Brother Wang / 2022-01-11
Old Brother Bill Wilson, a native of England, returned to his heavenly home on December 6, 2021, at the age of 91, and his family and church held a funeral service for him today.
He began smuggling Bibles into China in the 1970s and made no fewer than 23 such trips. He loved not only the Chinese, but also people from other countries such as India, so he went to those countries as well. Whenever I came to Oxford, he would reserve a room for me, at a very flat rate. It was all because he loved Christ and loved the Chinese.
Bill was very humble, wise, humorous, and godly. He opened his mouth to pray whenever and wherever he could, and often went out on the streets to preach the gospel with his healing team. Although many students and visitors to Oxford often gave him strange looks, he was unperturbed and went there basically every week. God also blessed his strength and he still went swimming despite having a femoral head replaced in his 80s.
His occupation was selling goods commonly used in offices, such as paper, mainly through door-to-door visits and phone calls. However, as he grew older and as online commerce booms, his business became thinner and thinner. Every time I stayed at his place for a few weeks, I noticed that he did not have much business. His business mainly relyed on the help of some old customers, such as some church institutions that ordered a few boxes of printing paper, etc., which should be very thin profit.
Luckily, he could still rent out rooms in his house. The rent in Oxford is expensive, but there were two reasons why he could not earn as much as other landlords. First, he always wanted to rent to Christians. And when dealing with brothers and sisters, he charged much less than the market rate for the Lord’s sake. Second, other landlords like long-term tenants because that makes the most money, but he always reserved one or two rooms for short-term tenants like me because he was afraid that we, short-term students who come to Oxford, would have to rent very expensive ones because there were no rooms available after we arrived.
In the last two decades, with many bits of help including Brother Bill, China has become less short of the Bibles, but in the 1970s to early 1990s, Bibles were extremely difficult to obtain. His Bibles were donated by church organizations, purchased by brothers and sisters, and also bought by himself. In terms of travel expenses, he would be less burdened if someone sponsored him, but donations were always insufficient and the difference would have to be paid by himself. Thus, every trip to deliver Bibles in China was a journey of faith and new pressure on his own financial situation. He made 23 trips to China alone, which was costly for him. At the age of 80, he was still paying his mortgage. And his food was extremely simple, and every meal was a sandwich or something from the mini-mart nearby. Those of us who met him remember that his clothes looked very ordinary.
At his funeral, his church pastor said that Bill gave faithfully to his church every month. Therefore, he did not intend to accumulate treasures on earth for himself. Such an ordinary brother in his profession, however, spent his time, energy, and earned money mainly on the Lord’s work, and lived like a saint – being content with poverty but generous with giving.
The old servant of Christ rested from his earthly work and returned to the Father’s house, we cannot see him anymore, but he can see us and is praying for us. My own hope is that his mortgage was paid off by the time he passed away. He was in the presence of the Lord at this time, and according to Jesus’ own teaching, what would the Lord say to him? I was moved by the thought of what Christ would say to him, and a little wetness came to my eyes.
He epitomized an era in which so many Westerners paid their prices for loving the Lord and His Chinese Church. Although most Chinese believers have never met him, I believe that after hearing his story, many will feel in their spirit that he was an acquaintance and a good friend, so I am writing down this tribute and sending it to you all to remember him together and be encouraged. I believe that we will see him again one day in joy.
Attached are Uncle Bill’s Biography and A letter to Uncle Bill by his daughter Anthea Morley.