Dick Hillis

Lois and I spent almost all day Saturday remembering a man of God whose life touched ours profoundly: Dick Hillis, the founder of OC International. When we went to Brazil in 1977, we were sent out under OC International.

Dick Hillis died on December 14 and his memorial service was January 14. It was an all day affair with BOTH of his families (he and his first wife, Margaret, had 6 kids and many many grandchildren) including the OC family. It was wonderful to reconnect with many precious friends and fellow travelers, since we were part of the OC family for 16 years! Read the link!

Here are some things I heard that challenge me:

  • When OC started out, Dick surrounded himself with people in their 20’s and built the mission with their help. One said: “Even though we were in our 20’s, he expected us to do our jobs well. He gave us jobs that were over our heads. He praised us when we did well and he confronted us when we didn’t. He expected hard work and he expected God to guide us. He always took the hardest job.
  • Dick told us, I will give you 10 days to decide whether God is telling you to join us in Taiwan. Get counsel from people who know you well. Bathe everything in prayer. Find examples, especially Bible examples, of people faced with a similar decision and learn everything you can from that example.
  • He wanted to build the church by building a foundation under national leaders. Raise up others so that they will be successful.
  • Spend yourself on a cause that will outlive your own life.
  • If you are going to make it as a missionary, learn to laugh at your mistakes!
  • Dick was there when I was in trouble or hurting.
  • He served, not to be great, but to make others great.
  • “Where are all the men? 80% of missionaries are women. You men are all chickens!” (He said this to High Schoolers at Mt Hermon before WWII.

What stood out to me most was that he was a fork in the road person. His challenge changed the course of the life of many people. And this was because he had a great love for Jesus that was noticeable to all, and that he depended on God to enable him and to take ordinary lives and use them in extraordinary ways.

I was reminded of his favorite verse (2 Cor 4:5) “we do not proclaim ourselves; we proclaim Jesus Christ as Lord and ourselves as your slaves for Jesus’ sake.”

I hope I can follow His example!

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