uth Bell intended to remain unmarried and go to Tibet as a
missionary, until she met tall, gangly, shy Billy Graham at Wheaton College in
Illinois. He was the son of a North Carolina dairy farmer; she was the daughter
of a missionary couple who served in China and Korea. He kissed her for the
first time when he gave her an engagement ring. They were wed two years later,
in August 1943, after their graduation.
Billy Graham always credits his wife for making his ministry possible. "I
know that only the Lord could have chosen Ruth for me and led us together. She
has shared the burden of my ministry," he has said. "We don't have a perfect marriage, but we have a
Known for her quick wit, spunk and sense of adventure, Ruth raised the
couple's five children in a log cabin home near Montreat, North Carolina, while
her husband spent many weeks each year traveling the world. She has said: "I'd
rather have a little of Billy than a lot of any other man."
Their children are:
Virginia Graham Tchividjian, born 1945. "Gigi" and her
husband, Stephan, a clinical psychologist, have seven children and make their
home in Coral Gables, Florida. A speaker and author of inspirational books, her
latest, Mothers Together, was co-written with her mother.
Anne Graham Lotz, born 1948. Her husband, Danny, is a
dentist and lifetime board member of the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. They
have three children and live in Raleigh, North Carolina. A gifted Bible
expositor, she is the president of AnGeL Ministries (the capital letters are
her initials), a teaching and speaking ministry. She is the author of two
books, The Vision of His Glory, focusing on Revelation, and God's Story, on
Ruth Graham McIntyre, born 1950. Once divorced, "Bunny" and
her husband, Richard, a contractor in Fort Defiance, Virginia, have three
children. She is a writer, speaker and donor relations coordinator with
Samaritan's Purse, the organization headed by her brother Franklin.
William Franklin Graham III, born 1952. Franklin and his
wife, Jane, have four children and live in Boone, North Carolina. He is the
president of Samaritan's Purse, an international relief and evangelism
organization with projects in more than 80 countries worldwide. He also
conducts up to 10 evangelistic festivals each year for the Billy Graham
Evangelistic Association (BGEA).
In 1995, the BGEA board named him first vice chairman, a position with
direct succession to become chairman and chief executive officer should his
father decide to step down. He is the author of five books, including his
autobiography, Rebel With A Cause, and his latest, Living Beyond the
Nelson Edman Graham, born 1958. "Ned" and his wife, Carol,
a nurse, have two children and live in Sumner, Washington. He left pastoral
ministry in 1991 to become president of East Gates International, which has
printed and distributed some 2 million Bibles to house church Christians
throughout the People's Republic of China.
His work has special significance because his namesake, grandfather Nelson
Bell, served as a medical missionary to China.
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