asheville to Charlotte,” said Jennifer. “Signs along the way paid tribute to (Graham), and his ministry was no doubt powerful. While at the library, chaplains were there to share the message with the ones visiting … we saw people praying and sharing their … stories.”
White said her own story involved attending a Billy Graham Crusade with a church group in the 1990s.
“It rained and rained, and we bought ponchos to hear him speak,” she recalled. “We were soaked, but when Billy Graham came out to speak, the rain stopped — it was really awesome. He preached, and the crowd responded, and as soon as he left the stage, the rains came again. What a miracle and evidence he was doing God’s work.”
On the Bladen Journal website, other folks honored the memory of the man credited with reaching more people with the gospel during his life than anyone else in history.
“What a wonderful life Dr. Graham lived,” commented Patsy Sheppard. “Although he was not perfect, as none of us are, the number of people he touched with his unwavering faith is surely in the millions. My old favorite Billy Graham quote is, ‘Sitting in a church no more makes you a Christian than sitting in a garage makes you a car’.”
G.C. Bryan added his thoughts as well.
“It was a distinct privilege and honor to attend the last Charlotte crusade of Rev. Graham and to hear him preach in person,” he said. “’Well done thou good and faithful servant.’ You certainly left the world a better place than you found it. God bless the Graham family as He has blessed Billy Graham. Thank God for blessing the U.S. with the greatest evangelist of all time.”
As an evangelist, Hair believes, Graham had … just a way with words.
“He helped strengthen my faith as a young lady as he made the gospel really simple,” she explained. “Never over-your-head lessons, just simple truth. He always emphasized no matter what you have done, Jesus still wants you.”
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.