William McChesney was a missionary with Worldwide Evangelism Crusade in the Congo (Zaire) in the 1960s. Before he went to Africa, “Smiling Bill”, as he was fondly called by his coworkers, wrote a poem that shared his passion for missions:
I want my breakfast served at “Eight,”
with ham and eggs upon the plate.
A well-broiled steak I’ll eat at “One,”
and dine again when day is done.
I want an ultra-modern home
and in each room, a telephone;
soft carpets, too, upon the floors,
and pretty drapes to grace the doors.
A cozy place of lovely things,
like easy chairs with innersprings,
and then I’ll get a small TV—
of course, “I’m careful what I see.”
I want my wardrobe, too, to be
of neatest, finest quality,
with latest style in suit and vest.
Why shouldn’t Christians have the best?
But then the Master I can hear,
in no uncertain voice, so clear,
“I bid you, come and follow me,
the lowly Man of Galilee.
“Birds of the air have made their nest,
and foxes in their holes find rest;
but I can offer you no bed,
no place have I to lay my head.”
In shame I hung my head and cried.
How could I spurn the Crucified?
Could I forget the way He went,
the sleepless nights in prayer He spent?
For forty days without a bite,
alone He fasted, day and night.
Despised, rejected—on He went,
and did not stop till veil was rent.
A Man of sorrows and of grief,
no earthly friend to bring relief—
“Smitten of God,” the prophet said—
mocked, beaten, bruised, His blood ran red.
If He be God and died for me,
no sacrifice too great can be
for me, a mortal man, to make;
I’ll do it all for Jesus’ sake.
Yes, I will tread the path He trod,
no other way will please my God;
so henceforth, this my choice shall be,
my choice for all eternity.
While Bill was in the Congo, civil war broke out.
On this day, November 14th, 1964, Bill, only 28 years old, was captured by Congolese rebels. He was mercilessly beaten and on November 25th, 1964, “Smiling Bill” was killed.
Despite the suffering Bill endured, I am sure he never regretted going on mission for Christ and His gospel.