Hilda Johnecheck Duewel
Introduced to missions through her local church and an interdenominational camp in her home state of Michigan, Hilda Duewel developed an interest in overseas witness while still a child. Then in 1958, she began to sense God leading her to become personally involved in a weekend missions emphasis at her church, with guest speaker Dr. William Gillam of One Mission Society (OMS). Receiving the OMS Outreach, the mission magazine, challenged her to act.
With several years of office experience as secretary to the county agricultural agent in Boyne City, Michigan, she applied for OMS homeland service. In June 1959, she was assigned to the international headquarters then located in Los Angeles. During the next several years, she served at various times as automatic typewriter operator, cashier, and secretary to the treasurer, and for three years secretary to Dr. Gillam, the vice-president.
From 1964 to 1982, Hilda served as executive secretary to Dr. Eugene Erny and Dr. Wesley Duewel during their terms as President of OMS. When Dr. Duewel was appointed the special assistant to the president for evangelism and intercession, she continued to serve in his office as he coordinated the mission-wide Decade of Harvest and wrote 10 major books. Her responsibilities included assisting with the preparation of book manuscripts, mailing out thousands of books each year, and handling details of his speaking engagements.
Hilda has been involved in several overseas ministries through participation in Men for Missions witnessing trips to Colombia, Ecuador, and Haiti. The autumn of 1983, she assisted Dr. and Mrs. Duewel on a two-month assignment in India and visited OMS ministries in Spain and France while en route home.
For years, both in Los Angles and Indianapolis, she was involved in her local church, teaching Sunday school and VBS classes, directing Christian Youth Crusader groups, serving on leadership training committees and church boards, and counseling in city-wide evangelistic rallies.
In early 2009, Dr. Duewel wrote: “God gave Betty and me to each other in 1939, and He gave us nearly 69 years together. Early last year, He took Betty to Himself…and I am proving the truth of Genesis 2:18: ‘It is not good for the man to be alone.’ I realize that God can begin planning for us before we realize it.”
So it was at God’s guidance that Hilda and Wesley had a beautiful but simple “family” wedding on December 27, 2008, in the small “Duewel Memorial Prayer Chapel” (in honor of his parents) at the OMS headquarters in Greenwood. God gave them seven precious years serving together, until Wesley entered heaven on March 5, 2016.
Hilda says, “Since I began work with OMS in June 1959, I have experienced peace, knowing this is God’s appointed place of service.” She continues to assist with Wesley’s autobiography and other unpublished writings, handling inquiries and processing orders for the books, as well as day-to-day secretarial responsibilities related to the literature ministry through Duewel Literature Trust, Inc. One or more of Dr. Duewel’s 10 major books have been published in 58 language editions, with a worldwide circulation of more than 2.5 million books.