Anne Marie Armistead, Volunteer Manager at the Billy Graham Library, says that the volunteers are the heart of the Library. “Aside from the gatehouse where guests drive through the entrance, our volunteers are the first people to have contact with them. They are the first to open those doors, and they are literally the first impression,” she explained. “When we look for volunteers, we are not merely looking for ‘bodies’ to fill the space. We are looking for people who feel called to be part of a ministry with eternal impact, whether they are sharing the Gospel, or just being hospitable.”
Terri Hazen, Assistant Volunteer Manager at the Billy Graham Library, says that many of the volunteers contribute because God has used Billy Graham to lead them to Christ. “Perhaps they attended a crusade and accepted Jesus, or came to know the Lord by watching a Billy Graham television program. They just want to be a part of the continuing crusade.”
While many of the volunteers are retirees in a later season of life, younger volunteers with a passion for Jesus Christ are stepping up to the plate.
Julius Nyerere and Ed Walton, college students, are best friends on their summer break and staying with Walton’s family in the Charlotte area.
“We had planned on volunteering or serving somewhere over the summer,” said Nyerere, whose interest in serving was sparked by a recent mission trip to our nation’s capital. “I’m glad I will have this experience and knowledge, as I have come to know this wonderful man named Billy Graham. I’m also happy to meet new people and make new friends.”
Walton echoes Nyerere’s sentiments. “We signed a commitment card two months ago at the end of our mission trip in Washington, D.C. that says we will continue to serve the Lord in some capacity. Now, that service is coming to fruition by volunteering at the Library,” he said.
Spending her summer as a volunteer, Brittany Smith is a nursing student who visited the Library twice as a guest before she decided to get involved. “The atmosphere drew me in. Once I walked through the doors, I knew that this place is Christ-centered. It is also a really good opportunity to grow, because you are around a lot of godly people from other generations. There is some wisdom to be gained by spending time with them.”
Smith would also like to do service on the mission field when she is finished with her nursing program. She believes that volunteering at the Billy Graham Library is a key part of her preparation for Christian service. “It’s really cool to see many people from different places around the world. I love how God brings all those people together in one place.”
Summer is more than halfway over, but the opportunities do not stop there for high school or college-age volunteers. Armistead says that there are many opportunities to contribute during Christmas break at the annual Christmas at the Library.
“This year, we are looking at getting more young people involved at Christmastime. The schools have breaks, and there is a smaller commitment. Students can serve in several different ways, such as helping with outside activities like the carriage rides and the Nativity, or selling hot chocolate at the Dairy Bar.”
Armistead says that to appreciate the blessing involved in volunteering at the Library, people need to come and experience it. “Once they do that, and have seen what it’s like, there is a much higher likelihood that they’ll be back.”
“Over the years, I have heard about Billy Graham, his ministry, and all the lives he has impacted both domestically and globally,” said Walton. “I’m just excited to share the Gospel with people, and I’m happy to be a part of this team.”
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