Billy Graham's 89th Birthday Caps Year of Transition

Evangelist Celebrates Life in Spite of Setbacks in 2007

Nov 06, 2007, 00:00 ET from Billy Graham Evangelistic Association

    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