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Jerry Hill, pioneering missionary to Central America, dies at 82

Jerry Hill, left, with David Hill, Dan Coker and Kemmel Dunham in Guatemala in 2009. (Photo via kemmelandlisa.blogspot.com)

Jerry Hill, a pioneering missionary to Guatemala and other nations in Central and South America, died Monday, Sept. 12. He was 82.
“Jerry was endeared and loved by many,” said his son-in-law, Mark Barriger, in a message to friends and supporters. Barriger asked believers to keep Hill’s wife, Ann, in their prayers.
A funeral is scheduled for 2 p.m. Thursday, Sept., 15, at the Pleasanton Church of Christ in Texas. Viewing is from 2 to 8 p.m. Wednsday, Sept. 13, at Hurley Funeral Home in Pleasanton. Burial is scheduled for 11 a.m. Friday, Sept. 16, at Seaside Memorial Cemetery in Corpus Christi, Texas, with a military memorium.
“We rejoice in Jerry’s losing his shackles of this physical world and his joining the angels on high with our eternal father,” Barriger said.
Jerry and Ann Hill began working in Latin America in 1959. Jerry Hill attended Abilene Christian College (now Abilene Christian University) in Texas. The West Erwin Church of Christ in Tyler, Texas, supported his work.
The Hills were among the first members of Churches of Christ to plant congregations in Guatemala, a nation that now has more than 40,000 church members, according to church leader Conrado Urrutia. Jerry Hill joined fellow missionary Dan Coker and Guatemalan Christians in 2009 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of Churches of Christ in Guatemala. (See our recent profile of Churches of Christ in Guatemala and Latin America.)
The Hills also were instrumental in planting the first congregations in El Salvador and assisted in mission work in other Latin American nations, including Bolivia, according to “The Encyclopedia of the Stone-Campbell Movement.”

  • Feedback
    Our beloved brother Jerry was instrumental in the conversion of my older Brother Boris, my younger brother Hugo and myself. I was 10 YOA at the time, back in 1959. I accompanied Jerry on several of his missionary visits to small villages in his old VW bug, which he loved so much!:). Jerry, with his gentle and humble spirit and his great smile, touched the lives of thousands of people in my country and in several other countries. Working along him, both in Guatemala and in Mexico, was always inspiring since he was such a man of God, always true to the Word. What a great example! His legacy will be forever!
    Armando Hernandez
    Armando Hernandez
    September, 13 2011

    Thanks, Erik, for this. Jerry was a great man.
    I wish more people knew these missionary heroes. The stories of men like Jerry Hill should be well known in our churches.
    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer
    Tim Archer
    September, 13 2011

    I got the following message from Rick Harper, executive director of <a href=”http://www.healthtalents.org” rel=”nofollow”>Health Talents International</a>, a church-supported medical ministry:
    “Many of you will know, or know the name, Jerry Hill. Jerry moved to Guatemala in 1959 as one of the first missionaries from the churches of Christ. He and several others laid a foundation that blesses Health Talents and those we serve to this day.

    “Jerry was the inaugural speaker for our Leadership Evangelism Seminars at Clinica Ezell in 2004. When I asked him how an agriculture major from Abilene Christian ended up in the mission field, he said ‘Someone had to, and I could.’
    “He recently finished a book on his work in Guatemala and other parts of Latin America and as soon as it available, I will circulate that information.”

    Erik Tryggestad
    September, 13 2011

    Someone has said that “Missions is better caught than taught.” I caught the missions bug from Jerry Hill. My encounter with Jerry in 1978 in Abilene provided a launch point for the trajectory that has set me on a lifelong course. My exposure to Jerry was powerful because he had such an unflinching devotion to God’s will, a deep compassion for the human predicament, a clear vision of how to reconcile men to God, and an articulate expression of the gospel in the Latin American context. The English and Spanish language together lack all of the superlatives that could be attributed to this great man of God and his partner, Ann, in the years of service they have provided. Jerry’s greatness was defined by his humility, obedience to God, and tireless gospel labors. In my case, he impacted by life deeply and sweetly because of his emulation of Christ Jesus and the grace he showed me as a young, inexperienced man in allowing me to serve alongside him as partner and friend. He now rests from his labors, but there are countless souls who will enter into glory along with him thanks to his efforts. No doubt, the waves of influence which emanate from the Hill’s life and work will wash over thousands for many years to come to the honor and glory of God.
    Bill Richardson
    September, 13 2011

    Here’s a link to Jerry Hill’s <a href=”http://www.hurleyfuneralhome.com/services.asp?page=odetail&amp;id=1525&amp;locid=” rel=”nofollow”>obituary</a>. Memorial gifts may be made to Medina Children’s Home in Texas.
    Erik Tryggestad
    September, 14 2011

    When godly men and women go home, it hurts down here (on earth). I was sadden to hear of Jerry Hill’s demise. Jerry was a good and spiritual man. I met Jerry in one of my trips to Mexico more than twenty years ago. He was a gentle and kind man. To me, Jerry was a missionary’s missionary model. His love for the people of Central America will live on in them because of his example. My prayers for his wife, Ann and for his family. Thank you for sharing him with us.
    Miguel Zuniga
    Laredo church of Christ
    Laredo, Texas
    Miguel Zuniga
    September, 16 2011

    Was asked by Health Talents International and Mission Training and Resource Center to be the Administrator completing an ongoing six year project in Las Cruces El Peten Guatemala in the late 70’s. Joe and Jane Lee and Ann and Jerry Hill were pillars working there. People of GREAT faith and dedication to seeing through Our Lord’s work! I was in Jerry and Ann’s home in Guatemala and Jane Lee and I did many a class/seminar at the church in Guatemala. World Vision asked me to work for them in Honduras, but I felt obligated to return to Mission Training and Resource Center in Pasadena, CA. once my project was finished having completed construction of a Medical Clinic in El Peten. Brother J.C.Reed kept the radio broadcasting buzzing with the True and Living Word in the jungle of Northern Guatemala. Great to learn that Jerry remained faithful to the end. Bless him and his heavenly rewards! My deepest condolences to Ann and the family! Beautiful memories, loving thoughts, Anna Marie Valadez II 8531 W. Mariners Drive #78 Stockton, CA. 95219. Having served as missionary to Guatemala 1978-1979 and surviving a plane crash while there, I understand full well how trust in a God who truly cares for His own and has prepared our home in heaven remains our saving grace. Peace divine to all those in His Name!!
    Anna Marie Valadez-Stolte
    September, 16 2011

Filed under: Breaking News News Extras

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