Fomer Executive Director – Remembering Bill

Fomer Executive Director – Remembering Bill

Who is Bill Irwin?

Well, his fifteen minutes of fame came in 1990  when Bill and his Seeing Eye dog, Orient, set out to hike the entire Appalachian Trail in early March in Georgia to end up in North Central Maine that same November.   You can read more about him at his website www.billirwin.org.

But it is his testimony that is what is really important and as Bill says in most of his presentations,  that is the reason that God chose him for this arduous task.  “I was the most unlikely candidate for this job of anyone I ever met; I am so clumsy that even when I was much younger I had trouble walking fifty feet without stumbling.  And it is this awkwardness  that gets the attention of everyone I met then and even now, twenty three years after this adventure with my Lord Jesus Christ!”

And his disciples asked him, saying, Master, who did sin, this man, or his parents, that he was born blind? Jesus answered, Neither hath this man sinned, nor his parents: but that the works of God should be made manifest in him.”  John 9:2-3

Pastor’s Comment – Bill Irwin speaks through brokenness, from a life of bad choices, through much pain including the recent recovery from terminal, stage 4 prostate cancer (a story of miracles and the power of prayer) but he gives Jesus Christ the credit in the power of His love.
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Bill Irwin was not born blind but became blind instantly and painlessly at the age of 28 so that the power of God could be seen in his life to give those that are hurting encouragement and hope.

Bill alone with his famous dog guide, Orient, is the first and only blind person to thru-hike the entire Appalachian Trail 2,169 miles from Georgia to Maine without the assistance of a GPS or a sighted person.  The significance of this feat is that without God’s help it would have been impossible. You are probably asking yourself the same question that Bill is asked most frequently. Why would a blind person even think of hiking the Appalachian Trail?

Here is Bill’s comment. “For 26 years I was an alcoholic and lived my life out of control. I never even thought of God much less sought a personal relationship with Him.  This is how it is now.  Through my youngest son’s surrender to cocaine addiction, I was able to get a good look at my life the way God saw it and it was not a pretty picture. I was to the place in my addiction that I was drinking around the clock and thought that I would die without it.

God dramatically and completely delivered me from the desire to drink. Two months later He delivered me from my five-pack a day cigarette addiction. God provided these miracles without my asking for help or even having a desire to be delivered. Then through the love of a man that He put into my life I was led to a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Then I learned that He changed me and helped me overcome all the things that prevented me from being a happy person. I experienced the peace and joy that only comes when one is willing to surrender and allow Jesus Christ to become first in his or her life.

The Trail was a pilgrimage to share God’s love with all those whom I met while hiking. The book Blind Courage, is an account of my experiences and shares the plan of salvation with everyone who reads it. It is not my book, it is God’s book and, after you read it you will understand why.”

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After our hike and with over thirty-five years of medical experience  in upper management in a large corporation I was called to go back to graduate school to become a Christian counselor.  At the end of that program I thought I was to hang a shingle on my door and see clients from 8 AM to 5 PM five days a week.  But that is not what God wanted me to do, He had a much better plan.  I was to go out in the world and speak to large audiences and teach them, (many thousands at a time), what I had learned in school.  By doing that in an office I would have never had time to reach a thousand in my lifetime, let alone a thousand at a time.

Then in 2000  I was working with a young man in Maine, (where I currently live), and he wanted to begin a ministry setting captives of relational and sexual brokenness free from their habitual secret sin.  Since I struggled with this very issue before god delivered me from its bondage, I felt led to join him in this pursuit.  In 2006 the man who founded Free Indeed left the ministry, and I accepted it’s directorship; The rest is history!

A word from the Board Of Directors

Bill, thank you for your service to the Lord, the brethren and countless people you have touched.  We miss you and look forward to the day we are reunited with our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ .

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