Read letters from Wes and Rita Tillet
Wesley and Rita Tillett
Wes and Rita Tillet ended their service as mission co-workers for the Presbyterian Church (USA) in August 2011. They are available to speak as their schedule permits. Email them to extend an invitation to speak with your congregation or organization.
Wes and Rita Tillett believe God has a promising future for Lebanon, and they’ve been called to walk with Lebanese believers toward that hopeful tomorrow.
“Part of what touched our hearts about Lebanon is the heartbreak of the civil war, the on-going political turmoil and the dire need for reconciliation,” Wes says. “Our hearts are moved with compassion for this nation. But we are also touched by the enormous potential for a brighter future in Lebanon and the courage of the Lebanese Christians, who are reaching out with Christ’s love to their neighbors.”
The Tilletts are humbled by the call to serve Christ in Lebanon and are gripped by the challenges facing the Lebanese people. “Even more compelling is the opportunity to work shoulder-to-shoulder with our brothers and sisters in Christ as they seek to welcome God’s kingdom of justice and peace into their country,” Rita emphasizes.
Both Wes and Rita have long sensed a call to serve among people who are poor and oppressed. That call has been informed by faithful Christians they have met in their travels to different parts of the world. “Many of God’s servants we have met along the way are our true heroes/heroines in their faith,” Wes says. “We are inspired by their love of God and their commitment to the overlooked and neglected people of this world.”
When they learned about the opportunity in Lebanon, the Tilletts were immediately interested. However, there was still some uncertainty about whether mission service in Lebanon was God’s will for them. Yet over time they felt God’s hand guiding them toward Lebanon, Rita explains. “To make a long story short, considering all the answered prayers and divine appointments and the timing of this opportunity, we felt as though God was practically shouting at us, ‘Don’t be afraid. I am with you. Just do it.’ So here we are.”
Wesley and Rita help our partner, the National Evangelical Synod of Syria and Lebanon, in its goal to strengthen its English offerings and augment its program of teaching the Bible, moral values and ethics, because around the world, learning English is viewed as an important tool for engaging in commerce and acquiring knowledge. Its schools, which are open to students of all religious backgrounds, provide communities a valuable service and function as an important witness to Christianity’s concern for all people. The Tilletts engage students both inside the classroom and in extracurricular activities. They also work with the Presbyterian congregation in Zahle in its children’s, youth and music programs.
As they head toward Lebanon, Wes and Rita are holding firm to the instruction Jesus gave his disciples in John15:5: “Abide in me and I will abide in you and you will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing.”
“If we wish to really do God’s work in our mission service, we can only do it through the power of the Holy Spirit,” Wes says. “And that means trusting not in ourselves, but in God. Sure, we believe God can and will utilize our education and skills and experiences. But these will be secondary aspects of our primary responsibility to ‘abide’ in Christ.”
Both Wes and Rita are natives of Rensselaer, Indiana. Wes earned degrees from Cedarville (Ohio) University and Western Theological Seminary. He has directed family and youth ministries and served as worship leader at Central Presbyterian Church in Lafayette, Indiana, since 2006.
Rita graduated from Grace College in Winona Lake, Indiana, and served for nearly five years as program director for Lafayette (Indiana) Urban Ministry, a program for at-risk children and youth.