hristy Wilson’s first contact with making disciples came even before his first words, his first steps, or his first friendships. His childhood home in Persia (now known as Iran) was a perpetual showcase displaying God’s heart for disciple making. His parents served as missionaries in Tabriz for two decades, and Christy’s heart for God and for making disciples quickly grew. When Christy was just five years old, Pastor Stefan Huviar, a beloved Nestorian evangelical pastor who labored alongside Christy’s father in Tabriz, asked Christy what he wanted to do when he grew up. Christy had frequently heard his parents praying for Afghanistan, an unreached country to the east. He knew that this country, approximately the size of Texas, didn’t have even one Christian.
“I want to be a missionary to Afghanistan,” Christy informed Pastor Huviar.
“Well,” the pastor responded, “missionaries aren’t allowed in Afghanistan.”
“That’s why I want to be one there,” Christy immediately replied. And that is exactly what Christy did for more than two decades.
Billy Graham once noted, “J. Christy Wilson will go down in history as one of the great and courageous missionaries for the gospel in the twentieth century.” Among many other things, he helped launch what became the triennial Urbana missions conference; pioneered Christian work in Afghanistan when others thought it impossible, entering the country as one of a few Christians in a nation of approximately 12 million Muslims; taught private English lessons to the crown prince of Afghanistan; founded a mission that remains fruitful to this day; reintroduced the biblical idea of leveraging one’s profession for the kingdom of God with the term tent making; and faced danger on numerous occasions.
When Christy was fourteen, his mother and three siblings returned to the United States while his father remained in Persia for three more years. Christy enrolled at Lawrenceville School in New Jersey, graduating as valedictorian in 1940. He then studied at Princeton University, where he was captain of the varsity track team, and then graduated from Princeton Theological Seminary.
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