Ruth Bell Graham: From China to the US with Love

Ruth Bell Graham

Ruth Bell Graham (1920 – 2007)

Lord, when my soul is weary
and my heart is tired and sore,
and I have that failing feeling
that I can’t take any more;
then let me know the freshening
found in simple, childlike prayer;
when the kneeling soul knows surely
that a listening Lord is there.1
Ruth Bell was born June 20, 1920.  Her parents, Dr. Lemuel Nelson Bell and Virginia Leftwich, were Presbyterian missionaries working in northern China where Dr. Bell ran a hospital in Qingjiang.  Ruth had spent her high school years in North Korea and wanted to be a missionary in China or Tibet when she began matriculating at Wheaton College in Illinois.  There she met fellow student Billy Graham whom she ultimately married.2 

Ruth Bell Graham published her first book, Our Christmas Story, in 1959.  She wrote or co-wrote a total of 13 books, many of which were collections of poetry.  In 1966 Mrs. Graham founded the Ruth and Billy Graham Children’s Health Center in Asheville, North Carolina.3

Interesting note, while Billy Graham is a Baptist minister, Ruth Bell Graham remained a member of the Presbyterian denomination until her death in their North Carolina home on June 14, 2007.

1Bell Graham, R. (1997). Ruth Bell Graham’s Collected Poems.  Grand Rapids: Baker Books.

2Severo, R. (2007, June 15) Ruth Bell Graham, 87, Poet, Author and Evangelist’s Wife. New York Times. Retrieved April 6, 2011, from

3Ruth Graham. Wikipedia. Retrieved April 6, 2011 from

Photo from Wheaton College Ruth Bell Graham Memorial Page


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