Minnesota Prairie Roots

Writing and photography by Audrey Kletscher Helbling

Billy Graham’s gift to Minnesota & indirectly to me February 22, 2018

Filed under: Uncategorized — Audrey Kletscher Helbling @ 5:00 AM
Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,

A snippet of the stained glass window in the balcony at Trinity Lutheran Church, North Morristown, Minnesota. Minnesota Prairie Roots file photo.


IF I LISTEN to the memories within, I can still hear the song, see the people filing forward across the television screen to dedicate their lives to Christ.

Those are my thoughts as I remember the Rev. Billy Graham who died on Wednesday. I always connect “Just As I Am” to the evangelist. That was his signature hymn during his Billy Graham Crusades.

But there’s something I didn’t know about Graham. It’s his connection to Minnesota. And to my favorite radio station. Graham served as president of the University of Northwestern—St. Paul from 1948-1952. And he helped launch Christian radio station KTIS, still today a ministry of Northwestern.

I listen to KTIS every day. The music uplifts me, encourages me, gives me joy. But sometimes I cry at lyrics which connect to my soul, to something happening in my life. I find comfort and hope within contemporary Christian music and in the conversations, call-ins and overall ministry of this Twin Cities radio station.

I’ve always respected Billy Graham. Now I have another reason to appreciate him—for his legacy of faith at KTIS.

FYI: The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association also got its start in Minnesota, headquartered in Minneapolis for 50 some years before moving to North Carolina.


30 Responses to “Billy Graham’s gift to Minnesota & indirectly to me”

  1. Jena Says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories of Billy Graham. We have to say goodbye to a man that most of us have known all of our lives-a man we could count on! But what a Homecoming!

  2. melirey96 Says:

    He was truly blessed and an example of how we should all keep God’s commands in our hearts.

    Proverbs 3:1-3 My son, do not forget my teaching, but keep my commands in your heart, for they will prolong your life many years and bring you peace and prosperity. Let love and faithfulness never leave you, bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.

    He was truly crowned upon entering heaven .

  3. BradG Says:

    Our local paper (Hendersonville, NC) has full front page of Billy this morning “Home to the Father”. Quotes him saying “Someday you will read or hear that Billy Graham is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it. I shall be more alive than I am now. I will just have changed my address. I will have gone into the presence of God.” I saw him at a crusade in Atlanta…will never forget that.

  4. I got to meet Reverend Graham in a professional setting. He exuded such love and warmth–all I could think was, “He’s the real deal.” I teared up when he took my hand when we were introduced. He did a call to Christ in a movie I saw with a church group in 1972 (I was 10) and that’s when I accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior. He changed the hearts of so many. I loved hearing the ties he had to your beautiful state.

  5. Littlesundog Says:

    I remember the crusades of the 70’s. My mother actually met Graham in an elevator at St. Mary’s hospital, though she had no idea who he was that day. My folks took my brother to Mayo Clinic after two botched hip surgeries in Nebraska, following a four-wheeler accident. Mom stayed in Rochester the two weeks my brother had evaluations and surgeries. Mom and Graham visited about why each of them was there on the trip up the elevator. He said he was at Mayo for his annual checkup and was stopping by St. Mary’s to visit a couple of friends. On getting off of the elevator he said, with a big smile on his face, “You do not recognize me do you?” Mom stated that she didn’t know, and was she supposed to? He smiled even bigger and said, “No, not at all. This is refreshing.Please allow me to pray for you and your son”. And so he held her hands and said a simple prayer for strength and endurance, and for God to envelope them in his everlasting love. For years, it bugged mom who this man could be. Then one evening, while knitting and halfway watching one if Graham’s crusades, it hit her! It had been Billy Graham with her in the elevator that day.

    How many times do we do a double take when we see someone out of the element that is so much about their work, job or position? Billy Graham was a great man, no doubt. But to my mother that day, he was a common person in street clothes who was kind enough to stop and pray.

    • Lori, thank you for sharing this story about your mom’s encounter with Billy Graham. His reaction reinforces the humble spirit he held. I can just picture him praying for your mom and for your brother. What a blessed memory.

  6. Valerie Says:

    KTIS is truly a gift to Minnesota, and Billy Graham was a gift to the world. It’s wonderful to hear all the stories of how he touched our lives.

  7. Missy's Crafty Mess Says:

    He was such a moving man. I wish they’d report more on stories like this than what we have been seeing on the news

  8. Jackie Says:

    Loved that man! He is finally home, where he so longed to be 🙂 I also LOVE listening to contemporary Christian music. I really think we were sisters in another life…ha ha

  9. Rosalie Quale Says:

    I love KTIS as well and listen often. What a gift he started with that station!

  10. BradG Says:

    Just saw where Billy will lie in the U.S. Capitol rotunda from Feb 28-Mar 1st. What a GREAT honor. I think as long as any President did. Motorcade from Montreat, NC to Charlotte is expected to last 3 1/2 hours..so many people to line the Expressways.

  11. Beth Ann Says:

    He definitely touched many lives and I went to a crusade in Charlotte years ago to see him. He had a gift and I truly believe he was one of those people who had a deep relationship with our Father that was not touched by fame and notoriety. He is definitely in the arms of our Father now and what rejoicing there must be.

  12. david wassink Says:

    Thank you SOLI DEO GLORIA

  13. Sue Ready Says:

    I knew that about Graham as Bryan went to Northwestern and we often passed Graham’s photo in the hallway. He left a legacy to the campus that they honor in many ways.

  14. A great man.
    A great leader & role-model for Christians & non-Christians.
    Kind of like the Pope!
    When he died, the first thing I thought of is “WOW, Kay gets to meet him face to face now!”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.