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A Time to Trust God

A Time to Trust God

Grandpa, Teddy, and Tony ready to fly to Spain

Do you know what it’s like when your phone wakes you in the middle of the night, when you’re in a strange bed, in a hotel room, after 24 hours of travel, several time zones away from home, in Madrid? No? I didn’t either until it happened to me at 2:30 am on March 12.

Joy, my wife, said over the phone, “The president just announced no more flights from Europe. I thought you’d want to know sooner rather than later.”

Wow! That was quite a wake-up call! I was traveling in Spain on a tour with my father and my son Teddy. We had arrived in Madrid the previous afternoon. During those first minutes my mind raced through what ifs, what abouts, and worst-case scenarios. A film festival of disaster movies started to take over my brain. Then we stopped and prayed. My focus changed, and God moved into the picture. I went back to sleep. I felt confident that God would provide a path home and would guard our health and safety, or he would have a good reason not to do so.

We learned more details about the restrictions in a few hours. The situation wasn’t as dire as we thought at first. During the next two days, we had the privilege of touring Madrid, Córdoba, and Sevilla, and then Spain’s government started going into lock-down. By Saturday we had tickets to JFK. On Sunday we were on our way home. Monday night my son and I were back in Tennessee sleeping in our own beds.

As we stepped off the plane at JFK airport in New York, we were greeted by people in protective gear. One of them took the form I had filled out about my state of health and our itinerary in Europe. A young man scanned my temperature, and a woman handed me an instruction card. “Stay home for 14 days. Take your temperature twice a day. Call your doctor if you feel sick.” So that’s what we’ve been doing. We show no symptoms seven days later. God is good!

Psalm 40 has come to my mind multiple times over the past several days.

1. I waited patiently for the Lord (v. 1). When you’re waiting on God, you’re not wasting time. Our waiting should be purposeful and expectant. God is going to do something amazing!

2. He inclined to me and heard my cry (v. 1). If you only get to make one call, make it to God. He’ll hear your cry. He leans in, listens to your plea, and comes to help.

3. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog (v. 2).

When you’re up to your ears in mud, feeling hopeless and helpless, raise your hand. God will grab hold and pull you out.

4. And set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure (v. 2).  Faith isn’t built on thin air. When you stand on God’s promises, you’re on solid rock.

5. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God (v. 3). Sing and praise God. Your spirit will be renewed whether your circumstances improve or not.

6. Many will see and fear and put their trust in the Lord (v. 3) Your trust in God will be contagious. When fear and insecurity are prevalent, a testimony of confident trust in God will be a beacon of hope.

On Saturday morning March 14, everyone in our tour group was busy trying to make plane reservations. Teddy was on his laptop. After working hard to arrange travel for the three of us, he helped others. He made a great impression on people. Our tour guide said, “He restores my hope for young people.” That made me happy. I think it pleased his heavenly Father too.

I was sitting off by myself on a hotel luggage cart, with head bowed and eyes closed. “Are you sick?” asked one of the other travelers, probably worried that I’d caught the virus.

“No,” I replied, “I’m praying.”

“Oh! Then say a prayer for me!” he laughed.

I did.

Like most people, I have a hard time accepting when things happen that I don’t control. When I stop and think about it, I realize that nearly every variable circumstance is beyond my control. I want to think that I’m analyzing, planning, and acting in charge, but in truth I’m wholly dependent on the sovereign God who loves me more than I can imagine. He works all things for my good and for his glory. Why do I often struggle against his will and doubt his good intentions?

I don’t know when this will all be over or how it will turn out, but I’m blessed to be trusting the God who does.

Blessed is the man who makes
    the Lord his trust,
who does not turn to the proud,
    to those who go astray after a lie!
You have multiplied, O Lord my God,
    your wondrous deeds and your thoughts toward us;
    none can compare with you!
I will proclaim and tell of them,
    yet they are more than can be told.

