CHARLOTTE, N.C., Nov. 5 /PRNewswire/ -- As evangelist Billy Graham
marks another birthday, turning 89 on Wednesday, he expressed gratitude for
his health, his family and the ongoing hope of being reunited with his wife
Ruth in Heaven.
Since the passing of his marriage and ministry partner of nearly 64
years on June 14 this year, Mr. Graham said he has been surprised at the
depth of his grief, but simultaneously encouraged by the commensurate
magnitude of God's grace.
"At times, I feel as if part of me has been ripped out, and in a sense
that's what has happened, because Ruth was such an important part of my
life," he said. "But my faith gives me great comfort, and I can't imagine
going through something like this without strength that only the Lord can
provide. It has been an added blessing that our five children have been so
faithful in visiting and spending time with me -- I am grateful for and
proud of each of them."
On May 31, former Presidents Bush, Clinton and Carter joined Mr. Graham
in Charlotte to help dedicate the new Billy Graham Library on the grounds
of the international headquarters of the Billy Graham Evangelistic
Association (BGEA). Since then, thousands of visitors have toured the
facility, which will serve as an ongoing crusade presenting to future
generations the message he has faithfully preached for more than sixty
While Mr. Graham has stayed close to home most of this year, he was
hospitalized for a couple of weeks at the end of August for diagnosis and
treatment of intestinal bleeding. He has continued his recovery at home
since being discharged on Aug. 30 from nearby Mission Health and Hospitals
in Asheville, N.C.
"I am looking forward to spending the holidays with family," Mr. Graham
added. "I know in many ways this time of year will be especially difficult
without Ruth, who maintained many of our family traditions. But I am
thankful for the confidence we have in Heaven. It is for this reason I will
rejoice most in Christ's birth this Christmas."
Mr. Graham remains involved in active ministry as his health allows,
working on several writing projects and maintaining interest in the BGEA,
the organization he founded in 1950. He also continues to support his son,
Franklin, and grandson, Will Graham, in their respective evangelistic
Festivals and Celebrations.
SOURCE Billy Graham Evangelistic Association