Blessed While Blessing Others
Volunteers Encouraged By Visitors to Billy Graham Library
April 19, 2012 - More than 19,500 people have made decisions for Christ at the Billy Graham Library since it opened in 2007. That includes all recorded salvations, assurances of salvation and recommitments. Yet this is only a portion of the people who have been blessed inside the Library’s walls; volunteers also have praises to share.
by Tiffany Jothen
If you ever visit the Billy Graham Library, you will be greeted by two smiling faces at the foot of two tall glass doors. If you take the tour, you will probably notice volunteers guiding you from one room to the next.
It’s not uncommon to see visitors shed a tear at the overwhelming message of God’s love for them, or beam from ear to ear after accepting Christ. But they aren’t the only ones who get emotional or go home feeling more blessed than before.
On March 8, volunteer Linda James met two women who had just finished the tour “Journey of Faith,” which tells the history behind Billy Graham’s ministry. James was working in the prayer room and asked the women if they needed prayer.
One woman from Harmony, N.C., said she had accepted Christ; the other from New Jersey rededicated her life to Him. But shortly after James sat down with them, she noticed that the second woman was reading her lips.
“There was an immediate connection,” James said.
With family members who are also deaf, James has learned sign language. As she went through a pamphlet explaining the steps to peace with God, she signed to the woman what she was saying.
The woman said she used to be close to God and wanted to find that peace again.
“It’s the story that you hear a lot,” James said. “People fall away and realize that there’s something missing in their lives.”
It’s especially hard for a deaf person to understand the Gospel, she said, unless they are involved in a ministry that uses sign language. As James put it, “Most churches are for the hearing.”
The Library does provide a script for deaf visitors to follow along with the tour, but having a volunteer who “speaks” their language is invaluable.
James volunteers at the Library once a week. Her run-in with the woman 10 minutes before her shift ended “showed me that there’s no accidents with God.” The Library sees few deaf visitors, but “God knew that she was deaf and that I could sign. … God’s just right on time.”
Each woman left with Bible study materials, a New Testament and a small, gold cross pin. The deaf woman cried and signed “thank you” as she left.
Other stories from Library volunteers
Billie Ferrone was volunteering in the Library’s prayer room one day when she met a woman from Clover, S.C., and five of her family members from Brazil. The woman’s family did not speak English, but she translated for Ferrone who asked them if they needed prayer. All five of her relatives – her husband, mother, father, brother and sister – prayed a prayer of salvation, and the woman rededicated her life to Christ. She explained that she had been praying for her family’s salvation for 10 years.
Volunteer David Siceloff was also blessed by visitors when he met a mom and her middle-aged son – the only two people taking the tour at that time. The two were on their way to visit family when they saw a sign for the Billy Graham Library and decided to pop in.
But once they exited off the interstate, they had a hard time finding it. “God will have to give us a sign or we turn around,” the mother said.
When they reached the next red light, they saw the entrance.
“God is good!” Siceloff said. “He guides His people each step of the way.”
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