The Archive Collection

Inside the Archives: Chinese Tea Set

August 2, 2022

During the course of 2022, we’ll take a look at memorabilia from locations where Billy Graham preached and will be locations where Franklin Graham or Will Graham will preach this year during evangelistic events, continuing the legacy Billy Graham and his team began more than 70 years ago.

During his ministry, Billy Graham preached the simple message of the Gospel across the world’s six inhabited continents. One continent that would have special meaning to him would be the continent of Asia and specifically the country of China, where his wife Ruth Bell Graham was born and raised.

While on a trip to China in 1988, Billy Graham met with many Chinese leaders, including Premier Li Peng. In Nanjing, he was welcomed by Governor Madame Wu who gifted him a beautiful green glass demitasse tea set.

Green glass demitasse set gifted to Billy Graham in 1988 by Governor Madame Wu of Nanjing, China

Billy and Ruth Graham traveled to China for a series of city tours and events. They visited Beijing before they traveled to the town where Ruth grew up, now part of Huaiyin. Following their visit to Ruth’s former home, they went on to Nanjing, Shanghai, and Guangzhou.

Ruth Bell Graham shows Billy Graham the home where she was born and raised in Huayin, China

In Nanjing, Sidney Rittenberg, a friend of the Graham’s who had come with them as an interpreter, talked with Billy Graham about the challenges to the church in China, which Billy Graham shares in his autobiography, Just As I Am:

“The principal obstacle to the spread of Christianity in China has, from the first, been that Christ has been presented as a white Westerner and Christianity as a foreign importation… The great challenge for Christianity in China is: (1) to become thoroughly Chinese, and thus to become truly, universally Christian; (2) to help fill the spiritual vacuum that has been created by the collapse of Chinese Communist ideology.”

Billy Graham tours Nanjing, China in 1988

In every visit with the elite of the Chinese government, Billy Graham shared about the love and joy of Jesus.

Billy and Ruth Graham are gifted with a green glass tea set by Governor Madame Wu of Nanjing, China

The Legacy Continues

Later this year, Franklin Graham will return to the Asian continent just outside of China as he holds a Festival of Joy event in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. To see more about this event, visit:

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