“Are you saved?” That three-word query, posed by a fellow warehouse worker, changed the course of Ed’s life and ultimately resulted in his being sent out as a missionary by a local Bible-preaching church that he had visited shortly after his friend asked him that soul-searching question. Hearing the gospel convincingly presented he responded at the invitation to the salvation message, experiencing the New Birth! It was not that Ed had not attended church; he had, and he had a long string of attendance awards to prove it. But in the main-line denominational church that he had grown up in and attended, with his family, week after week, he had never heard God’s Simple Plan of Salvation made simple until that life-changing Sunday morning.
How different was Sylvia’s childhood! Her father, a pastor, preached the Bible every Sunday and at the early age of five, Sylvia acknowledged her sin and need of a Savior and she too experienced the same New Birth! experience that her future husband would years later realize! Sylvia would surrender, at the age of ten, while attending a week of summer Christian Camp, to serve as a volunteer in the Lord’s vineyard where-ever He would choose to place her, and she set out on a path to prepare for that service. Having graduated from high school, God directed her to Bob Jones University where she pursued and graduated with a degree in nursing, but not before she would experience mission trips to Haiti and the Philippines as God began to call and confirm to her His will for Sylvia to serve on some mission field at some appointed time and place.
In the meantime, Ed responded to God’s call to prepare for full-time vocational ministry too, so following his salvation he enrolled in Tennessee Temple University, receiving from TTU a degree in secondary education. He then enrolled and eventually graduated from San Francisco Baptist Theological Seminary (Arno and Archer Weniger) with an M.Div. degree and from there enrolled in the Ph.D. course at Bob Jones University majoring in Old Testament Studies.
It was at that time in Ed’s life that Ellen and I became better acquainted with Ed Christy. We were impressed with his single-mindedness to serve His Savior and to respond to the need for the gospel to be shared with the multitudes in France who either had never heard of salvation by grace through faith or at least had never accepted His free offer, as only one per-cent of the population in that great nation were known to be professing, practicing Christians. Ed was as fully prepared to serve as he could be, and he was unquestionably willing to go; but we sensed there was a major, major component missing is his life: a helpmeet! It was not that Ed was unwilling or disinterested. He had dated several fine young ladies, but to that point none had “clicked.” He had a list of qualifications that the prospective 1st lady of the Ed Christy household would have to meet, and humanly speaking it seemed he might have put himself into a box (just big enough for one)!
But God! Somewhere along their life’s journey Ed Christy met Sylvia Carr and it was immediately apparent that the two were a match! Only God in His grace could have done it, but He did and as is so true with God, Ed got better than he knew how to choose had it been left up to him. Sylvia had a heart for God, met and exceeded every qualification on Ed’s stringent list and in God’s perfect timing and by His sovereign goodness and grace, “the twain” did become one.
They left for France, settling in the Bordeaux area where they have been planting churches now for 30 years. Ed uses his knowledge and credentials in Old Testament studies to teach block courses in a Bible Institute that is training people in France to be discipling disciples. Sylvia is the perfect missionary wife, teaching, playing the piano, giving loving nourishment to the ladies to whom she ministers. It has proven to be a “Match Made in Heaven.”
What a great testimony is Ed and Sylvia Christy’s! Ellen and I visited them a few years ago and were so pleased to observe how they serve selflessly in that part of His vineyard that He has placed them. Their children are grown, and both live not far from the Christys.
It all became a true story because on a typical day at work, in an Indy warehouse a fellow worker posed to Ed the question, “Are you saved?
Might you ask someone that same question? You can never anticipate where it may lead someone, such as Ed and Sylvia, career missionaries to France for 30 years now and counting.
“And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things!” (Romans 10:15)