There are some stories that a writer would love to tell, but occasionally a story comes along that an author is compelled to relate to others. The Joseph Willis story falls into the latter category. His life is one of the most intriguing that I’ve ever come across in American history. Yet, he remains one of the most unknown heroes of the Christian faith.
Perhaps, no one knows about him because he was born into slavery, and there are too many questions surrounding his life. Or perhaps it’s because he doesn’t fit the stereotypical Evangelical leader. Whatever the reason for Joseph’s obscurity, I sensed the urging of the Holy Spirit to write his story.
Randy Willis, my co-author, has done an excellent job of researching the history of his fourth great grandfather and creating a time line of his life. I realized that few people would be interested in reading a factual history of the events in his life. Those events needed to come alive because he has so much to teach us. His ministry was birthed during the Second Great Awakening.
There needed to be scenes created that would describe the manner in which he overcame incredible difficulties, and how he was able to forgive those who hurt him the most. Today’s Christians need to see a humble person with the courage to forgive and observe a strong leader with compassion for people for whom no one else is concerned.
That’s why I wrote his life as a novel. Twice a Slave will inspire Christians to forgive those who have wronged them. The reader will learn the history of mixed race people, a history that few have chronicled. They will be inspired to pray for the wind of God to once again blow across hearts of people in America. My prayer is that God will use this fascinating story to create a thirst for a major revival in our land. When Jesus taught His disciples, He often told stories to illustrate wonderful truths. May God use the story of Joseph Willis to bring healing in America.