Hilda Iddiols was a women who gave a massive contribution to my life. Born into a single parent family on the 6th story of a high block of flats, I was a very troubled child. But there was an couple on the estate in their 60’s called Bill and Hilda. Bill and Hilda were like tent pegs to me and my mum. They provided a stability that we seriously lacked. Hilda would often come round and spend a lot of time with my mum, helping her. She would baby sit for me so that my Mum could sometimes get out of the flat. Me and my Mum would go to Bill and Hilda’s and enjoy the calm there, and I would happily stay there for hours.
Bill and Hilda were Christians, and you could tell it in the way they lived their lives. I always felt safe when I was round their flat. But Bill and Hilda were never patronising or condescending to us. They never treated us like we were basket cases, they treated us as brothers and sisters in Christ. In fact Hilda would often encourage me and my mum with how much she saw God working in our lives. Hilda also acted like a mother to my Mum, and a grandmother to me. I didn’t have grandparents, but I always took comfort in the fact that I had Bill and Hilda.
One of the local churches had advised my Mum to put me up for adoption, they warned her that I wouldn’t turn out good. Hilda took a different approach, she prayed for me, and she involved me and my mum in her life. I remember going with her to her sister Grace’s place and being asked to read the Bible to them. I remember going to Richmond park with them and just hanging out. I remember Hilda visiting my school plays etc.
I also remember having lots of conversations with Hilda about Jesus. It was just natural to talk to her about God, and what he was doing in our lives. She was our friend, and we all knew Jesus, and so we would talk about him in every conversation.
Bill and Hilda were also a wonderful example of marriage. I was so used to seeing them together that I would even confuse their names and sometimes say, ‘Hill and Builda’. Until Hilda’s passing they were married for 70 years.
My mum says that she wonders how I would have turned out if it weren’t for Hilda. Would the nay-sayers have been correct that my Mum should have put me up for adoption? Would I be a Christian today? Would I have started New Life Church on our estate? Would the Urban Ministry Program exist? Who knows, but I am confident that God put Hilda in my life for many reasons, and that I have benefitted in so many ways.
Two years ago at age 96, I asked Hilda how she felt about going to see Jesus soon. Her eyes brightened, and with a surge of energy and happiness, she said, ‘I can’t wait!’ I myself can’t wait to meet her again in heaven, where she is no longer in pain, and enjoying seeing Jesus face to face every day.
Thank you God for Hilda.