Who was Bill Wallace of China? For One Day, I Was

There are people in my church who put on a tour in Knoxville, TN, showing where a man named Bill Wallace grew up and pivotal points in his life. The tour includes some re-enactments and this past time, they asked me to fill in for a guy.

I was told, “Tim, we just need you to put on a doctor’s lab coat and read the letter that Dr. Wallace wrote about his desire to be a missionary while working in a Knoxville hospital.”

A few days later I got a more thorough briefing that went something like this: “Tim, we need you to wear the lab coat, read the letter, sit at a desk and pretend to work on the letter as people go by, wear a black suit and read an address to Wallace’s home church, and wear a tee shirt and bandana and lead folks to the train station. Now Jeff usually helps put together the lunches, but we won’t ask you to do that. Of course, somebody’s going to need to help with it.”

What happened was there was another guy who was also supposed to help, but he had a schedule conflict, so I had to pick up the slack. Bottom line: I went from reading a letter to having multiple readings, multiple costume changes, and…choreography (kind of). And I had to help make lunch.

As it turns out, it was a lot of fun. Also, they ended up asking my wife, Angela, to participate, and she always makes everything better.

Really, the biggest headache was me getting a white tee shirt that was presentable. My wife volunteered one of her shirts (it’s really over-sized for her; she can’t wear it). It only kind of looked like a woman’s shirt, but I still couldn’t do it. I wanted to look like Bill Wallace, not a cross dresser.

So what was the point of all of this? I learned a lot about Bill Wallace. He was a guy who could have had wealth, prestige, and a family while helping people as a doctor in Knoxville. Instead, he went to China. He saved lives with his medical skills and helped save souls by sharing the Gospel. When the Communists took over in China, they were distrustful of most foreigners, and as atheists they didn’t like Christians either. Dr. Wallace was taken into custody, tortured, and killed. And he was only there to help people. Bill Wallace was an influential Christian, and I admire him.