Jason Hill has a Bachelor of Sciences in Biology and Chemistry from Ouachita Baptist University (OBU) in Arkadelphia, AR and is pursuing his Masters of Arts in Missiology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS) in Louisville, KY and a Masters of Arts in Linguistics through the Graduate Institute of Applied Linguistics (GIAL) in Dallas, TX. He joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in September 2014 and he and his family are serving as Bible translators in Papua New Guinea (PNG) with the aim of translating the Bible into one of the remaining 300+ languages in PNG without a Bible. He and his wife, Jennifer, met and married while they were students at OBU. They now have two sons, Josiah (born March 2013) and Isaiah (born September 2015). Jason grew up in the rural area outside Cabot, AR, and he enjoys hunting, cycling, disc golf, woodworking, triathlon, and almost anything outdoors.
My Spiritual Journey
I was born and raised in Cabot, AR where I was privileged to have been brought up in a Christian family. I learned of my need for Christ at a very early age and was saved when I was not yet six years old and baptized shortly thereafter. During my junior high years, I wandered away from God, but He was faithful and never let me wander too far. At the end of my 9th grade year, I felt God tugging me into a deeper relationship with him. One night at a revival service at Oak Grove Missionary Baptist Church, I felt a clear and definitive “calling” into career ministry. I surrendered to the ministry and preached my first sermon at the ripe old age of 14.
I graduated from Cabot High School in 2006 and went to Ouachita Baptist University to study Biology and Chemistry. While my original intentions were simply to obtain a degree that would allow me to support myself in the event that I became a bi-vocational pastor, sometime during my studies at OBU I lost focus on my calling into ministry and began seeing my science degree as the “ends” rather than the “means.” During my first year at OBU, I met and was fortunate enough to begin dating a beautiful young woman. During our sophomore year, she signed up for a mission trip to India and–since it just wouldn’t be right for her to go halfway around the world to a third-world country without me–I signed up too! I’m not sure that my motives were entirely right, but God clearly had orchestrated it all for His glory. Despite being miserable for most of the trip (it reached 125F!) and suffering heat exhaustion and dehydration on the last day of the trip, while in India I felt for the first time that God might be calling me into foreign missions. Just before my senior year, on Aug 15, 2009, I married Jennifer, the same beautiful young woman that I met and fell in love with the first semester of college. She has been an incredible blessing to me–my partner in ministry, a source of godly wisdom, and–quite often–a much needed balance to my often over-zealous, bulldozer personality!
Upon graduation, I got a job as a chemist working for the FDA. That was a period of physical and spiritual healing for which I am very grateful. During that time, my routine work schedule allowed me to undo much of the physical and spiritual atrophy that college had inflicted upon me. I lost 40 pounds over the summer and picked up a new hobby–triathlon–and had the opportunity to grow in my spiritual walk with God. I am deeply indebted to Park Hill Baptist Church (PHBC) for that period of spiritual growth and healing. In Jan 2011, Jennifer and I had the opportunity to go on a medical mission trip to Haiti with PHBC. I had been praying for guidance on whether or not to enter medical school and pursue medical missions since that trip to India. That trip to Haiti turned my world upside-down. It was indescribably life-changing. While that trip confirmed my call to missions, I would soon find out that my calling to missions was not medically related.
While I believe that medical missions is a great ministry and desperately needed, I began to feel uneasy about it. I began to realize that my motives for pursuing science and medicine were primarily selfish–I wanted other people to think I was smart. I was prideful. So, during that trip to Haiti, God began the long, painful process of teaching me humility. But, I’m a stubborn and determined person, and usually it takes a “sign in the sky” for me to listen. Never did He make His will for me more clear than in April 2011.
After the mission trip to Haiti, I began to make preparations for medical school. While I was no longer certain that medical school was the right path for me, I didn’t know what else to do, so I continued on with my plans. My gracious mother-in-law gave me an MCAT study book, and I began selecting a date to retake the MCAT (I had taken it once already…the day before getting married…enough said…). Realizing that we would be in Little Rock for at least 10 more years for me to complete medical school and residency, Jenn and I began the agonizing process of buying a home. We had found the perfect one, filled out all the paperwork, met with the inspector, played along with all the government circus games, and even selected new flooring, counter-tops, and siding. All that was left was to sign the dotted line.
Then, two days before the closing date, I lost my job.
Walking out to my car with all of my office supplies in hand, I could feel my life collapsing around me. What would I do without a job? We couldn’t even afford to live in our apartment without my income, much less buy a home! I collapsed into the driver’s seat of my car and wept. It was the most humiliating experience of my life. In one move, God had brought me to my knees and completely destroyed my pride. I had been feeling like God was pulling me away from that job, but I didn’t know where He wanted me to go instead and I had no prospects, whatsoever. I turned on the radio to kill the deafening silence. There have been a handful of times in my life where exactly the right song was playing at exactly the right time. As I turned on the radio, Laura Story began singing her song “Blessings.” I had only heard that song a couple times before then, but as I sat there in my car the words of that song took on a whole new meaning:
Looking back, I can see that this trial was indeed one of God’s mercies in disguise. God had made it abundantly clear that he did not want us settling down in Little Rock, though I had no idea where else He might want us to go. About that time, a friend of mine from PHBC had been filling out his application to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (SBTS). It dawned on me that perhaps God wanted me to stop fooling around in science and get trained for the ministry to which He’d already called me! While I must admit that, at the time I applied, I was never fully certain if going to seminary was the right move, there is absolutely no doubt in my mind now.
After applying to SBTS I was accepted, and the doors began opening. Through a connection at PHBC, we found a rental home here in Louisville, and were quite satisfied with it. Only after loosing the home in NLR did we realize how much of an idol it had become to us. (There were actually days I drove past the home just to throw a pity party for myself and dream of what it might have been like to live there! How pathetic!) We both felt as if God was telling us, “If only you would desire to know Me as much as you desire that house!”
Now, I do. So much more than I ever desired that house. But I certainly can’t take credit for that–it took God shaking me around and flipping my world upside down to get me there! Jenn and I thank God every day for His mercies in disguise. Through that trial, I had the opportunity to work as a youth and music minister at East Audubon Baptist Church in Louisville for about a year and a half, and within a month or so of moving to Louisville, we met our Wycliffe recruiters.
After feeling that God was leading us to the next phase of our preparation for missions, we moved back to Arkansas in April 2013 and I began working full-time at my step-dad’s business in order to pay off debt and finish my degree. A few months later, God abundantly provided for us to pay off a huge chunk of our debt so that we could apply to Wycliffe! It’s been amazing watching God work. We joined Wycliffe Bible Translators in September 2014, and after developing a team of prayer and financial partners to help sustain our ministry we moved to Dallas, TX for a year and a half to complete our linguistics training for Bible translation. The journey that began with the loss of my job in 2011 finally came to fruition when we moved to Papua New Guinea to work as Bible translators in 2017. But of course, moving to PNG is only the beginning. I can only imagine what God has in store for the next 10 years!
So, what is the most important thing you should know about me? Jesus Christ. He is my Provider, Sustainer, and my Savior. I owe everything I have and everything I am to Him. He found me when I was worthless, sinful, and pitiful, and He picked me up and gave me purpose and a future. He forgave my sin, adopted me as His son, and is preparing a home for me in heaven where I will live with Him for eternity. Throughout all the difficult times in my life, I know that not only has He been there with me, He is behind everything–the good and the bad–working it all out for the greater good, for His eternal purpose.
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.” Romans 8:28, NASB