Dr. Jerry Beavan
"Jerry Remembers" ... in which Jerry Beavan, at age 93, recounts events from his experiences in a wide ranging field of endeavors, which include being a college and seminary professor ... a corporate executive in the insurance and pharmaceutical industries ... a federal lobbyist in Washington, DC ... and as Billy Graham described him, "the architect of world evangelism as we know it today."
Now retired and physically handicapped, restricted to a wheel chair, Jerry has been Senior Editor of the weekly American News Commentary, now in its 10th year of publication.
I Remember Some of the People I Worked With
I use the term "worked with" instead of "worked for," because of something Billy Graham said one night during the Pittsburgh crusade in 1952. Bob Van Kampen, a long time friend of Billy's, who ran an important Christian publishing house in those days, asked me to come to work for him—at double my present salary—and he did so in Billy's dressing room, right in front of Billy. I had no intention of accepting his offer, but Billy spoke up and said, "Jerry, if you would rather work 'for' Bob instead of 'with' me, go right ahead."
In the many varied elements of my "career," I worked the longest with two truly great American Christian leaders, at least 15 years with each, Billy Graham and Art DeMoss. I could fill pages with stories of experiences with both men. Here are just a couple....
When Billy and I went to India the first time, in 1956, we had our largest meetings in the South of India, in Kottyam. There Billy and I stayed in the residence of Bishop C. K. Jacob, who was really the founding Bishop of the Church of South India. We shared a large bedroom on the second floor of the residence, and when Bishop Jacob showed us the room, we noticed that each of the two beds, completely covered by mosquito netting, were quite high from the floor, and had metal pie pans fastened about midway on each of the 4 legs. The Bishop explained that during the day, native cobras slept in the warmth of the roof tiles, but at night they were apt to come in through the windows (no glass or no screen) and the metal pie pans were to prevent them from crawling up into the beds.
There was no electricity in the residence, but we were given an electric "torch " (flashlight) to make our way to bed. Guess who was given the responsibility of making the first trip to the beds to be sure that everything was safe? Right ... and then I shined the light for Billy to dash across to his bed.
And just this one involving Art De Moss. After his sudden death in 1979, the executives of National Liberty Corporation were gathered around the huge circular table in the Board Room, discussing what we should do now. On the table was the last dictation belt that Art had recorded, and it had been brought there so Marge Field, his secretary, could transcribe it. The somber moment was lightened a bit when Marge said, "I suppose we will have quite a few more of these." To which Dick Voight, a senior staff member, very softly responded, "Marge, if you get some in the future, would you let me hear them, too?"
So many memories come to mind ... how do you select the ones to recount out of more than 30 years of experience? And the spiritual lesson to be learned? Simply that there was a distinctly human side of two of the greatest Christian leaders of our time; one unquestionably the most effective Christian evangelist ... the other conceivably the most effective Evangelical philanthropist. And to thank God for having provided leaders like them, for the time when they were specifically needed.