Noel Edwards. Unless you are from the tip of Western North Carolina or East Tennessee, you probably haven’t heard of him. Brother Noel owned a hardware store in Andrews, North Carolina, and was attending Hyatts Creek Baptist Church. He sold his hardware store and moved to Texas for language school. He and his family landed in Campeche, Mexico and he began preaching the Gospel. Eventually, churches were formed and an orphanage opened up.
The four churches that my family was a part of during my childhood supported Brother Edwards. I heard about him all of my life, read his prayer letters, and prayed for him. It wasn’t until I was eighteen and getting ready to leave for college that I got to meet him in person. It was a meeting that I will never forget. That night, Brother Noel preached from Genesis 12 on missions. After the service I spoke to him a great while, and told him my plans about Bible College. He encouraged me not to waste my life. He mentioned a man that he knew who had gone to Bible College, and, after completing his studies, went back to his home and worked but never did any ministry. He ended that story with “What a waste.” Those words stuck in my mind and heart.
Brother Noel was not a large man–physically he was rather short–but he was a spiritual giant. God used him in starting multiple churches and the El Palomar Ranch Children’s Home. He was greatly used there, but his influence for missions is carried out much farther than Campeche, Mexico. He was an encourager to young people. There are many young couples and missionaries that were challenged by Brother Noel. Any fruit that my ministry might produce, Brother Noel will have a part in it.
This post is part 9 in the series “Answering Vision” and is taken from the panel discussion questions from the missions conference at Vision Baptist Church in Alpharetta GA, you can begin this series here.