Missionaries are sent and mission work is accomplished because, at some point, someone inspired those missionaries to take the teachings of God’s Word seriously. As a result, they gave their whole life to the cause of Christ. Such is the story of Jerry Kidd, who soaked up the teachings of God for the purpose of sharing the Savior with those who need him.
It began in the small Arkansas town of Hope. There was a little church called Unity Baptist Church, and in that church, Jerry Kidd accepted Christ at the age of 12. It was the beginning of the journey in his relationship with Christ — one that is still growing and expanding today.
Throughout his teenage years, Bro. Kidd continued to grow in the faith, and while he was attending Southern State College in Magnolia, he surrendered his life to the ministry. After meeting and marrying his wife, transferring to Central Baptist College and graduating with a Bible degree, Bro. Kidd received his first pastoral position at Eastside Baptist Church in Springhill, La. But this was just the beginning of the Kidds’ ministry.
“In 1967, we felt led to go into mission work in the United States,” said Bro. Kidd. It was called interstate missions, and we became interstate missionaries. We moved to Ft. Walton Beach, Fla., to work with a mission church there, and we were there for five years.”
After having been involved in interstate missions for several years, the Kidds felt God leading them overseas to continue their missions work. They were ready to embark on the journey to foreign missions with God’s leading.
“That year, 1972, we went to the missions committee, but they weren’t sending out missionaries that year,” remembered Bro. Kidd. “So we went to LeTourneau University in Longview, Texas, which was a missionary technology school.”
Bro. Kidd recalls that during their time at LeTourneau, he studied to get his pilot’s license and took courses in auto mechanics, paramedics and FCC (Federal Communications Commission, which regulates all interstate communications). In addition, he earned his HAM license, which is an amateur radio license. On top of these courses and more, he was pastoring Ware Acres Baptist Church (now named Camille Acres).
“In 1973, we were elected to go to Bolivia. We chose Bolivia because of a missionary that was working in Bolivia (Marvin Lloyd) who came and shared with me the need of a missionary pilot in Bolivia. That’s what I was wanting to do and what I felt God was calling me to do, so we made that choice,” said Bro. Kidd.
During 1973, the Kidds were on deputation, raising funds for their ministry. They needed the funds to buy an airplane and get equipment into Bolivia. God provided the funds for their ministry, and on Nov. 8, 1973, they began the drive all the way to Bolivia. It was a three-month journey. They did not arrive at their Bolivian destination until February 8, 1974.
“It’s a story indeed,” quipped Bro. Kidd as he began to tell the perilous tale of their journey to the South American nation:
“Basically, in every country we went through, we were stopped at customs. We had a large freight truck, the kind where the doors raise up in the back, and it was loaded with supplies for us and Marvin Lloyd, who was already living there. So, the truck was loaded, and I also drove a pickup truck that had a 12-foot camper on the back of it. This was where my family lived. We also pulled behind a 16-foot camper for Lloyd and his family!
“So, every border we crossed, they had to inspect us. They’d never seen anything like that, and there were all kinds of complications. They would put locks and guards on the truck. Just going through all the different countries slowed us down.
“The main reason we were slowed down, though, is because our travel was during a fuel crisis. And when we got to Panama, since there was no road from Central America into South America, we had to put our rigs and trucks on a boat and ship them around the coast of South America. But the fuel crisis caused the ships to come to the Panama Canal and just stop. They didn’t have enough fuel to go on through, so they were stopping. It was impossible to get a ship that was going around the coast. We were there for 33 days.
“The problem was, we had 30-day Visas. We were scheduled to leave on the 30th day and fly to Ecuador. The flight was scheduled at 11:30 at night, but it was delayed, so our Visas expired, and they wouldn’t let us leave. Instead of flying out that night, we had to go into town and get an extension, which took three days. Finally, after that, we could leave.
“So, we flew to Quito, Ecuador, and took buses from Ecuador to Peru, where the ship had docked and had our rigs and truck. Then the rainy season began, and the roads were not passable up through the Andes Mountains. We had to put our truck and trailers on a train to carry them to the top of the mountain that borders Peru and Bolivia, where there was a lake. From there, they had an old steamship that we were able to put our things on and take them to Bolivia, where we were able to start driving again.
“Before we were able to start driving, though, we had to stay on top of the flat cars on that train for one week, because they were having a military coup in Bolivia, so we couldn’t go into the country. After that, when we finally got into the country, they took all our things away and put them in customs for weeks until we could get our paperwork done. Finally, we were able to drive down to Santa Cruz, Bolivia, where we were going to live and work.”
After three months of travel delays, the Kidds arrived at their home for the next eight years where the gospel was proclaimed, disciples were made and countless stories were shaped.
In 1982, they came back to the United States on furlough and attended the BMA National Meeting. There Jerry Kidd was nominated as the assistant director of foreign missions. He took the position and moved back to the States with his family to serve in that capacity.
“We had never, in the BMA, had anyone who had specifically given full attention to the foreign missionaries, and so, I began to work with them,” said Kidd. “Through the course of the years, my position changed to director of international missions, and then I transitioned to director of missionary care.”
After 8 years on the mission field and 35 years serving other missionaries, Bro. Jerry is now retired from the Department of Missions and serves on staff at South City Church in Little Rock as the Missional Engagement Pastor.