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[Above: Cover of Wildish’s account of his missionary work in the Amazon. Pickering and Ingalls, 1964]

WHEN HAROLD WILDISH accepted Christ as savior, he determined to put his faith into action. He promised the Lord he would do whatever he wanted. Seven years later, in 1922, after hearing a missionary message, he dropped to his knees and asked the Lord to show him, that day, what direction to go. When he got home it was near midnight. There he found a letter from an aunt. She cited the Great Commission to him (Matthew 28:18-20). Immediately he left his business and enrolled in a Bible School to get the training he needed.

For three years no clear-cut instructions came. Then he received a request to fill the place of Wilson Nicholl, a missionary returning home ill from Guiana. But Wildish had only one pound to his name. He went upstairs and spread the letter out before the Lord, saying, “You know what I need.” In the mail the next morning, he received a check for twenty-five pounds. “But I must have thirty-five,” he prayed. (That would be about $2,400 in 2020.) The next day he received another letter from one of the businessmen who had sent the twenty-five pounds. “I could not sleep last night thinking of you,” it read. “I believe you must need the additional enclosed ten pounds.”

Thus it came about that on this day, 6 June 1925, Harold Wildish boarded the Amakura bound for South America. He took as one of his mottos, “The bigger the battle, the bigger the victory.” After work in Guiana, he spent years in the upper reaches of the Amazon and gradually won the confidence of the Molacas. He recorded some of the details of this work in Among the Savage Redskins of the Amazon.

Years later, worn out with fevers, and having just escaped death from a particularly violent attack of illness, he was homesick for England. A letter from Harold P. Barker reached him, asking him to consider becoming an evangelist in the West Indies.

He sensed God was calling and agreed. No boat could take him to England, but a boat was sailing for Trinidad. He was sick with fever the whole trip and had to go to bed when he got to his destination. Eventually he met up with Barker in Jamaica, recovered, and had a powerful ministry winning the lost among the mixed races of the islands.

Decades later the Open Brethren in Jamaica would remember the boost their ministry got by a visit from Wildish’s evangelistic team. Churches on St. Kitt’s and other islands could say the same. Several of his sermons are available in audio from Voices for Christ and from Sermon Index, including those he preached at the Keswick Conference of 1970. (For more on Keswick, visit our June twenty-ninth story.)

Dan Graves

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To get a feel for the conditions Wildish encountered, watch Steve Saint's Journey Into The Amazon at RedeemTV

Journey Into the Amazon can be purchased at Vision Video.

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