(Psalm 40:4-5)

Live Global Conference

Live Global Conference

West Park Baptist Church in Knoxville

West Park Baptiste Church in Knoxville, TN held their annual global conference from February 23 to March 1. Because “Live Global” was the theme of the conference, many of the featured speakers were our team leaders and teammates. The conference highlighted the outstanding work of our teammates and partners around the world.

Live Global Leaders Spoke to Local Pastors

On Monday morning of the conference, many pastors and representatives of local churches met for breakfast at West Park to hear from Live Global leaders. George, Andrew, and Matt shared stories about how the ministry of partnership and relationships with national ministry workers started and grew. Additionally, they shared our vision of adding many new teammates and contributors from churches across the USA to serve partners around the world.

Our Part in the Conference

We had the opportunity to participate during the whole week of the conference by sharing our ministry vision with small and large groups. Tony and Joy spoke to Adult Bible Fellowships. Then we greeted the congregation in a worship service and gave them a brief update. At lunchtime on Tuesday, we shared stories with a large gathering of senior adults. Our son Teddy spoke to a couple of the groups. He did an outstanding job.

Teddy speaks to Senior Adults
Prayer Please

Prayer Please

We have a lot of things going on in October 2019. The first thing we’re going to do is entertain four of our grandchildren for a week. That will be fun! We ask your prayers for some of our ministry opportunities this month.

Tony to Cuba

Cuba map

A couple of months ago, Tony was invited to join two team members from Live Global to visit a group of young missionary church planters in Cuba. As we prayed about it, we also asked God to supply the financial resources needed for the trip. God supplied more than enough. From October 16 to 21, the team will travel to Santiago de Cuba. We’ll be observing and encouraging Cuban servant-leaders. Pray that God would allow us to build relationships with those who are serving Christ in Cuba. Please pray with us about this trip.

Teddy to Nicaragua

Nicaragua map

Our son Teddy will be going to Nicaragua on a mission trip with some of the young men and leaders of his discipleship group at church. The team will be leading a discipleship conference from October 24 to 28. Teddy will be doing a lot of translating for the conference teachers. Teddy has always been a big help when we hosted short-term teams in Ecuador. He is excited about going on his first missions trip. Pray that Teddy and the discipleship team will be a blessing.

Tony and Joy to Pennsylvania

In August, we began the application process to join Live Global, a ministry of ABWE (Association of Baptists for World Evangelism). We have had conversations and interviews with members of the Live Global and ABWE team. Next, Tony and Joy will attend New Member Orientation at the ABWE headquarters at their beautiful location near Harrisburg, PA. From October 24 to 31, we’ll participate in intensive training in all things related to being ABWE Live Global missionaries. The ABWE leadership will interview us more extensively. Then the leaders will decide on our approval and appointment to serve with Live Global. Please be praying with us about this important week. We hope to have an important announcement on November 1!

Family Trip to Ecuador

Family Trip to Ecuador

Visiting the church in Manta, Ecuador in June 2019

From June 22 to July 6 our family made a trip to Ecuador. All of us attended church services at Iglesia Bíblica Bautista in Manta. We spent time with church leaders and encouraged the church family. It was a joy to see the church moving forward and God working in people’s lives. Most of our family possessions were still in our home in Ecuador. We chose some items for the trip home in our suitcases; packed others for shipment; sold furniture, appliances and household goods; and gave away the rest. It was hard work and was emotionally challenging, but it served to provide some closure for all of us. Thank you for your prayers for our family.

The whole family helped pack.
The shippers filled the container.
Friends from Central Baptist Church in Crossville helped us unload.
Newsletter June 2019

Newsletter June 2019

Please Remember

Starting on July 1, 2019, financial support for our ministry should go through Mountain View Chapel. (BBFI will no longer be receiving support for us.) Checks may be directed to MVC/Anzalone, 732 Covered Bridge Dr., Madison, VA 22727. You may also choose to give online at: (designate: Anzalone). We are grateful for those of you who are staying in partnership with us and helping make it possible for us to minister to our brothers and sisters in Ecuador and wherever else God may open doors for us to serve. 

