They thought they might get a couple hundred to come.
So when more than 800 homeschoolers, parents and chaperones attended the Billy Graham Library’s first “Homeschool Day,” the Library staff was amazed.
“We couldn’t be more excited with this group coming today,” said Scott Holmquist, executive director of the Library.
Homeschool groups from North and South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia came out on a rainy Wednesday for the inaugural event.
“It’s a time to get to meet with other homeschool families and a time to come together as a community of homeschoolers,” said Tanya Mazingo, Library communications coordinator.
On the back porch, kids snacked on red and purple snow cones while the smell of popcorn wafted through the room. In one corner, a tall Jenga block tower loomed high above the two boys building it.
Christian radio station K-LOVE played upbeat music while families and friends hung out in the Graham Brothers Dairy Bar, enjoying lunch, dessert or a specialty coffee. Across the way, shoppers browsed through books and decorative items offered at Ruth’s Attic Bookstore. Both the dairy bar and bookstore offered special discounts to homeschoolers.
On their way in, many students pored over special mini-exhibits featuring Billy Graham’s worldwide ministry.
“I liked the bowls from Russia because I studied that country,” said 11-year-old Charis. She and her little sister, Emrianna, are part of a homeschool co-op group from Lenoir, North Carolina.
Their mom/teacher, Wendy, said they’ve been studying Korea and the ministry of Dr. Billy Kim. The Korean evangelist was a translator for Billy Graham’s 1973 Crusade in Seoul, South Korea—Billy Graham’s largest ever Crusade.
They were especially excited for The Journey of Faith tour, which tells about the Seoul event. “We came to see how Billy Graham’s impact is tied to things that are still happening in Korea today,” Wendy said.
Charis’ and Emrianna’s co-op recently made unification flags and regularly prays for North and South Korea to come together as one country.
Several mini-exhibits highlighted three of the Billy Graham Library’s free online lesson plans.
Memorabilia on display included items from the evangelist’s travels around the world; the Cold War and Billy Graham’s efforts behind the Iron Curtain; and how he pioneered the use of technology to spread the Gospel.
There was living history, too. Maury Scobee—Billy Graham’s personal assistant for more than 40 years—shared stories of the Graham family and Billy Graham’s ministry.
Ten-year-old Chase knew about the evangelist from his own research. The homeschooler couldn’t stop smiling as he waited to see Bessie, an animated cow. Chase lives in Lake Norman, North Carolina, now but just moved from New York two months ago.
“I learned that Billy Graham was anointed and taught people about salvation and the kingdom of God,” he explained.
The Billy Graham Library was built to share the Gospel message with all who walk through its large cross-shaped doors. “The Library is about information, inspiration and most of all, transformation,” said Holmquist.
Munching on popcorn while she visited with a friend, Erin Keel kept an eye on her son, John David, and his friend Grayson as they carefully placed the last blocks on their giant tower.
“I love the laid-back atmosphere,” she said. “The snacks are such a welcoming thing, too.”
Wednesday was a time for these homeschoolers to learn, play, make friends and of course, eat.
“It really feels like a home,” Keel said.
Find out more about student resources offered by the Billy Graham Library. Join us for a free Lunch & Learn session.
Are you following Christ? Start here.