Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Wednesday Promo- Darda Burkhart

Darda Burkhart grew up in Vancouver and Victoria, B.C., then married and moved to Southern California. She and her husband pastored churches there for twenty-five years until his death. She worked at Avery Label, now Avery Dennison, in the Market Research Department until she retired. In 2005, she and her second husband moved to Lynden to be near family. She has three sons, four grandchildren and four great grandchildren. Darda is a member of North County Christ the King church in Lynden.
Her hobbies are needlework, reading and traveling. She is also a member of Women Writing the West.

What caused me to write the book, Forging Ahead for God?
It actually was suggested 19 years ago just after my father’s death in his hometown of Victoria, B.C. Canada. People said to me, “You ought to write a book about your father.” I wrote letters to many on his mailing list to inform them of his passing, and asked that they tell me what his life had meant to them, or specific examples of interacting with him. I received several replies and kept them in case the opportunity to write a book came about. I did not feel qualified to take such a project on and did not have enough information to do so then.

I moved back up to the Pacific Northwest from Southern California in 2005. In early 2007, I joined a creative writing class at our church. One day, the teacher asked me if I had ever thought about writing a book and I replied, “No, I haven’t” I wondered what I could write about. Even though my life has been interesting, it wasn’t worth a book.

Just before I moved north, I was reconnected with a man with whom I had lost touch. He had worked with Dad for many years. He knew a man in Abbotsford who also knew Dad, who said, “Someone should write a book about Percy Wills,” to which the first man said, “His daughter lives in Lynden.” That’s how the project began.

What in my research said, “I have to get that in the book.”
The book is my father’s biography, but there were sections of time that I had little, or no knowledge about. My mother’s sister was a good source of information of his early life, but during the last forty years while I lived in Southern California, I had only sketchy information. Dad did not talk about the scope, or the results, of his mission work, preferring to let people know how God had provided funds, and about fellow missionaries who were capable and compatible for the difficult field on the west coast of Vancouver Island, B.C.

That lack was miraculously supplied in 2008, when I went to the mission base in Esperanza, B.C. On the way, I visited friends at the Coastal Mission base in Chemainus, B.C. As I was leaving, the director, Roy Getman, handed me three legal size folders of Dad’s writings that I did not know existed. They were dated 1977, and he had kept them all those years. Among those writings were anecdotes of special times in Dad’s life and during his work that I was able to incorporate into the body of the book. With that information, I was able to adequately cover the latter part of his life until his death.

Are you working on anything now?

No. I’m working on getting this book into the market place where I can. At this point, I don’t have any idea for another book.

About the book.

“Forging Ahead for God” is the biography of my father, Percy Wills, who was the pioneer missionary to the White Man, the First Nations people, and the coastal folk who lived along the rocky shores of the west coast of Vancouver Island, B.C., Canada. First, by canoe, then by a 32-ft. boat, and later a 50-ft. boat, he sailed the treacherous waters of that area nicknamed, “The Graveyard of the Pacific.”

He was a visionary, a man of great faith, who saw the tremendous needs of that isolated area and stepped out to be the hands and feet of God to help the people. Neither ethnicity, religion, education nor position, had any meaning to him. He served them all equally over a period of forty years to provide for their needs.

His name is still remembered and revered by those who knew and loved him.

Or, as the back cover of the book reads, “Have you ever tried trusting God for all of your needs, including food, housing, safety, and your very existence? Most of us haven’t, but Percy Wills has, and this book shows how—time and time again—God comes through when His people turn to Him in faith.

In this book, you’ll experience adventures that include:

Beginning life as an itinerant missionary, he started out on foot to visit people in his area until God surprisingly provided a horse and then a saddle for it.
At the start of winter, the cupboard was bare and he had no warm clothes or money. As he turned the situation over to God, a farmer knocked on the door to ask if he would come work for him.
Wills faced seemingly insurmountable challenges in relying on God alone to provide for himself, his ailing wife, and their two small children in an isolated land.

He often said he did not have great faith—he had faith in a great God. Join the Wills family and fellow missionaries in experiencing a lifetime of hair-raising adventures—and God’s faithfulness.


Anonymous said...

Darda, It is so wonderful that you've written this family history. So much is lost when people don't write it down!

I enjoyed meeting you at WWW! We'll have to get together soon.

Your "neighbor" in Mt. Vernon,

Helen Hardt said...

I've always wanted to write my family's history. What a wonderful tribute to your father!

Lauri said...

Wow! What a tribute to your father! Congrats and well done.

Alice Trego said...

What a great life your father had, Darda. Your book sounds like a wonderful read. I'll have to put it on my TBR list :)

Good to have seen you in LA with WWW again!

And great interview, Paty!