Today we have the pleasure of hearing from Emma Wilcox. Emma is 18 years old and is an amazing young woman who demonstrates leadership through and through. She leads worship at her church in Worcester and at the beginning of this month went overseas to serve with YWAM for six months. Emma writes about the man who has inspired her:
In thinking about a particular man who has influenced me in my life, it didn’t take long to realise what a massive impact my Grandpa Robert has had on me. From the word ‘Go’ my Grandparents have always been there for my family and have been wonderful, but it is only recently that I have realised what an impact my Grandpa has had on me, personally.
In 1968, when my Mum was four years old and my Uncle was aged six, my Grandparents made the courageous decision to move to Ethiopia, and to live as missionaries in a desolate community where they would practise as nurses and bring the Word of God to the community. With few links and little knowledge about the community where they would live, they boldly moved their family across the world in response to what God had told them to do. Only now, as I plan to go overseas for mission work myself, do I realise the full extent of what it means to leave everyone behind and say ‘goodbye’. My trip is only for six months; to a country not so far away with an organisation I can trust; for my Grandparents, however, it was a different story. They trusted in God with everything, they had no other choice but to believe that he would keep them safe and their children from harm.
During their 10 years of missionary work, my Grandparents set up a clinic in a small village in rural Ethiopia, where they practised as nurses, midwife and at times stepped into the role of the dentist! They built strong relationships with the people of the community, who had previously entrusted their health to witchdoctors - something my Grandparents were keen to change! My Grandpa also travelled to churches, bible camps and meetings where he would preach the Gospel. My Grandpa would travel for miles and miles across desolate land to reach people who would wait for him to bring the Word of God, and he ministered to them, bringing hope and love into their lives. Even in his 70’s, my Grandpa still travels each year to Ethiopia to preach the Gospel, often in remote villages, which can only be reached on horseback or on foot.
Being in a foreign country meant there would always be a language barrier, but my Grandparents worked hard to speak the tongue of the people, and even now can speak it almost fluently! Since I was 12, starting Secondary School, I have been learning to speak French, and hope to go to the University of Bath next year where I’ll study it at degree level. Only after trying to learn a language do you realise the complexities of it and how you have to be in a completely different mindset to be able to speak it fluently. When thinking about how my Grandparents moved to an African country and, for the most part, taught themselves a language with a different alphabet, it astounds me! The courage and strength it would have taken to do that! Again, they trusted God, who did not leave nor forsake them.
Not only is my Grandpa trained as a nurse and knows another language almost fluently, but his knowledge of the Bible overwhelms me. When I was younger I used to look at the bookshelf in my Grandpa’s study and wonder how he’d read all of the books sat there, but now I realise even if he hasn’t read them all cover-to-cover, he has studied the Word of God through and through and he still yearns to know more.
As a missionary, my Grandpa didn’t just want to reach the adults and people of his generation, he knew how important the younger generation was too, and believed strongly that they were just as important. By going to youth camps and making the Bible accessible to teens, my Grandpa loved seeing children and young people being impacted by the Word of God.
In addition to this, he is also my Grandpa, a caring, loving, witty, intelligent, understanding man, who would do anything to protect his family. This is why I chose Robert Revie, a man who has inspired me to go out into the nations, spreading the love of God to those who need it most. And to trust God in all that I do and to not worry about the details, because, as it says in Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”