Beloved Iowa Mission Volunteer Dies in Nigeria
Jalingo, Nigeria, June 12, 2008--United Methodists in Nigeria and Iowa are mourning the death of Ron Wilmot, a Volunteer in Mission who died in Jalingo on June 9 while doing the Lord's work in a place he loved, surrounded by people he admired.
A retired science teacher from Akron, Iowa, Mr. Wilmot had come to Nigeria every year for seven years as an individual Volunteer in Mission on behalf of a partnership between the Iowa and Nigeria Annual Conferences.
Beverly Nolte, chair of the Iowa Nigeria Partnership, reported that on Monday, June 9, as a group was unloading a container filled with Ingathering kits, Ron felt ill. He was taken to the local government hospital where he suffered a heart attack and died. The news of his death quickly reached Iowa via satellite phone and was conveyed to his wife and family in Akron.
Ron had just traveled to Nigeria on May 18 and planned to stay until August 2, working with rural villages to dig wells and install solar refrigerators and solar panels at the various mission sites. His wife, Meriele, was to leave with an Iowa team headed for Nigeria on June 13.
The Rev. Clinton Rabb, head of the Volunteers in Mission Office at the General Board of Global Ministries, paid tribute to Ron Wilmot and his commitment to mission. "Ron Wilmot personified the loyalty and love that characterizes individual volunteers in mission," he said. "He worked hard on behalf of the gospel of Jesus Christ and in serving people in the name of Christ. The VIM community joins his family and friends in Nigeria and Iowa in thanking God for his life and witness."
Ron wrote a weekly journal which is on the iaumc.org website (click on Missions and Iowa Nigeria Partnership). Last week he and Ronald Mangey, who had accompanied him, installed a satellite telephone for the episcopal office in Jalingo.
The United Methodists of Nigeria loved Wilmot, according to Ms. Nolte, "because he worked alongside them, getting dirty and sweaty helping them have a better life. He liked to attend rural and remote churches, coming unannounced and without fanfare."
The Iowa conference plans to set up a memorial fund in Wilmot's name.
Date posted: Jun 12, 2008