Picture Sparks Treasured Memories for Billy Graham Library Visitors

Billy Graham’s message of God’s love was a turning point for Banks and Katy Williams as children. Before they ever met, both had accepted Christ after hearing Billy Graham preach. With their 58-year marriage built on a solid foundation of faith, he and Katy also taught their four children to love the Lord.

 

Strolling through the Billy Graham Library, Katy Williams stopped to stare at a large black and white picture.

Stepping closer, she and her husband, Banks, scoured the faces. He spotted his bride standing among dozens of others at a 1958 Billy Graham Crusade in Charlotte, North Carolina.

At the time, Katy worked after school at a Charlotte grocery store. She and a co-worker made plans to go hear this popular young preacher.

She never forgot what came next.

“I just remember listening to Billy and how it moved my heart,” she recalled. At the end, he gave an invitation to receive Christ.

“I went down [front] when they played ‘Just As I Am’ and I was just shaking all inside. It was a big decision for me. … I was trembling.”

1958 Charlotte, NC, Crusade
This picture shows the 1958 Billy Graham Crusade in Charlotte, N.C. Banks spotted his wife, Katy, standing on the upper right-hand side. Listening to Mr. Graham’s message moved her heart, she said. “I was trembling.”

Katy had been to church before with friends, but this night was different.

“This was the first time anyone had ever asked me, ‘[Do you] want to be saved?’”

She said yes, and prayed to surrender her life to Christ.

“I’ve thought about that a lot,” Katy said. “If I hadn’t of, things would maybe have been real different.”

She started attending church regularly, saying it made a “big difference” in her life.

God stirred Banks’ heart, too, through Billy Graham’s preaching.

They sat down on a bench just below the picture and he shared his Billy Graham story.

Banks was 9 years old in 1943 when his boys club went to Montreat, North Carolina, for a retreat. Their chaperones were students from Davidson College (in North Carolina) who were studying to be pastors.

“Billy had a service there at Montreat,” Banks recalled. “After the service, most of the guys in the club went down [front] and were all saved.”

Including him.

“I just remember his message, the same then as it is now,” he recalled. “It made me feel like I was saved and I felt the Spirit, and I’ve been that way ever since.”

“I got saved at Montreat by Billy Graham,” Banks said proudly. “I have a lot of good memories about that weekend that we went up there.”

A lot of the boys, including him, were baptized in the lake. Some, he said, turned out to be preachers.

After reminiscing for a while, reality set in and it was time to go. The couple had a doctor’s appointment at the VA Medical Center just around the corner.

Banks, who served in the Air Force and as a firefighter for 30 years, has been fighting esophageal cancer since September.

When he got the news he was sick, Banks told his doctors: “I’m not worried about it. I’m positive that I’ve got Somebody to take care of me,” he said. “It’s a win-win situation with me either way.”

Banks recently got some good news—he’s cancer-free.

With grateful hearts, they had paid their respects to Billy Graham, the former farm boy who had led them both to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.

Banks and Katy got up to leave and walked outside.

Thankful for her decision that changed the course of her and her family’s lives, Katy said, “I’ll never forget it.

“So thankful for hearing his message and [for] the man he was.”

You can be saved, too. Pray now.

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11 Comments

  1. Republican Christian says:

    Billy Graham is one of the few that had a lot of good values for our world! He will be in Heaven with the Lord and that is good news!

  2. Millie Leone says:

    Praise God! He is so good & I am soo glad I am His child!

  3. Joel Caplan says:

    I was a nine-yr-old boy when my mom took me to Madison Square Garden to hear Billy Graham. The year was 1957.
    I did not surrender to God until I was twenty four…but I remember when “Just as I am” was sung by the choir. I was touched by the Spirit and began weeping. My Chinese wife and I visited the Library in March, and it was an emotional experience as we stood beside the grave of Billy Graham. I was deeply moved as I realized how greatly God had used this man. God bless you all.

  4. Renee Strickland says:

    Such a beautiful story. Billy Graham’s crusades are such a. Inspiration to me. I would listen to them over and over again.

  5. Alice says:

    Thank you for sharing this story. Billy Graham will live forever in the hearts of many.

  6. John M Chappell says:

    I love to hear the stories of victory coming out of Billy Graham’s crusades. Would love to hear more as they become available. Thanks for sharing. I never went to the crusades but was blessed by quite a few of them on TV!

    1. bglibrary says:

      Hi John! You can watch some of the Crusades on our YouTube page: https://www.youtube.com/user/bgeainternet
      Or you can listen to the Crusades on our audio archives page: https://billygraham.org/tv-and-radio/radio/audio-archives/

  7. Judy Wilson says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful story. My husband and I never attended a Billy Graham crusade, but we were fortunate enough to be able to visit the Billy Graham library. It was an experience we will always remember.

  8. Ralph Holt says:

    In the latter part of the mid 1950’s I joined the USAF, still in my late teens. As a Christian in Mississippi, training to be a radar technician I met another young airman who was not a believer. I heard of Billy Graham holding a meeting in a neighboring state. He and I hitchhiked there to attend a service. Billy Graham delivered a powerful message and my young friend went forward and received Christ as his personal Savior. What joy to see my airman friend invite Jesus into his life. Thank God for that blessed memory- it was a great day. I hope to see my friend in heaven, even if it was over 50 years ago!

  9. Bettyann says:

    God is good all the time.
    SHALOM

  10. Diane says:

    How marvelous! I just love to hear these stories of how people came to Christ!
    Thank you for making it available to us.

    Sincerely,
    Diane Nikfar

    California

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