BETTY JOYCE HOSKINS MILLS ------ A SUPREME EXAMPLE OF A LIFETIME OF DEDICATION
A lovely article written by Betty's son David. . .
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Betty Joyce Hoskins, born July 11, 1927, in a farmhouse ten miles out of the little community of Norris City, Illinois, is known throughout the Christian world as the wife of Evangelist Dick Mills, who went to be with the Lord in May, 2012. Betty's life is a most honor-inspiring account of a rare and beautiful kind of devotion to the Lord, to His calling, to her husband, to his ministry, to their children, and to the prayer ministry. It truly is one of the most amazing and beautiful stories, and yet it is known only to a few people. And that is partly because she was both content to take the less conspicuous position which did not draw attention to herself, and also was required to do so many times because of the situations in life and the nature of public ministry. Evangelist Dick Mills, and indeed the whole Mills family, often remarked that without Betty's help and devotion and hard work and support, he could never have accomplished the things he did worldwide in the five and a half decades of their marriage. This brief biographical sketch is to help fill in the gaps for the majority of people who knew her only to a limited degree. The things which are included here will give you a greater knowledge of what a wonderful woman of God she was over the nearly 87 years of her life.
Betty Joyce Hoskins was born to a Baptist family in rural southern Illinois, and was the eighth child in a family of ten children, which consisted of three boys and seven girls. She was the sixth girl, and the third-from-youngest child born to Corbett Hoskins and Clarcie Rodgers Hoskins. When Betty was 7 years old, her father died of leukemia, and her mom held on to the farm although some relatives were trying to take it away from her, but the family survived those difficult times, in spite of the rigors of the Great Depression. Life for the ten children consisted of farm chores, milking cows, gathering eggs, picking blackberries for the more than 100 jars of jam her mother made every summer, as well as harvesting apples, and much more. Betty walked to a one-room school house which was more than two miles away, rain or shine, snow or heat. When she was ten years old, she gave her heart to the Lord in the little Walnut Grove Baptist church, which also was a few miles out of town. She walked with the Lord from that time on, without fail, for the remainder of her lifetime. When she reached high school age, she rode on the school bus into the neighboring town of Carmi, Illinois, also ten miles from the farm. Carmi was the "big city", having about 5,000 people at the time. Because she skipped a grade, she graduated at the age of 16, and immediately went up north to the REAL city, Chicago, and worked in an office typing up war bonds; this was in 1944, during World War II.
After a few months of living in Chicago, she moved with her oldest sister to St. Louis, Missouri, and went through Nurses' training, and began to work in a hospital there. During that time, her sister began attending a Foursquare church, and continually invited Betty to come and experience the things of the Holy Spirit, about which she as a Baptist had not been told all that much. To top it off, the little Pentecostal church was led by a woman pastor.... and all this was totally unfamiliar to the Hoskins family. However, she began to attend, and went down to the altar, and prayed, and asked the Lord, 'If this is REALLY of you, the show me so I will know it!" The infilling of the Holy Spirit which occurred immediately after that prayer, was so dramatic and powerful and wonderful, that she never doubted it, and remained in the realms where the gifts of the Spirit are operative, for the remaining sixty five years of her life!
