To the question “Where is Heaven?” Billy Graham once responded, “Heaven is where Jesus is and I am going to him soon!” Yesterday morning Mr. Graham joined Jesus at home in Heaven. While we are saddened to lose such an amazing, God-fearing man, we are overjoyed to know that he is at peace with his Lord and Savior.
Bryan College’s third president, Dr. Judson Rudd, had the honor of delivering the commencement address at Mr. Graham’s graduation from Wheaton College in 1943 and had many interactions with him thereafter. Upon hearing of his death, Mary Frances Rudd Carlson, daughter of Dr. Rudd, recalled memories of her parents spending quality time with Mr. Graham and taking her to his Chattanooga Crusade as a child. She remembers the welcoming presence of Mr. Graham when Dr. Rudd arrived late during the Crusade at Warner Park Field House. “One evening Daddy got there late, as usual, and was standing around wondering where he might find a seat,” recalled Ms. Carlson. “Billy Graham came along getting ready to go on the stage and saw Daddy and took him on the stage with him so that he would have a seat.” This memory is just one illustration of Mr. Graham’s kindness and desire for everyone to hear the Word of God.
In 2002, Billy Graham and his wife, Ruth, helped to gift Bryan College with the iconic clock in the Triangle in honor of former Bryan College trustee Wilma “Billie” Barrows. Ms. Barrows was the wife of Cliff Barrows, the long-time music and program director for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, and mother of two Bryan College alumni, Betty Ruth Barrows Seera and William Barrows.
“All of us owe much to a man whose life had a singular focus, the message of the gospel—the only hope for a world that desperately needs Jesus Christ,” said Bryan College president Stephen D. Livesay. “Billy Graham always preached with an open Bible, quoting many passages, allowing the Holy Spirit’s words to convict hearts. I am confident that God honored his word through Dr. Graham’s ministry, and I rejoice in a life well-lived, a wonderful example for all of us to emulate.”
Bryan College will forever be deeply grateful for the ministry of Mr. Graham and the impact he had on the world for Christ. His never-ending efforts to bring people together in the body of Christ are an example for us all.