Evangelist Will Graham, who is part of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, visited China last week to share the Gospel of Jesus Christ with the Chinese local population and to mark his family's historic legacy in that country.
In a blog post written before he made the trip to China, Graham provided a history of his grandmother Ruth Bell Graham's family there. Her father, L. Nelson Bell, was an American doctor who went to the area now known as Huai'an, China as a "Presbyterian medical missionary" back in 1916.
"My great-grandfather spent years sowing the seeds of the Gospel in China, but - frankly - did not get the opportunity to see much of a harvest," Graham wrote. "Despite his years in missionary service there, precious few found their eternal hope in Jesus through his efforts."
However, Graham noted that his great-grandfather's efforts eventually bore fruit in that Chinese city.
"His sacrificial work cultivated the ground and he is still warmly remembered in that city," Graham wrote of his great-grandfather's legacy. "Many in Huai'an still consider my grandmother, who was born there, to be Chinese; to be family."
The Christian minister talked about his trip to China. He elaborated on several aspects of his China trip on his Facebook page, which included many pictures.
"Had the amazing opportunity to share the Gospel with about 1,000 at Rongxiang Church in Wuxi, China," Graham posted on Facebook. "I told of my grandparents' great love for the people of China, and of Jesus' sacrificial love for all of us."
Graham also noted that he attended and spoke at a church close to the former Graham mission site in China.
"On Feb. 25 we shared the hope of Christ with 1,380 at Zhongshanlu Church," Graham wrote. "Thanks for your prayers!"
The day after he went to church, Graham had the opportunity to see the memorial the locals made in his great-grandfather's honor.
"It was a special and emotional time today visiting the hospital where my great-grandfather was a medical missionary, and especially visiting a memorial in his honor," Graham wrote. "Praising God for my great-grandfather's faithful witness and that tomorrow I will have the chance to carry on his legacy by sharing the hope of Christ!"
The Christian minister then posted a black-and-white photo that had remnants of a church that his great-grandfather used to attend. He reported that a new church was built across the street from the former site.
"The bell tower is the only original thing that exists from his day. This would be the same church that my grandmother would attend as a child," Graham wrote. "The new church is built across the road and is called the Ruth Memorial Church."
Graham added that being in his grandmother's hometown "stirred so many emotions in my heart." He also stated on Facebook that he had the chance to share God's Word in that same town where his family established a mission nearly 100 years ago.
Although China has persecuted Christians in the past and still cracks down on dissent through heavy-handed censorship, Graham noted that things have changed in China significantly to the point that the Gospel can make some inroads in that otherwise Communist country.
"The Christian faith is growing quickly now in China, and doors are opening for the Gospel," Graham wrote in his blog post. "I'm visiting at the invitation of the Jiangsu Province Christian Council with the approval of the Chinese government. They've been very hospitable, kind and easy to work with."
Graham's trip coincided around the Chinese New Year.