Joy’s mother, Verneta Wille, suffered a very serious stroke early in the morning on March 26, and was immediately transported from her home in Crossville, TN to the University of Tennessee Medical Center in Knoxville. Although she received the very best treatment possible, she did not respond well. The Lord took her home on April 3. Family and friends attended her celebration of life service on April 7 at Central Baptist Church of Crossville.
Mrs. Wille was a wonderful pastor’s wife for 50 years, serving alongside her husband, Pastor Ted Wille, in churches in Tennessee, New Jersey, and Michigan. She was an excellent homemaker and hostess. Verneta loved music, singing in her church choir. Joy’s mother excelled as a Sunday School teacher, being very effective with preschool children. Many parents and past students have remarked on the impact and influence she had on her pupils for the Gospel of Christ.
Pastor and Mrs. Wille have been passionately committed to world missions, giving by faith to send and sustain missionaries around the world. Perhaps their greatest sacrifice for the Great Commission was their blessing on their only daughter, son-in-law, and grandchildren serving as missionaries to Ecuador for the past 30 years.
Our Time in Tennessee
As soon as we heard about the stroke, we arranged for Joy to travel to Knoxville, though she wouldn’t be able to travel until the next day. Within hours we knew that the situation was critical, and made arrangements for Tony, and the kids to travel as well. We were in Knoxville by the morning of the 28th.
It was good to gather as a family during those final days. Our adult daughters, Amanda, Ashley, and Alexis were also there and were of great help and comfort. We are grateful for the presence of family members and dear friends from all over the United States and around the world who expressed their love and concern. The church family of Central Baptist, where they are members, was amazing. The church staff did a tremendous job in making her celebration service very memorable. The choir provided uplifting and Christ-exalting music. The guests in attendance at the service, and communication from the previous churches where Pastor and Mrs. Wille had served were very encouraging.
Right now, our family is with Joy’s Dad in Crossville, TN, serving him through the adjustments in his life. We are helping with his physical needs, and making sure he is well cared for. Thank you for your prayers on his behalf.
We are also attentive to the work in Manta. Although we don’t have a definite timeline for our return, we are providing guidance in the selection of preachers to fill the pulpit. We are also preparing study guides for the Thursday night Bible classes. The administrative team is communicating with us about the church’s activities. Please pray for the congregations and it’s leaders as they serve Christ well during our absence.