Trip to Ecuador

Please pray for our family as we all travel to Ecuador from June 22 to July 6. Joy and I will be speaking at the church on June 30. We’ll be encouraging and counseling the pastors and ministry leaders personally and in group settings. Our family prayer need is to be able to sell some of our possessions in Ecuador and to pack others for shipment to the USA. We need to prepare the BBFI missionary home for sale. We are thankful for our home in Manta. It will be difficult to say goodbye. Your prayers will help and encourage us.

Update on our Kids

We have posted updates on our website about each of our teen-aged children. Teddy just finished 11thgrade and is working and serving. Carla received a good report on her heart health. Matthew has been fighting through some serious emotional difficulties. Thank you for your prayers for our kids. To see the full post follow this link:

Manta Church Reports

Also on our website find information about recent outreach activities undertaken by the church in Manta. We’re thankful for the church’s commitment to mission and evangelism.

Another post shows some new improvements to the church building in Manta. We are thankful for those who have given for the church building project begun 10 years ago. We will always be grateful for those who have made our missionary partnership a high priority.

If you have any questions or want to communicate with us, we welcome a call or letter.

Please let us know how we can serve you! Phone: 865-340-3579

Updates about our Children

Updates about our Children



Teddy is 17 years-old. He just finished 11th grade. He has been working at our local Cracker Barrel Restaurant for over a year. He is very active in student ministry, music, and other service opportunities at our church. He’s looking forward to taking a mission trip to Nicaragua later this year.



Our daughter Carla is 15 years old. She is shown here with her cardiologist at the University of Virginia Medical Center. Carla just had her cardio check-up, six years after her open-heart surgery. We thank the Lord for her good health. Please pray for her spiritual growth, and for her progress in all areas of life.



Matthew (age 14) has had some emotional difficulties in addition to his physical handicap. This has caused us a lot of concern. Please pray for his physical, emotional, and spiritual well-being. Recently Matthew spent some time in the hospital, and has been receiving counseling and medication that have helped. Prayer is making a difference. Please keep praying for Matthew.

Trip to Ecuador May-June 2018

Trip to Ecuador May-June 2018

Map Florida to Ecuador

Two weeks in Manta

On May 24, I (Tony) will be traveling from Florida to Quito, Ecuador. The next day I will continue traveling to Manta. I will be busy in ministry during my time there, meeting with church leaders and fellow missionaries, preaching and teaching, as well as taking care of family concerns.  I will hold a meeting with the current members of the church, and will give a seminar for prospective members. While there, I may administer baptisms and baby dedications, and probably will have some office hours for counseling. Another important task will be preparing for a visiting missions team that will be going to Manta in July.

My return to the USA is scheduled for June 6. Please pray that this will be an productive time for the church in Manta, and that I will be healthy and get adequate rest while I’m there.

Please pray for our family while I am away. Joy and the kids will be staying with our daughter Lexi and son-in-law Jonathan Taylor and their kids in Altamonte Springs, FL. Grandpa Wille will be staying with his long-time pastor friend in the same city.

Joy’s Mother, Verneta Wille, Now in Heaven

Joy’s Mother, Verneta Wille, Now in Heaven

Ted and Verneta Wille

Verneta Wille

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.

Teddy Serving in Bonsai Ministry

Teddy Serving in Bonsai Ministry

Our son Teddy (age 15) serves 2 afternoons each week in the Bonsai After-School Program at our church. Teddy recently added a new aspect to his duties at Bonsai: teaching the children to play the guitar. To help the kids with practice instruments, Teddy had an extra guitar available, but needed another one. We found out about a new BBFI program to help MK’s with their own ministry endeavors through local church VBS offerings. Soon Teddy had another guitar available, thanks to children’s VBS offerings from the USA.