Doughnuts Hit a Sweet Spot for Fathers at Billy Graham Library

By   •   June 16, 2014

Dads at Library
Dads and father figures of all ages gathered at the Billy Graham Library Saturday to celebrate Father's Day with the Library's first Doughnuts with Dad event.

What’s the best way to celebrate Father’s Day? With thousands of doughnuts and an endless supply of coffee, of course.

At least, according to the long line of people outside the Billy Graham Library on Saturday.

The Library hosted its first Doughnuts with Dad event over the weekend, just a day before Father’s Day to honor dads and father figures of all ages. Families lined up outside the Library doors 15 minutes before it opened, eager to share coffee and a glazed treat with the men in their lives.

Each father received a free devotional, and many took the Library’s free Journey of Faith tour.

“This is a lot more than I expected,” Dale Howard said after taking the tour.

Howard, of Clover, S.C., brought his 4-year-old son, and his friend, David Knight, brought his 13-year-old daughter, Morgan, a “daddy’s girl” through and through.

It was a time for dads and their kids to bond, but also a time for wives to honor fatherhood.

Hand in hand
Many families walked through the Library’s prayer garden.

Seven-year-old Aiden came to the Library with his parents, Brandon and Brandi Gray of Concord, N.C. Brandi surprised her husband, a self-proclaimed doughnut fan, with his second trip to the Library, and Aiden was quick to list why his dad deserves such surprises.

“He builds Legos with me,” Aiden said excitedly, adding that his dad also camps out with him downstairs.

Brothers Greg, Joe and Jonathan Edwards remember those days when their own dad took them camping. But now they are most thankful for something else—the example he set.

The brothers traveled from Georgia, Tennessee and a few towns over in Monroe, N.C., to visit the Library with their dad, Charles, of Wilkesboro, N.C. They happily enjoyed “too many” doughnuts, then took the Library’s Journey of Faith tour, which chronicles Billy Graham’s 60-plus years of ministry.

Standing in one of the galleries, the men reminisced about watching Mr. Graham on TV—in black and white when they only got a few stations. Charles recounted his own journey through ministry, including some details his sons hadn’t heard before.

For 21 years, Charles served in the Air Force and clearly remembers a day in the early ’70s when he was in Vietnam. It was there he witnessed severe devastation and felt the call to ministry. But his response was to run from that call, moving his family from Indiana to California a few years later.

“I thought I had some good reasons (for running away),” he said. “I could think of six of them: my wife and five boys.”

Pastors were poor, he thought, “with holes in their shoes,” and he had mouths to feed.

But God has a way of changing minds, and soon, Charles was moving back across the country from California to Kentucky to start the next phase of his life as a pastor. He kept it up for more than 30 years.

“He was finally getting the hang of it,” his son, Joe, said, laughing.

Today, Charles’ sons are involved in their churches, and his grandson is interested in ministry. God-fearing men is one of the best Father’s Day gifts he could ask for, he said.

Oh, and his shoes?

“I have New Balance,” Charles said, looking down at his feet.

With no holes.

Charles Edwards and family
Charles Edwards (center, in green), spent time with three of his five sons at the Billy Graham Library, where he shared with them his own journey into ministry.

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