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from the Billy Graham Library

In His Own Words: Billy Graham on Asking Ruth for a Date

February 13, 2013


Yesterday, we shared about the early days of courtship between Billy and Ruth from her perspective. Today, we bring you Billy’s viewpoint:

“While working my way through school I worked on a furniture truck. The man who ran the truck, Johnny Streater, had been in the military in the Far East before World War II. He kept telling me about this girl who was the most beautiful girl he had ever met. And, he said she got up every morning at 4 a.m. to pray. I thought, ‘What a wonderful person she must be.’ But I had already been in love once (down in Florida where I went to a Bible school) and didn’t want to go through it again because it was painful.

One day I saw a girl walk across the campus and I thought, ‘She is gorgeous.’ At the time I didn’t know this was the girl Johnny talked about.

Later, I was in my work clothes and we had just pulled up in front of the women’s dorm hauling furniture and had just gotten off the furniture truck. That was where Johnny introduced me to Ruth.

I felt embarrassed and ill at ease because I’d already built her up so much in my mind. My friends around me said, ‘Ask her for a date.’ But I couldn’t get the courage to do it because I knew she was popular with other boys.

Finally, I saw her in study hall and one of my friends said, ‘Go over and ask her.’ I finally got up enough nerve to sit down beside her and I said, ‘They’re going to perform The Messiah on Sunday afternoon just before Christmas. Could I take you to The Messiah?'”

From Footprints of a Pilgrim: The Life and Loves of Ruth Bell Graham by Ruth Bell Graham.