‘We Came to America for One Reason’
March 6, 2019
People come to the Billy Graham Library for many reasons—and from all over the world.
In 2018, more than 170,000 people visited and over 126,000 people took the Journey of Faith tour. More than 750 people made first-time decisions for Christ, and over 900 others recommitted their lives to Him.
Guests came to the Library from 74 countries last year—as far away as Myanmar, Botswana, and the United Arab Emirates.
One couple made a particularly special trip to study the life and ministry of Billy Graham.
George and Ann Wright left their small village north of Belfast, in Northern Ireland, headed for Charlotte, North Carolina.
“Ann and I came to America for one reason, and that was to visit the Billy Graham Library,” George said.
The Wrights found the Library captivating—not because of Billy Graham but the message he preached for nearly seven decades.
“This is not a museum about Billy Graham,” George explained. “It is about Billy Graham’s Saviour. It exalts not Billy Graham but the Lord Jesus Christ.”
Since he was 15, George has been interested in what this outspoken preacher from North Carolina had to say. He was among thousands who heard Billy Graham tell of God’s love for them at a football stadium in Belfast in 1961. George had committed his life to Christ a year earlier and found his faith was encouraged by the ministry of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
“In my teens, I got from the BGEA a little pack of memory verses—which I memorized—and still have,” he said. “They have been a great blessing to me over the years.”
George also began listening to the weekly Hour of Decision on Radio Luxembourg. At 18, he boldly asked permission from his “rather strict” church to show a Billy Graham film.
A while later, George took a train to London to hear Billy Graham preach in Earl’s Court and started receiving Decision magazine, published by the BGEA.
He heard the evangelist preach once more in Belfast in 1972, during tumultuous times in Northern Ireland. “Almost every day there were shootings and bombings,” he said, referring to territorial fighting between groups.
“It has been my dream to go and see the Library. I believe that Billy Graham was a man chosen by God. He was raised up for a particular ministry in the 20th century and used mightily through the latter half of the century.”
George’s faith remained steadfast, and he became a messenger of God’s love. In 2006, he received a “Steps to Peace with God” tract from BGEA and realized it would be a great evangelism tool. Over the years he’s ordered a few hundred to give to people in his path—shopkeepers, strangers, etc. George even handed out quite a few in and around Charlotte during his trip.
“It has been my dream to go and see the Library,” he said. “I believe that Billy Graham was a man chosen by God. He was raised up for a particular ministry in the 20th century and used mightily through the latter half of the century.”
His wife, Ann, also loved the Journey of Faith. “The tour was amazing in that it covered every aspect of Billy Graham’s life,” she said. “His home life, his call to the ministry, his family, his Crusade ministry and his desire that many people in every continent should hear the Gospel and repent and turn to Christ.”
A biker, George was able to attend Bikers with Boxes at the Billy Graham Library while in Charlotte. He called the event—where hundreds of motorcyclists bring gift-filled shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child—“heaven on earth.”
After three visits to the Library, Ann summed up her takeaway: “It is a place where Christ is glorified … through the Christ-like, servant hearts of the staff and all who serve there.”
The couple’s connection to the Library didn’t end when they flew back to Ireland. George plans to create a presentation on Billy Graham’s ministry as an evangelistic outreach to Irish churches.
“Billy Graham’s ministry has been a great blessing to me over the years, strengthening me in my faith and keeping me in the straight and narrow,” he said.