Did you ever see a motorcade go whizzing by and think, ‘I wonder who that important person was?’ Or secretly dream of being so special that they would shut down roads for you. On a cold winter day in early March, 2003 police cars escorted us through Cedar Rapids, Iowa and toward my Dad’s hometown of Shellsburg. It was a cold winter day with snow still in the harvested corn fields. The Sherriff’s vehicles would stop the traffic at each intersection as we silently and quickly drove past.
People had gathered from around the world to celebrate the life of Bill Hyde, from Shellsburg, IA: A town of only a few hundred people.
In 1978, Bill and Lyn Hyde were appointed as missionaries to the Philippines by the Southern Baptist International Mission Board.
At first Bill taught MKs (missionary kids) at Faith Academy in Manila. But Bill had another passion — church planting — and during the latter years of his ministry in the Philippines he and Lyn moved to Mindanao and focused on that passion. Mindanao is a place associated with danger, civil war and unending strife in the Philippines.
It is known that he facilitated the planting of 600 churches. In January of 2003, just weeks before his death, he hosted a Pioneer Evangelism conference. With 3,700 participants, it was probably the largest such conference ever held. In which thousands of laypeople were trained for church planting and evangelism.
Hyde did that by training pastors and laypeople, equipping others to plant churches, rather than have those efforts depend on him or a relative few. Out of the January conference, 1,086 new church planting teams were formed. He had plans for training 150 Filipinos as trainers the next year and, through them, training another 7,000 laypeople in church planting.
He was a big man with a big vision.
On March 4, 2003 Bill went to pick up another missionary family airport when he was killed by Islamic terrorists. The bomb was placed directly behind Bill, who had just returned from a Muslim area of Mindanao that day. It will never be known if he was followed there, or if it was random targeting. In the bomb blast, Bill along with 21 others were killed and more than 150 wounded, including Barbara Stevens and her two infant children, whom were co-workers that Bill had gone to the airport to pick up.
The bombing was likely conducted by the MILF (Moro Islamic Liberation Front) and JI (Jemaah Islamiah) terrorists who are all linked with al-Qaeda.
William “Bill” Hyde, my father, was a great inspiration and model for my life as a teacher and effective trainer of church leaders. He lived and worked among those who desired to kill him and showed no fear. Without fear of man, he served in dangerous places. With the fear of God, he lived his life seeking always to be in the will of God to accomplish his divine purposes. His life demonstrated a willingness to remain in the perfect will of God no matter what sacrifices or burdens he would have to bear. His death as a martyr demonstrated the way he lived his life and gave witness to the Lord Jesus Christ. He is survived by his wife, who remains a missionary in the Philippines, two adult sons, their wives, and two grandchildren.
He never had a chance to hold or play with his grandchildren or enjoy a retirement.
Lyn Hyde remained in the Philippines training Filipinos to be missionaries in foreign countries for another six years and retired in late 2009 after 31 years in the Philippines. Since retiring, she has spent much of her time ministering in Cambodia with her grandchildren.
The Hyde’s were the only Southern Baptist Missionaries who were native born Iowan’s sent out from Iowa. For Southern Baptist Churches in Iowa, their annual mission offering is named after Bill and Lyn Hyde.