Former Addicts Find Renewal at the Billy Graham Library
July 22, 2008 - Summer brings with it the pleasure of long-enjoyed traditions — vacations, family reunions, the smell of burgers on the grill. But for Mark Frazer, summer means several trips to the Billy Graham Library.
by Catherine Pike Plough
In fact, The Library is so meaningful to Frazer and to the ministry he works with, that he finds renewal there all year around.
Today, Frazer serves on staff of the Bethel Colony of Mercy, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian ministry for men addicted to drugs and/or alcohol located in Lenoir, N.C.
Frazer arrived at the ministry in June 2007, but not as a member of the ministry staff. He was an ex-convict and an addict in need of deep healing.
“I came to Lenoir from Alabama a broken man,” tells Frazer. “When I moved through the 65-day program there, I met Christ and developed a heart for this powerful outreach.”
In January of this year, the staff at Bethel saw Frazer’s genuine devotion to impacting the lives of the other residents and invited him to stay on as a volunteer staff member. Besides the time he spends assisting in the construction of the ministry’s new 40-man dormitory and handling ministry and donor communications, Frazer is involved in the ministry of rebuilding lives.
He sees his primary calling as that of an encourager of men who stumbled in the same ways he had.
#PULLQUOTE2#“I count it an honor and a privilege to minister every single day to the 65 men we currently house here,” says Frazer, adding that he uses the Billy Graham Library as part of his ministry to the graduates of the program.
“Just as we’re about to send home a graduate, to put him on a plane or a train to return to his family and to start putting to work all that he’s learned from Scripture,” Frazer shares, “I like to walk with them through this tour. It’s like giving them a send off boost.” And this tradition is bearing fruit for these men in ways Frazer would never have anticipated.
“We get calls from men who say they receive materials from the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association (BGEA) after their visit and they are greatly encouraged in their spiritual walk.”
One man, from Shreveport, La., called recently to tell Frazer that he was so impacted by his visit to the Library that he was planning a return visit so he could bring along his wife and family.
“The stories we hear about how God uses this very unique ministry never cease to amaze us,” comments Wayne Atcheson with Guest Services. “We are always encouraged to see and hear how people are transformed and touched by God’s love and forgiveness when visiting the Library.”
Some who come will leave prayer requests with Guest Services; many share about how they’ve been encouraged by the re-telling of the story of the BGEA ministry; still others, like Frazer, explain how the Library is a powerful tool God uses to enhance their own ministries or organizations.
Even after multiple visits to the Library, Frazer says the experience never gets old. “Each time I come, I see or hear something I missed previously.” But he does have a favorite part of the tour.
As the presentation comes to a close, Library visitors get an unforgettable, front-row experience as they watch footage of the Rev. Billy Graham on a big screen, making altar calls at Crusades held through the decades and around the globe. “It is a climactic end to the tour,” adds Frazer, “and it never fails to bring me to tears and to affect me deeply.”
#PULLQUOTE1#In October, Bethel Colony of Mercy will celebrate 60 years of ministry to be marked by a variety of special events for alumni and the community. For the ministry staff, Frazer says he is hoping to arrange an outing to the Library, which he says is a fitting location for celebrating six decades of changed lives and restored families.
According to Frazer, most men who come to Bethel say they fear that their wives at home will never give them a second chance. “But when a man encounters Christ he is a new creation. Now many of these wives come with us to visit churches and organizations to talk about their ‘new husbands’ and how what seemed impossible is absolutely possible with God.”
“When this Library opened last year, we had no idea the extent of the impact it would make on individuals, churches and even other ministries,” adds Atcheson. “But the Library is merely a continuation of the ministry of Billy Graham which remains to reach our world with the simple message of Jesus Christ, and the hope that comes from knowing Him.”
Through cutting-edge multimedia exhibits, the Billy Graham Library lifts up the Name of Jesus Christ by looking at the man, the ministry, the message, and the mission of Billy Graham. Your donation can help support this lasting witness, an ongoing "Crusade," and give thousands the opportunity to commit their lives to Jesus Christ.