Christmas is an emotional time of the year for Bill Wilson, but he helps bring hope to thousands of poverty-stricken children every year. Matthew Murray met him
There aren’t many men who would choose to spend Christmas Eve on a street corner sitting in the cold. Then again, there aren’t many men like Bill Wilson. Having been abandoned on the street by his mother as a 12-year-old, he makes the annual pilgrimage to the same spot each December to reflect, pray and thank God for rescuing his life. Bill, now 69, has every reason to be thankful.
Having launched Metro World Child in gangland New York, he now runs one of the world’s biggest Sunday schools, reaching more than 175,000 children each week throughout the world. The walking miracle has cheated death on several occasions. Having been shot in the mouth, hit with a brick, stabbed, beaten-up as well as surviving three plane crashes, Bill sees Christmas as a time of saying thank you to God. “On Christmas Eve I get on a plane, go to Florida and sit all night in exactly the same spot where my mother left me,” he recalls. “She told me to wait and that’s exactly what I did – for three days. All I could do was try to be brave and choke back the tears that would fill up my eyes. Mum never came back.
“Thousands of people walked passed me. I started to cry and stutter but eventually one Christian man stopped, got out of his truck and got me some food and some water. Before I knew it I was in a church van going to a Christian camp. I became a Christian and the rest is history.”