In 1952 Betty and her oldest sister were up for a little adventure, and decided to move out to California, which they had heard of as though it were some sort of Promised Land. She found work in a hospital in Long Beach, and subsequently in three other Los Angeles area hospitals, and began attending L.I.F.E. Bible College, at Angelus Temple. She managed to work the hospital night shift full time, and go to college in the day time! She graduated in 1956, and continued her nursing career, and was promoted to Sunday School superintendent at the Foursquare church in Artesia, California. During this time, she heard about Evangelist Dick Mills, who was Foursquare's best-known evangelist, and she had wanted to go hear him preach, but whenever he was anywhere near Los Angeles, she seemed to be on the evening shift at the hospital. Dick Mills was a widower, his wife Joyce Highfill having gone to be with the Lord at age 35, in November 1956, and leaving him with a five year old son, David. When Evangelist Dick Mills FINALLY was scheduled to preach at Artesia, it was now already early 1957, and Betty met him for the first time ---- and what happened next was rather quick. They fell in love, and had a brief courtship and engagement of about six months, and then were married at the Norwalk Foursquare church, on September 14th, 1957. Dick's son David was the ring-bearer at the wedding ceremony, and then Dick and Betty settled in to married life, after a honeymoon that included Catalina Island, since Betty liked the ocean, and Yosemite, because Dick loved the Sierras. Almost immediately after their wedding, they went on a ministry/missions trip to the East Coast, and then to Miami, from which they flew to Havana, Cuba and ministered there even while Castro was attempting to seize power. Leaving just in time, they also ministered in other Central American countries, including Panama, El Salvador, Honduras, and Nicaragua. Before mid-year 1958, they returned to the USA, and David joined them right after they safely came back from Central America, and the Mills family was now three persons. As was mentioned, things happened fast! Over the next several years, Dick and Betty and David traveled coast-to-coast, evangelizing in small churches across the USA, and moved from town to town by means of a very small trailer which they pulled behind a very inadequate station wagon, which literally wore itself out with the duties of hauling their home-on-wheels all across the country. In February, 1960 (on Leap Year Day) the Mills' home was blessed with a daughter, Deborah Joyce Mills, who was born in the same hospital in Hollywood in which her older brother David had been born nearly nine years earlier. Now the Mills family was complete with one son and one daughter, and the four family members continued to travel, travel, travel and travel some more ---- from 1960 through Christmas of 1965 (at which time they settled down semi-permanently in Hemet, California, during the winter months, so that David could attend high school and Deborah could start kindergarten, and Dick traveled in ministry leaving his family home during the school week, but taking them with him on weekends, if the churches where he ministered were five hours or less in driving time from Hemet). During the time period of February 1960 through the end of December 1965, Betty's jobs were absolutely astonishing. She was mom and school teacher to David, who took correspondence course schooling, as the family was continually on the road. She was mom to Deborah, who was a pre-schooler who lived the travelling life with the rest of the family ---- trailer parks, campgrounds, motels, lots of travelling and excitement. She was faithful wife to her husband, who was preaching six services each week, in towns across many U.S. States, and Canadian Provinces. She sang with the family in the evangelistic services, performing musical ministry with her husband and son and daughter. She cooked the meals that the family ate, and often had to get dinner on the table in haste, so that everyone could get to church on time, musical instruments in hand, and dressed fit for the service. All of this while "living out of a suitcase", if you can imagine it! Quite definitely it was not an easy life, but somehow the Lord gave her the grace and the dedication and the persistence to get it all done. And, as was mentioned, the focus of attention was on her husband, and so there were very few who really knew the enormous sacrifices and hard work which Betty did to enable the whole team to function.
After David graduated from High School and went away to college at Oral Roberts University, Dick's ministry began to involve even more travel than ever before, and now it necessitated flying to numerous countries, as well as states and provinces throughout the USA and Canada. More and more Betty would join him internationally, and the ministry went global. Gone were the days of pulling a travel trailer from town to town. And even though the intensity of world-travel, and the demands of living in the glare of an increasingly bright spotlight (so to speak) created factors that were no less easy than before, the Lord gave Betty such grace and meekness and ability to adjust to all kinds of new situations, many of them desirable and exciting and pleasant, and some of them quite challenging. Betty accompanied her husband to Australia, Britain, Nigeria, South Africa, Israel, Hungary, Canada, and other nations as well. In the later 1970's and the 1980's Dick was ministering on television more than ever before, and Betty accompanied him to various places where televised services, or TV taped programs, or videotaped church meetings were conducted. In addition to the astonishing travel schedule, Betty worked at the ministry office in Hemet, California, and managed the intercessors ministry, giving herself to prayer and interceding for the needs of those who called in for help or wrote their requests. The selfless devotion of this saint of God was known to those who were around her personally, but was not broadcast about, nor did she seek attention to herself. Due to the incredible demand on her husband by many thousands of people (wanting his time, his attention, his prophetic ministry, his help, his input, and so forth) it actually required that his wife be a very patient, tolerant, special and rare jewel.... and that is what she was. Nothing else would have worked ---- and it is to the glory of God that He found such a devoted wife and helper for Dick Mills and for the family. Life was exceedingly complex in many ways for the Mills family in these years of adjustment, international travel, and demanding schedule..... but the grace and help of the Lord kept the family triumphant through all the hectic schedule and the expectations of so many people, and so many ministry situations and various denominational settings.
