Barry & Lisa Wils
Barry and Lisa Wils have served as Awana commander and secretary since 2011, and were both involved in Awana before that. Lisa has also worked in Junior Church and VBS at DBC.
Barry was saved at the age of 28, after being raised Catholic in a family of 10 kids. Shortly after his marriage to his first wife, Karen, he came in contact with the Gospel. After a time of searching the Scriptures for himself, he became convinced by the Holy Spirit that he needed to repent and accept Christ as his personal savior. At around the same time, his wife, Karen, who had grown up in an alcoholic home, also came to Christ. Five children were born into the family and they relocated to a parcel of farm land in northern Wisconsin. They were both active in church and Barry also helped in a prison ministry. In 2004, Karen, died suddenly of a heart attack. Barry, a carpenter by trade, continued to work and raise his five children alone.
Lisa was saved at a young age, and grew up in a missionary pastor’s home in Alaska. Upon high school graduation, she left for Bible college in Wisconsin, where she met her future husband, Jesse Armstrong. They were married and then spent a couple of years ministering alongside Lisa’s parents in Alaska; then they sensed God calling them to Russia as missionaries. In 1998 their family of five moved to Irkutsk, Russia, where their fourth son was born. After two terms of missionary work, the family received some sorrowful news. Jesse was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig’s disease. They soon relocated back to the U.S. near Lisa’s family in Gig Harbor. It was at this time that their family came to DBC. Two years later, Jesse went to be with the Lord, leaving Lisa to raise their four boys (age from 8-16).
In God’s providence, Barry and Lisa and their families had attended the same church in Wisconsin some 18 years earlier and had some mutual friends. One of those friends put Barry in contact with Lisa by email, after he requested her mailing address to send a sympathy card. Barry relayed his condolences to the family and offered comfort, having gone through the loss of his spouse five years earlier. The communication didn’t end there, however, and It soon became evident that God was at work. Barry decided to find a job and apartment and move to Gig Harbor, so they could spend time getting to know each other in person. In March of 2010, they got married at DBC.
Although their combined family came about because of grief--a difficult foundation to build on--they continue to experience God’s mercy and grace. They are thankful for God’s leading and sovereignty in their lives. They will soon see the fourth out of their nine children get married, and they have one granddaughter, so far. Their family theme verse has been, “The LORD hath done great things for us; whereof we are glad.” Psalm 126:3