David Wilmshurst, or ‘O.D.’, as he would become known to generations of Gindiri students, was born on 21 August 1914.
He grew up in Croydon, where his parents were members of West Croydon Baptist Church. It was through Isaiah 6:8 — ‘I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for Us? Then I said, Here am I! Send me’ — that the Lord called David into missionary service, and he travelled to Nigeria as an SUM (Sudan United Mission) missionary in 1940, soon after the outbreak of the Second World War.
After a couple of years, he settled in Gindiri, in what is now Plateau State, where his senior colleagues included Mr Bristow and Mr Farrant.
Connie Brand, by now his fiancée, travelled to Nigeria in 1944 and they were married at Gindiri the following year. Frank Ware was the best man. In 1950 the Boys’ Secondary School (BSS) was founded. David was its first principal, and later warden of the Gindiri site.
Through BSS, David had an immense influence on a rising generation of young men who would be among the leaders of the nation following its independence in 1960.
The vision was to equip them spiritually, physically and academically for the years to come. They became doctors, military men, scientists (especially biologists), politicians, businessmen, agriculturists and lawyers.
Many of them remember David fondly and with great honour to this day. After a time heading a new Bible school at Boi, just off the plateau, David and Connie with their five children retired from missionary service in 1963.
David passed into glory on 28 April 2016. Three weeks later a wonderful thanksgiving service was held at Purley Baptist Church. Among the hymns sung was ‘May the Mind of Christ my Saviour’, the official hymn of BSS and of the Old Students’ Association.
Two days later, there was a well attended memorial service at the Church of Christ in Nigeria headquarters church, in Jos. We give glory to God for such a life.
This obituary is used by kind permission of Pioneers UK