Worth Dying For

by Andy Wood on June 5, 2008

in Five LV Laws, Life Currency, Love, LV Stories, Principle of Legacy

Bill HydeI never knew Bill Hyde.

I will one day.

Bill was a church planter.  I know a little about that; I planted a church five years ago.  Bill planted six hundred, and just before he died, he hosted a then-record 3,700 participants in a Pioneer Evangelism conference.  His vision:  to plant 3,000 churches.  He took what people were adding in the Philippines, and began multiplying their efforts ten-fold.

I never heard Bill’s deep bass voice, singing or otherwise.

I will one day.

Bill gave up a career in music or teaching because, as one person put it, he wasn’t content leading a quiet, happy life teaching music.  Instead, he and Lyn, his wife, chose the frontlines of the battle.  They were appointed as missionaries in 1978.

I never hung out, played golf, argued, or even shook hands with Bill.  I sure hope I can one day.

Jim Cox, his former co-worker, said that Bill was a big guy:

Big in stature, big smile, big laugh, big hands, big heart. Bill was a musician, a teacher, a planner, an organizer and a doer. He had strong opinions, enjoyed a good argument and a game of dominoes. Bill and I played golf together weekly. He was my perfect golfing companion because he was as bad a golfer as I—not that we kept score anyway.

Bill and I have met in one way.  We both were saved and sent by the love of Jesus Christ.  As Bill would travel to some of the remotest areas of Mindanao, Filipinos would often ask him why he stayed in the Philippines, where it was so hot and so hard to live.  Bill will always give the same answer: “Because I love Filipinos.”

I have never seen a terrorist attack.  I hope I never do.  Bill saw his first and last on March 4, 2003 – five years before he was due to retire.  To us in the U.S., it was just another news report about some crazies somewhere else in the world – one of those “nineteen dead, including one American” stories.

Bill was that one American.

Bill had gone to the Davao City airport to pick up a missionary couple coming back from Manila.  While waiting outside, a bomb hidden in a backpack just a few feet away from Bill exploded.  He was killed almost instantly.

Because of his size, his body was able to block the blast from hitting Filipinos who were standing around him.  In essence, he died so that many others could live.  Thousands of Filipinos came for his memorial service.  At the bomb site where Bill died, someone placed a wreath with this inscription:

“In honor of Bill Hyde who along with other Americans think Filipinos are worth dying for.”

You learn a lot about people when you see

  • what they’re willing to walk away from,
  • what they display their genius at,
  • what they refuse to quit doing, and
  • what they influence people to do after they have gone on.

Perhaps the greatest expression of Bill’s legacy came from his youngest son, Steve.  “I will avenge my father’s death,” he said, “not by killing and violence. I’ll go into this world and shine the light of Jesus into the dark places.

That’s influence.

That’s LifeVesting.

Heaven is about fellowship with Jesus.  But it’s also about fellowship with saints of every era.  So save me a place at the domino table, Buddy.

I want to meet Bill.

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Ivy June 6, 2008 at 8:22 am

Great post, Andy. It’s wonderful to be a part of the great communion of saints, the cloud of witnesses spoken of in Hebrews. To live an incarnational, Christlike life is what it’s all about. Blessings.

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