Sept. 19, 2011
For Immediate Release
By Tori Banks, student news writer
CAMPBELLSVILLE, Ky. – The Rev. Bill Egbert and his wife, Linda, both 1982 CU alumni, have been overseas missionaries for a large part of their lives. They have focused most of their efforts in South America, specifically in the country of Costa Rica. In their time as missionaries, the two have worked overseas to plant churches, disciple believers and spread the word of Jesus Christ.
| Bill Egbert, a 1982 alumnus, wears the hat of a
friend, Wakeem, who became a martyr for
Christianity. (Campbellsville University Photo
by Nicholas Osaigbovo)
Egbert spoke at Campbellsville University’s weekly chapel service, discussing his work and urging others to serve as missionaries.
“Many times when we present the gospel in a foreign country, we forget that the seed we plant may meet cross-cultural conflicts,” Egbert said. To emphasis this point, he told the story of his brother in Christ, Wakeem.
“I remember the day Wakeem was baptized,” he said. He explained that both Wakeem and his brother, Antonio, came to know the Lord, and that eventually Antonio became the pastor of a church. “Wakeem was very involved in his brother’s ministry,” Egbert said.
In 2007, Egbert had the opportunity to return to the United States to share about his experiences on the mission field, but while he was in the states, unrest grew in the village he left behind in Costa Rica.
He explained that, in his absence, many children in the village became ill. “The old culture says that when things like this happen, someone in the village is practicing evil and is putting an evil eye on the children.”
Egbert continued to describe how several young men from the village decided to begin engaging in binge drinking. “They drank for several days,” he said.
In their drunken state, the group concluded that the cause of the illness epidemic in their village was in fact Wakeem and his brother, Antonio. They thought it was their religious beliefs that were causing the children to be sick.
The group of men decided to take matters into their own hands. They traveled to Wakeem’s home where, upon arrival, they gathered pieces of wood. They proceeded to beat Wakeem to death thinking it would solve the village’s problems. Wakeem’s family stood by and helplessly watched as their loved one was murdered. Upon his death, Wakeem became a martyr for Christianity.
Egbert said as the men were about to take his friend’s life, Wakeem said, “I am no longer that man; I am a man of God.”
While Egbert admits that he will always miss his dear friend and brother in Christ, he said there is joy in what God did in the situation. Because of Wakeem’s willingness to stand up for his faith, 25 people from his village came to know Christ.
Egbert encouraged the congregation to take a lesson from Wakeem and his story. “As God teaches you to walk with him, he teaches you to stand with him, and you realize that sometimes your testimony is greater than your life.”
We may not all be martyrs for our faith like Wakeem, but Egbert encouraged that we can all make a stand for our faith and the life we are called to live in Jesus Christ.
Campbellsville University is a widely acclaimed Kentucky-based Christian university with over 3,000 students offering 63 undergraduate options, 17 master’s degrees, five postgraduate areas and eight pre-professional programs. The website for complete information is campbellsville.edu