Thank You Billy Graham
Author: Ellen R., Church Member
This is a testimonial of how my family came to know the Lord.
Thank You Billy Graham – A Testimonial
Thank you Billy Graham for preaching the Gospel and being a faithful servant. Thank you for leading my family to Jesus Christ.
Heaven Bound, Right?
Growing up Catholic, I never listened to any of Billy Graham’s evangelistic messages. My family believed that we were Christian because we were Catholic. We participated in mass, catechism, the seven sacraments, holy communion, confession – we embraced the Catholic church. I had my school uniform, strict schooling, and daily mass. My brother was an altar boy. My mother was a tailor for the nuns’ habits and priests’ vestments. We attended the stunning Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis. My aunt dedicated her life as a nun and served as a missionary in the foreign field. Surely, we were living a good Catholic life.
Then, we moved to Florida, drawn by its tropical breezes and sandy beaches. Finding a local Catholic church suitable for our family proved fruitless. They all preached in English and not in Latin, which to my dad, was sacrilegious. So, we spent our years living in sunny Florida without a church home.
From Japan with Love
My uncle, a diplomat stationed in Japan, came to visit us from time to time. The whole family held him in high regard, because he had risen to lofty heights in diplomacy. On a particular visit, he kept talking about the love of God. He spoke of going to a Billy Graham Crusade event in Japan where thousands of people attended. He spoke of being one of those who came forward to be saved. He did not speak words of Catholicism, but something very different with joy and humbleness. During his time with us, there were a lot of “discussions” between my dad and him on the subject. I steered clear from all that and tended to my worldly ways.
A Life Changed
During his visit with us, my uncle wanted to attend church and my mother accompanied him to a local Southern Baptist Church. She came home and said she became born again. Indeed, she seemed different in a very positive way. In the years that followed, she faithfully read the bible, attended church regularly, and kept talking about being saved, while dad just grumbled at every opportunity. A friend introduced her to another local Baptist Church that was independent, fundamental, and pre-millennial. She became their soloist, and later, a missionary to the Netherlands under the church’s Independent Baptist Caribbean and Mission Institute.
A Family Changed
After some time, a close friend and I decided to attend church with my mother. I was curious to know what was making such a difference in my mother’s life. Eventually my friend and I accepted Christ as Lord and Savior of our lives and we were baptized at the same time. I sang in the choir, taught Sunday School for 8 years, and participated in church activities. My older brother also became a Christian after having served in the military.
A Soul Set Free
That just left my dad. Would he ever be saved? In early January 1989, he was rushed to the hospital for a heart attack and never came home. The biggest comfort to us was that he accepted Christ before passing. One day, while visiting him in the hospital, we saw his countenance had changed. He was truly at peace and you could see joy in his eyes – we were amazed. He told us he had an experience and had seen family members who were long gone. While in this state, he realized he was no longer in pain and there was such a peaceful comfort that he did not want to wake up. But he did, if just to tell us that he believed. He passed in the following days.
My joy is full knowing my family is saved. It was years in the making, from continent to continent, but I have learned that God’s Word never returns void no matter how long it takes or how far it reaches. For my family it all started with Billy Graham years ago, half a world away. So, thank you Billy Graham. Thank you for preaching, “God Loves You.” all around the world. Your legacy endures and still continues in my family, as my son has also become saved.
And thank you God for blessing us through Billy Graham.
August 31, 2020
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