“Whoever believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, streams of living water will flow from within him.” — John 7:38
The Day We Met Billy Graham
by Randy & Gini Kittle
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Gini and I have never forgotten the day we met Billy and Ruth Graham. We were in Acapulco, Mexico joining my wife’s parents who had been there for a while. The Grahams were staying in the condominium right next door to where her parents were staying. It was our first day of vacation and Gini’s mom said she wanted to introduce us to someone. We went down to the beach and there stood Ruth and Billy Graham in their swimming suits! Our parents had already told them about us: that I had been saved at a Leighton Ford crusade when I was a teenager (Ford is Billy Graham’s brother-in-law), that we were living in Chicago while I was in graduate school, and that we had been married two years and our first child, a son named after me, had tragically died from a brain tumor during surgery.

Billy Graham asked me if I’d take “a little walk with him,” and, of course, I said, “Yes.” We went for what turned out to be a long walk along the beach while Gini stayed back with her mom and Ruth. I was surprised how kind and personable he was as he asked me about my schooling, why I choose my profession, if we liked Chicago, what we planned to do, and talked to me all about the adjustment of being a newlywed. He gave me some great advice:
“Make Christ the center of your marriage and your life … and everything else will work out.”

Then, Billy Graham asked me how we were doing as we approached the anniversary of the birth of Little Randy. I told him how God had given Gini the Bible verse 2 Corinthians 2:17,
“For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.” Although it had ministered to our hearts, I also told Billy that what we were going through sometimes didn’t seem “light” or “momentary.” I also let him know that the questions most people asked didn’t help. Billy Graham didn’t try to give me the answer. He asked a few leading questions to get me thinking and then asked pointedly, “So, Randy, how do you answer all the ‘Whys?’” I looked at him and said, “I don’t always do as well as I’d like, but I’ve already answered the question ‘Who?’ God is God, and I don’t have to understand all the ‘Whys’ as long as I keep following after the ‘Who.’” Billy Graham’s questions had led me to an answer that gave me more peace than any advice he could have ever handed me!

During my walk, Ruth Graham took the time to talk to Gini and make sure she was doing well. Ruth was so kind to her. They talked about family and children and lots of other things! Before Billy and I got back to join them Ruth got a book of poetry she had written called
Sitting by My Laughing Fire and gave it to Gini, highlighting this poem especially for her:

I lay my “whys”
before Your Cross
in worship kneeling,
my mind too numb
for thought,
my heart beyond 
all feeling.

And worshiping,
realize that I
in knowing You
don’t need a “why.”

I got a terrible sunburn spending all that time in the blistering sun of Acapulco. It was so bad I couldn’t wear a shirt or leave the hotel room for the rest of the week! But, hey, how can you turn down talking with Billy Graham for 3 hours while his wife ministers to yours?! The Grahams ministered to us with such concern and love … with the patience and care a parent would show for their child. We were truly blessed!

We will always be thankful for the opportunity we had that day. Not because we had the chance to meet someone who’s world renown and not even because the most well-known Christian couple in the world willingly spent 3 hours of their vacation to minister to us and encourage us, but because the living God of the universe cared enough about one young couple’s spiritual journey to make certain the plans and schemes of the enemy didn’t derail them. Let us encourage you —
“God shows no partiality” (Acts 23:11) … He loves you just as much!

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