I first met Preacher Bill at Grace Baptist Church in Wilmington, NC. He preached a message I have never forgotten… ” Jeroboam, Rehoboam, and all the Boam Boys” at the IFFB Conference. What a great meeting that was! I was a new convert, and I think it was about 1966 or 1967. He literally ‘stood head and shoulders’ above most everyone. I was impressed with his gentle, genuine demeanor, and his kind personal interest in me and my wife Jonnie. At the time I did not know that one day he would become our pastor in New Bern for the next 46 plus years.
In the early 1970’s after meeting missionaries using aircraft, hearing of needs, I was interested in seeing someone start an Aviation Ministry in a fundamental Baptist mission, or college. I had talked with a mission board and a Bible college… they were interested but did not feel that they wanted the undertaking.
On a quiet Sunday afternoon I called Pastor Bill at home… I had heard that he had a Piper Cherokee 235 aircraft, and being a pilot and flight instructor I wanted to ask him about it, and how he was using it. We had a great time talking about the Lord and flying. As we talked I mentioned my burden about training missionary pilots… missionaries that wanted to use an aircraft in very remote parts of the world, also to be able to support them with aircraft parts, and assist them at times on the field with maintenance and flying.
He was INTERESTED! He asked if I could come to New Bern and share that burden with the men on a Tuesday in a WWNTBM Board. meeting. I readily agreed… and after meeting with them a couple of times, Pastor Wingard asked if we would pray about coming to New Bern to start an aviation ministry, and said “that the man with the burden would be the best man for the job”. I said yes I would pray… but I felt unqualified to do that myself. After much prayer and some opposition from you know who… we said yes we would do so if we passed the Board’s examination. We did so in November of 1973, moved to New Bern in September of 1974 and Mission Aeroservices was born. We have seen miracle after miracle, even amid times of testing, and God’s faithful hand of supply. If it had not been for my big brother, Pastor Bill Wingard, I might never had gone into full time service, and might have missed the LORD.