RICHMOND, Va. (BP)–The Southern Baptist missionary killed in a March 4 bomb attack at a Philippines airport was a man of vibrant faith with an inspiring passion for the lost, International Mission Board President Jerry Rankin said.
Bill Hyde, 59, died of severe head and leg injuries caused by a bomb hidden in a backpack and left under a rain shelter at the international airport in Davao. He was at the airport to meet another missionary family, Mark and Barbara Stevens, on their return from a trip out of town.
That Hyde regularly shuttled missionaries to and from the airport symbolized his servant’s heart, Rankin said, but he will be remembered even more for his concern for people who had never experienced the love of God for themselves.
“Bill’s colleagues and Filipino coworkers knew him as an encourager and a servant,” Rankin said. “But his passion for reaching the lost of the Philippines led him to a church planting assignment on the southern island of Mindanao. He had a passion to go to the edge, to the hard-to-reach places, training lay pastors and evangelists and starting churches.”
HUNDREDS OF CHURCHES
Hyde’s enthusiasm for the gospel resulted in hundreds of churches being started in remote parts of Mindanao, said a longtime coworker.
“Bill was the type of person who had the passion for going out to the hard-to-reach places to train Filipinos to go out and start churches,” said Don Phelps, a former missionary colleague who now serves as minister of missions at Grove Avenue Baptist Church in Richmond, Va. “His conviction was great that there was no place that was beyond the reach of God’s spirit and his truck!
“He would load it up with Filipino pastors and lay leaders and take them out to start churches in tribal areas and up in the rural areas. There were hundreds of churches planted in a short amount of time in different areas where he and [his wife] Lyn lived and served.”
NOT LOST, INVESTED
Hyde’s life was not lost but invested, said a missionary colleague and friend of the Hydes.
“As a young seminary student, I first read of Jim Elliott, former missionary to Ecuador in the early 1950s who was martyred along with four of his missionary associates by the Auca Indians,” said Victor Morrison, who has served in Japan with his wife, Jodi, since 1994. “Even after all these years, a quote from Elliott’s journal still remains with me: ‘He is no fool who gives up that which he cannot keep in order to gain that which he cannot lose.’
“None of us can hang on to good health, to our youth, to physical life, etc., forever, but we can rest assured that everything done for Christ, his glory and his Kingdom will be ours for eternity. Perspective: Is it about loss, or is it about investment?”
LOVE TRUMPS DANGER
Danger is not the overriding factor for Christians who decide to obey God’s call to overseas missions, Rankin said.
“No location can guarantee safety and security. Missionaries will not be deterred from planting their lives in places of danger in order to take the gospel to those who need it most desperately,” he said. “Many, like Bill Hyde, are willing to give their lives because the Lord of their lives, Jesus Christ, gave his life to bring salvation to the nations.
“God places in their hearts a love for the people that motivates them to go in defiance of the risk involved. They go with the conviction that God desires every person and every people group to know his love and experience the salvation and hope that only Jesus provides.
“Tragedies such as this simply reflect the great need for a Christian witness and renew our determination to be faithful in our mission task.”
The International Mission Board will post information as it develops at http://www.imb.org/urgent.