I inherited a connection with Bill as part of the package when I joined Operation World back in the mid-1990s. How much I learned from him and his friend and colleague Mike O’Rear in those years – about mapping, about databases, about research, about being a Kingdom worker, and about being a man of God.
The connection naturally persisted over the decades as the relationship between GMI and OW has always been a close one. And for that I was thankful in ways that extended far beyond the shop talk. I had the privilege of hosting Bill in England during his occasional visits, even as I had the pleasure of staying with him in Colorado Springs. His input and advice to OW throughout the years has been invaluable.
Probably the most profound memory is also the most recent. Operation World was moving out – reluctantly but necessarily – from Bulstrode, its home of almost 40 years and into a future unknown. The team had dispersed leaving only two of us as full time team members, but without any confirmation of where we were going to be based in the months and years to come and with a mountain of unfinished tasks. Morale was pretty low. Almost out of the blue, Bill offered his assistance in whatever needed doing. We asked him to take responsibility for packing up and labelling decades worth of books and files that OW had accumulated. It was a dusty, sweaty, heavy, and somewhat monotonous job that took a couple of days, but Bill did it with gusto and joy, and blessed us incredibly in those final few days of our time there – with his prodigious amount of hard work, but also with his encouragement and friendship during a time of major transition. One of Apple’s early company mantras was “Everyone sweeps the floors” and Bill was a living example of that to us. Christlike servant-heartedness and genuine friendship is perhaps an even better way to describe it.
He will be missed by us, but we look forward to a joyful reunion one day!
Jason Mandryk, on behalf of the Operation World team