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Son of slain missionary exhorts seminarians to work in ‘hard places’

FORT WORTH, Texas (BP)–Bill Hyde had a vision for establishing 3,000 churches on the Philippine island of Mindanao, the son of the slain IMB worker said during chapel at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas, April 1.

“His vision was to see 3,000 churches on Mindanao,” Steve Hyde said, “and I have no doubt that, through the legacy he has left and the people he shared that vision with, there will someday be 3,000 churches on the island.”

The younger Hyde is the founder of Words of Life Ministries, a missions organization working in Southeast Asia.

Hyde said his father had already participated in planting as many as 1,000 churches on Mindanao, often plowing ahead in perilous circumstances. The danger, he said, did not deter his father, who often reminded coworkers to be ready to go wherever God tells them no matter the potential for danger.

“We need to be in places where the work is dangerous,” Steve Hyde said. “We need to be in places where people have not heard the Gospel before.”

Bill Hyde, 59, a Southwestern graduate, was killed in a bomb attack at the Davao City airport March 4. He and his wife, Lyn, had served with the IMB for nearly 25 years.

Steve Hyde, who also attended Southwestern, said that on the day of his father’s funeral in the Philippines the church was filled and people spilled out onto the streets.

“The whole block was full of pastors [who] were impacted by the life of my father and they are even more passionate for the Gospel now,” Hyde said, “So Satan made a big mistake by killing my father.”

Hyde, 31, grew up in the Philippines and is no stranger to the dangers that are often a part of a missionary’s life. He recounted that when he prayed for direction about where God would have him serve as a missionary, he found himself praying for a place with “beautiful mountains and beaches.” God, he said, changed his direction.

“When I told people that God was calling me to [Southeast Asia], not one person said, ‘Yeah, great. Go for it.’ Everyone said, ‘Are you sure?'”

Hyde and his wife, Noit, currently work to “equip the body of Christ” through the development of training materials and training programs for church leaders in the region. The couple began Words of Life Ministries in 1997 to help achieve their ministry goals, which have expanded to include the production of radio and media programming.

“It’s so exciting to be in that part of the world because God is doing such incredible things there,” Hyde said. Hyde said that he has seen warfare at various times in Southeast Asia since arriving there, but that God had already prepared him for the situations he has faced.

The danger of missions became evident when he participated in the Southwestern’s spring evangelism practicum in 1992, he said. He preached in Guatemala, where for the first time he had a gun put to his head.

“That same year, I went on another practicum to California and also had a gun drawn on me. The gunman said, ‘Don’t bring Jesus on my street.'”

Hyde encouraged students to be ready to go when God says “go,” no matter where that place may be or how dangerous it may seem.

“I have often heard people say that the safest place you can be is in God’s will,” Hyde said. “It’s safe as far as your eternal security, but if you’re in God’s will, most likely it’s not a physical safe place. Very rarely does God call people to the most comfortable place on earth.”

Though God is calling missionaries to difficult parts of the world, Hyde also stressed the eternal significance of the work.

“You will be doing what God wants you to do, spreading the love of Jesus in the hard places and the dark places so that someday they won’t be hard, dark places.

“God is transforming places already, even with my father’s death. Pastors are more passionate and more dedicated to share the Gospel.”

Hyde also noted the adventure that accompanies a commitment to follow Christ wherever He might lead.

“When God calls you to go somewhere, do something now. Go. Go where God calls you to go. [It] may not be the safest place in the world, but it will be the best place, and it will be the place where God is going to use you in ways that you would never imagine.

“I would have never imagined that I would be doing, at 31 years old, what I’m doing.”
(BP) photo posted in the BP Photo Library at http://www.bpnews.net. Photo title: FATHER-SON VISION.

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  • Lauri Arnold