Courtesy of the Huddlestons
Jacksonville Daily Progress
Bob and Linda Huddleston's journey in the ministry began in 1968 while attending Beacon Hill Baptist Church in the Pleasant Grove area of Dallas. Having recently purchased a home in the area, they began making plans to attend Baptist Bible College in Springfield, Mo. They signed their house over to another young couple then when to southern Mexico to visit the McCoy missionary family prior to moving to Missouri.
While studying at BBC, in preparation for going to the mission field, they started a church in Richland, Mo., a small town 75 miles away from Springfield. Bro. Huddleston was taking 16 hours of classes, traveling 500 miles a week to and from the new church, and worked a full-time job at night. They moved to Richland to pastor Maranatha Baptist Church.
They were introduced to New Tribes Missions during those years and felt a burden to share the Gospel with the indigenous people in the equatorial belt of the world. Just at that time, George Anderson began Baptist Bible Translators Institute in Fort Worth (now in Bowie and directed by Dr. Rex Cobb). Bob and Linda were in the first class of BBTI.
In 1976 they left the United States, headed to Columbia, South America. Although their desire was to work with the indigenous people of Columbia, in the Amazon jungle, the government would not allow it.
Following language school at La Javeriana University, they worked in the Department (State) of Meta until 1985. The main church had been founded by Missionary Jack Weaver. When his health no longer permitted him to work in such a hot climate, Bro. Huddleston relieved him. A Bible institute was begun to train national workers, and several missions works were begin in outlying areas of the plains of Columbia. Bro. Huddleston also taught classes in a Bible institute, founded by Missionary Craig Lingo, in Bogota, the capitol city of Columbia.
Not having permission from the Columbian government to remain there, theyr returned to Texas. They were called to pastor Trinity Fellowship Baptist Church in Phoenix, Ariz. Bro. Huddleston completed his bachelor's and master's degrees at International Bible College in Tempe, Ariz. He was a professor of missions courses and Spanish language studies at International Baptist College. He also taught high school Spanish language classes at Tri-City Christian Academy of Tempe, Ariz.
He made the drive from Phoenix to Tucson three times a week for seven months in order to complete the clinical pastoral degree. Once that degree was obtained, they returned to Texas and he became a chaplain with the Texas Department of Criminal Justice. He served at the Buster Cole Unit in Bonham, the Reynaldo Lopez Unit in Edinburg, and the Skyview/Hodge Unit in Rusk. He retired from TDCJ in 2003.
Prior to retiring from TDCJ he became pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Jacksonville and has pastored there for over nine years.
Through the years, Sis. Linda has played piano, organ and accordion; taught piano in English and Spanish; and taught both English-to-Spanish and Spanish-to-English speakers. She learned some sign language and taught others the same. Linda has been instrumental through the years in teaching and training others in Bible institutes, Sunday school, vacation Bible schools, ladies groups, office work, and has been a general Jane of all trades. Linda worked for and retired from Texas Department of Justice.
They have touched many lives during their 43 years of service. Bob and Linda plan to remain on their iron-rock hill in Dialville. He will officiate services on Easter Sunday and retirement from the pastorate begins May 1.