CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Christian Examiner)—More than eight years after opening its doors for the first time The Billy Graham Library has welcomed its 1 millionth visitor Dec. 7.
According to a tweet from Graham's son, Franklin, Thomas and Linda Weir from South Carolina became the millionth guest on Monday. The library—designed to be an ongoing ministry point for Billy Graham for generations to come—first opened in May of 2007 in an event attended by three former presidents.
"We are excited at this milestone," said Franklin Graham, president and CEO of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, in an article about the achievement on the library website. "We are reminded of Psalm 66:5, 'Come and see what God has done.' The Billy Graham Library is not an achievement of man, but of what only God can do. At age 97, my father is humbled that God has used his ministry to bring so many to the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. Our hope is that future generations will come and see what God will do through those who surrender their lives to Him."
Guests from all 50 U.S. states and 86 countries have visited the museum since its 2007 opening.
Graham at first bristled with the notion of opening up a library with his name on it. He feared it would detract from the simple gospel message he had proclaimed for more than six decades. Yet when others explained to him the evangelistic potential of the library, he reconsidered.
"When it was presented as an ongoing ministry and that people would have the opportunity to be won to Christ, I changed my mind," said Graham, according to the library's website.
Based on Graham's hope it would be a ministry point long after his passing, the library is built around the gospel and its impact on the evangelist's life. Even the entrance to the library, which is in the shape of the cross, helps to explain this point. The website calls the library an "ongoing crusade."
The library complex includes Graham's childhood home, built in 1927, which contains numerous family photos and personal items. It also includes Graham's personal library, a bookstore and a prayer garden, among other attractions.
Guests to the library this Christmas season (through Dec. 23) will be treated to a nativity scene with real animals and a ride on a horse-drawn carriage—along with light displays and carolers.
Entrance to the museum is free. Its December hours are Monday through Thursday, 9:30 a.m. to 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 9:30 a.m. to 10 p.m.
"We pray that God will continue to use Billy Graham and his ministry through the library to share the gospel with all those who come through the foot of the cross," said Tom Phillips, vice president of the Billy Graham Library.