Only one day before Easter, a man who most of you may not have heard of died suddenly.
Man knows not his time.
I only got to talk once with Wayne Dillard, a personable Vineyard Christian Fellowship missionary who founded something called Baghdad Prayer Patrol. I wrote here about how he was living in southeast Asia several years ago when he got this idea that maybe American soldiers would not be getting so many setbacks in battle if there were people praying for them. So he formed a “prayer patrol” of thousands of volunteers willing to pray for Baghdad daily neighborhood by neighborhood. When I posted a piece on it well over two years ago, it got tons of response. I think, too, that he chose - unwittingly - to start the prayer offensive at about the time the U.S. was mounting its now-famous “surge” which turned the tide over there. Wayne seemed to have great fun running graphs showing the decreasing number of deaths in Iraq.
Since then, he founded offshoots, such as Afghan Prayer Patrol and Troop Prayer Patrol just for U.S. soldiers serving anywhere. I wish I had the data on how many people had signed up to get these emails but it sounded like a lot. It morphed into a huge ministry - although apparently with little financial recompense - so at best it must have been a huge time drain on someone who had other full-time work to do.
His Web site, which is here, had all sorts of ministries going. He told those of us on his email list a bit about his life; how his family moved to New Delhi and then, more recently, to Colorado Springs. I was always going to follow up with him what they were doing back in the States but - too late now - he died suddenly of heart failure Saturday night, April 3. His wife, Kathleen, and college-aged daughters Jessica and Julia are no doubt shocked out of their minds.
Here is a YouTube video talking about one of his passions: the care and feeding of Christian missionaries, whom he felt were some of the most neglected, forgotten and misunderstood people on Earth. There you can hear his voice. Wish I knew more details but he seemed like a very humble guy who left this Earth way too soon.
- Julia Duin, religion editor