Genuine Heroes // Positively Speaking // Mark Wilson

Recently, I had the privilege of meeting some genuine heroes. These folks are not rich and
famous. They have never been on television. They are not champions of any sport. They are not
on the cover of any magazine. Yet – in my book, they are the greatest heroes in the world.

Unfortunately, our society has lifted up the wrong people as role models. A while back, a large
group of elementary age children were asked to list their heroes. Guess who made the top ten?
Sports figures, musicians, and actors.

Certainly, there are some sports figures, musicians, and actors who are worthy to serve as role
models for the children of America. Kurt Warner and Isaac Bruce of the Los Angeles Rams, for
instance, are tremendous examples of faith, courage and character.

True heroism, however, goes far beyond fame and ability. Mike Tyson, for instance, is a gifted
boxer with immediate name recognition – but his antics prove that he is certainly no hero. He
might be strong on the outside – but he sure seems like an internal weakling.

The heroes I met recently are missionaries. I discovered these wonderful people while on a
speaking engagement at a retirement village in Brooksville, Florida.

Rebecca Bibby is just like Mother Theresa. She has invested her life in serving the poorest of the
poor in India. Although she is far past “retirement” age, she is not interested at all in “hanging up
her hat.” Instead, she enthusiastically shared her vision of helping more children. “The war
closed the doors for me to go back home (to India) this fall,” she said, “but I’m going back as
soon as I can!”

Rosemary Maddox served for many years in Sierra Leone. Her entire life has been an investment
in helping others. I asked for her autograph. Although embarrassed, she fulfilled my request.
Her nephew, Greg Maddox, is a major league baseball pitcher. People ask him for autographs all
the time. He’s a great guy – but I think Rosemary is the greater Maddox.

Grace and Bob Duda were missionaries to Zambia. They are the most tenderhearted people I’ve
ever met. Although Bob is very ill with Parkinson’s Disease, they remain full of hope, faith, and
optimism.

I overheard Grace say, “When God wants to do something special, he starts with a difficulty. When He wants to do something extraordinary, he starts with an impossibility!”

Extraordinary things have certainly been accomplished through these inspiring individuals. It is,
indeed, an honor to call them friends – and heroes!

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