What is going on in Milton-Freewater?

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Of all places — something special is happening in Milton-Freewater. Why here, why now?

People have been questioning where all the orange books are coming from. On Facebook, at our website, and by phone, come inquiries as to why they received “All You Always Wanted to Know About God, Jesus Edition,” by Eric Metaxas.

I smile when a few callers have even asked, “Was the book left on my porch because somebody is trying to tell me something?”

The answer is, yes, and no. No, you haven’t been singled out as if someone is watching and judging your life. But also, yes, because this is a great story about Jesus Christ that you need to hear. The town of Milton-Freewater is being blanketed with a question-and-answer formatted book with the intent that readers will come to know and seek a relationship with Jesus. And it will encourage the faithful by demonstrating the accuracy of scripture.

This exciting venture is the brainchild of one person. This ministry is all about elevating Jesus, so this person signs his notes tucked in the books just — Bill. He gave me permission to share a little of his story to explain his motivation for sharing and to encourage others to stand up for their faith.

Bill’s wife of 54 years recently passed away. Bill was devastated. He thoroughly believed he would pass before she did, reasoning that she ate well, was always in good health and was nine years younger than he.

By his own admission he eats poorly, preferring junk foods to nutritious meals. Besides he said, “women always live longer than men, so why did God take her and keep me here?”

Bill struggled several months with that question, wondering what God’s plan and purpose were for his life. To be honest, my concern for Bill’s physical and emotional well-being was growing.

Then one day, Bill came to my office, exclaiming that God would have him expend all energy and resources sharing Jesus with what time he has left on this earth. He’s now 87 years old. Bill laid down a fleece to ensure God was behind his plans. He asked God to provide a publisher with more than 1,000 books available at a reasonable price. God answered that request as only God can — in a big way. So, with answer in hand, Bill went to work.

It is now 850 books later and Bill is still going door-to-door, inviting people to read the book and come to know Jesus Christ through his “Neighborhood Revival” ministry. After reading the book, people are encouraged to pass the book along to those they care about. In this way Bill hopes that everyone in Milton-Freewater will be introduced to and accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.

Bill recently drove to Spokane to meet the book’s author, Eric Metaxas, who was the guest speaker at a Christian event. Eric’s message that evening was that there are not enough heroes in the church today, people who will stand up for their faith, professing and honoring Christ in the face of adversity. First in line to meet Eric, Bill had the opportunity to share his story. Eric was near tears as Bill told him how many books he has personally bought and what he is doing with them. Eric exclaimed, “That is why I had written the book!”

It’s a certainty that Eric Metaxas left Spokane encouraged, and as much excited as we are for what is happening in Milton-Freewater.

Thank you Bill, and all the other unnamed “Bills” in our communities who have boldly put their faith out for all to see. We are blessed through your grappling with the difficult circumstances you have faced and your seasoned, mature faith, which has seen you through. You teach us all much about facing adversity and trusting in the certain hope that is ours through Christ.

The Rev. Steve Lyons is pastor of First Christian Church, 518 S. Main St. in Milton-Freewater. Pastors in the U-B circulation area who want to write a column should contact Catherine Hicks at 509-526-8312, or by e-mail at catherinehicks@wwub.com.

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