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Posted: January 17, 2013 9:13 p.m.

Wilma's courage

First Baptist has had a partnership with church planters in Indonesia now for three years, and because of this partnership, in 2010 and in 2012, I have had the opportunity to go to Indonesia to teach these church planters.

On both of these trips, I hired a woman named Hannah to translate for me; she does an amazing job and I appreciate her work. Hannah is a Christian who was educated in the U.S. and runs a school in Indonesia teaching English as a second language. When I was in Indonesia this past summer, she mentioned to me that in one of her schools they were looking to hire an American to come and help teach. She said that they would pay for lodging and for all of the travel expenses but that the salary was only $300 a month. I told her I would mention it to some people when I got home, but I wasn't very hopeful that I would find someone for her.

When I got home, I mentioned the job to a few college students and none of them were interested. Thinking I had done my due diligence, I forgot about the job supposing that Hannah would find someone else. But she called a few weeks later asking if I had found anyone and so I told her I would announce it in church to see if anyone would bite, but I told her I didn't think that anyone would be interested.

The following Sunday, I announced the opportunity in our services and there was one woman in particular who showed great interest. Wilma Lewis had only been coming to our church for a short time. She is in her 60s and from the day she was born, she lived a simple life in Georgia. She had no experience with travel or with missions work. In fact, Wilma had never been on an airplane. She didn't have a passport and she had no experience with Eastern people or culture, but she was confident that God had told her to go. She had a heart for the Great Commission and wanted to show those Indonesian children the love of Christ.

On Oct. 5, 2012, Wilma Lewis who had never been to the airport, went to Hartsfield-Jackson and took one of the most difficult flights a person can take, traveling halfway around the world to Balikpapan, Indonesia. I will be honest, as much as I trust the Lord and as excited as I was to see someone walk in such sincere faith, I was nervous. After she left, I didn't hear from Wilma for several weeks but finally she called. I could barely get a word in edgewise; she was so excited to be in Indonesia and so excited about the work she was doing. Since then, Wilma has called several times and she sent me a four page letter the other day. Every time I talk to her, she is always telling me, "God did this for me..." and, "You won't believe what the Lord did the other day."

Wilma's eyes have been opened in a new way to the hand of God. She tried something bold for the kingdom; she did something great for God at an age when most people are slowing down; she did the riskiest thing that she has ever done. I am so proud of her and so moved by her. Her courage and faith has been an inspiration to me and I hope that it is to you. If Wilma Lewis ever moves back, I would love for you to meet her and if you ever want to read her letters, come by the church office at First Baptist and we will share them with you.

In conclusion, I want to ask you, what is the great thing that God has in store for your life? What is the great dream that he has given you? Let me tell you something that is true: when you consider doing great things for God, you don't have the strength, the experience, or the energy for it, but he does.

Will you trust the Lord like Wilma has and do something that will never be forgotten in the Kingdom of Christ?


Jason Dees is a grateful follower of Jesus Christ, the husband of Paige and the father of Emery Anna. He is also the senior pastor of First Baptist Church in Covington.

 

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