One of ten children, Bob quit school after the 8th grade to help care for his family during the difficult times. At the age of 17, Bob joined the Air Force and was stationed at Clark Air Force Base in Manila, Philippine Islands – a decision that would change his life.
Becuase of the work of missionaries Frank Hooge, Elmer Gullion and Joe Vella in Manila, Bob realized he was a sinner and trusted Christ. God burdened his heart to reach the Philippines with the Gospel, so after his discharge he entered Baptist Bible College in Springfield, MO for training. While in school, he met and married Helen Johnston. Within four years from the time he left the Philippines as a soldier of the United States, Bob and Helen returned as soldiers of Jesus Christ.
The Hughes family began to work in Cebu City –a busy college town steeped in Catholicism. In 1957, they met in a rented building and soon began Bible Baptist Church. The ministry grew rapidly as a result of Bob’s creative ideas – a radio broadcast called “What the Bible Says,” a television ministry, and extension classes held throughout the surrounding area. The radio broadcast brought him great exposure and he became known as “Mr. What the Bible Says.” Because of their strong evangelistic outreach, by 1975 twenty thousand people were attending the overall ministry. One national pastor said, “We went because he went!’
Later God burdened his heart with the awareness of the need for the people to have a copy of the Bible. His vision was to print a million red New Testaments to be distributed. However, in the midst of all these ministries, Bob was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1975. He returned to the States for treatment. En route to the airport on what would turn out to be his last day in the Islands, he passed by a man on the corner reading one of the little red New Testaments. Following his death, the dream of raising the funds for the million Bibles was realized.
Even though he died in the prime of his life, Bob’s God-sized vision continues today. Bob Hughes’ life prayer was that God would do such a great work that people would one day say, “That’s not Bob Hughes’ work; it had to be of God!
As a young man, Wilhelm was sent to Calcutta for the propagation of Christian knowledge and belief. However, ill-health and other difficulties hampered his work and he was sent back to Europe, looked upon by many as a failure. But the zeal to serve mankind and his Savior wouldn’t allow him to quit. This time, he applied to the London Missionary Society as a missionary to South India.
When Wilhelm arrived in the city of Travancore, he found a harvest ripe for the Gospel. A native of Travancore, Vedamanikyam, had met a missionary during a travel north. He spent several weeks with the missionary, was saved and baptized, and trained in the Word. Once he arrived back home, he became a bold evangelist and gathered a small group of believers. Wilhelm was able to take these Christians and form the first church in Travancore. He continued his work in Travancore for many years, starting a large number of churches.
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