In the mid-1970's, Betty became a very delighted grandmother, as David and his wife Kathryn had their first child, a daughter named Shoshana. Then another daughter, Rachel, was born, and a son, Judah Israel, and then in 1990 another son, Joel. Meanwhile, in the 1980's, Deborah and her husband Kyle became parents as well, to two sons, Blake and Cardiff, and then in 1991, to a daughter, Whitney. In the year 2004, Betty and Dick welcomed their first great-grandson, Elijah (Rachel's and Micah's son). He was followed by Lyla (Shoshana's and James' daughter) in 2009, and then by Aliyah (Rachel's daughter) also in 2009, and then by Levi (Shoshana's son) in 2013. Then at the end of February, this year, Deborah's son Blake and his wife presented Betty with a granddaughter, Emma Joy. And in the last four months of her life, Betty very much enjoyed her five great-grandchildren, and on Mother's Day, photos were taken with her and all five great-grandchildren surrounding her!
In 2010 some major changes came to Dick and Betty's world. Betty had surgery, and at about the same time, Dick had reached the point where he was no longer able to go up the stairway in his home in Hemet. So their son-in-law Kyle Booth and daughter Deborah built an add-on apartment to their house in Anza, California, and Dick and Betty went to live with them. Although Dick could not travel any longer, he did minister regularly by Webinar and Skype, all the way till he went to be with the Lord. During the final two years of his life, Betty continued to help care for him, lovingly tending to him as she had done throughout their 55 years of marriage. The final 17 days of his life, he was hospitalized, and she came daily to the hospital to minister to him ---- and he of course was still ministering to the people who came to see HIM in the hospital! The final day, he was brought home to Anza, where he was surrounded by family members and ministry staff; and Betty was with her beloved husband till the moment he went to be with the Lord, on May 25th, 2012. This event, the death of her husband, was for Betty a most major, significant, massive thing. Everyone who knew her wondered how she would be able to adjust to being without him, and go onward. Once again, she exhibited grace and stamina, courage, and cheerfulness, even through the periods of mourning and sense of loss. Having the grandchildren and great-grandchildren around helped; but she also had quite the prayer life, and daily, routine devotional times, and attended church in Anza, where her grandson Blake Booth is her pastor. And if it can be believed that yet more challenges came her way --- in the 18 months following Dick Mills' death, Betty Mills had six surgeries, five hospitalizations, and lots of health issues, including periods of strong pain. She was, in a word BRAVE through this period. She went to be with the Lord in the mid-afternoon on June 22nd, 2014, surrounded by fifteen family members and friends, who can attest that she finished her race with dignity and peace, and with a triumphant sense of completeness.
Looking back on her amazing life, those who know her best can attest to the fact that she was a gracious, dedicated, service-oriented, longsuffering, devoted servant of God.... and what is most significant is that she was content to do so much of the needed work and labor and effort in so many areas where her contribution wasn't widely seen or noticed, and sometimes even wasn't appreciated. She just went forward serving with a noble heart, and did so out of her love for the Lord Jesus. What makes this written tribute seem incomplete is that all of us only know the many facts and histories and events that we saw.... but there is so much more to Betty's life and sacrifices that only the Lord God knows. Yes, only He knows the totality of these things........ but fortunately, He keeps such a thorough account of all that is done for Him that we can be sure of this: her reward is sure, and her reward is vast, and her reward is with the Lord.
In loving memory. . .
On Sunday afternoon, June 22, 2014, Betty Mills went home to be with Jesus. She was at home and surrounded by her family. We are grateful for your prayers, which were answered, as her last moments were peaceful and sweet.
A wake will be held at the Valley Gospel Church at 6:00 PM on Sunday, June 29. A funeral service will be held on Monday, June 30, at 11:00 AM. Friends and supporters are welcome to attend both services.
Valley Gospel Church
43275 Chapman Rd.
Anza, CA 92539
It was Betty's wish that in lieu of flowers a donation be given to Dick Mills Ministries. Donations may be made at DMM Webstore online at http://shop.dmm.org or by mail:
P.O. Box 391397
Anza, CA 92539
If you would like a local flower shop, The Arrangement Gallery in Hemet, will handle all the flowers: 951-652-9234 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 951-652-9234 end_of_the_skype_highlighting
If you would like to book a hotel, the cities of Hemet, Temecula, and Palm Desert are within driving distance. In Hemet we recommend The Hampton Inn and Suites, 951-929-7373 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting 951-929-7373 end_of_the_skype_highlighting