When Billy Gene was just a young school age boy, tragedy would strike the family. Their home was heated by a large fireplace, as was the custom of the day. Billy Gene was standing next to the fire when his clothes burst into flames. A sibling rescued him but not before the fire had done its harm. He was pulled from the fire with massive, life threatening burns that would leave him out of school for two years. As he struggled to understand "why me" the words of the gospel he heard from his father would take root and his life began to take shape. His calling in life would be become clearer with age. The "Great Depression" would come to an end as the United States entered into World War II. By the end of the war, Billy Gene was twelve years old and his lessons in life would continue to mold him. Prosperity was returning but the need for a "Spiritual Shepherd" was still great. Millions and millions of people lost their life during the war and no town in America escaped the pain of war.
Billy Gene would not finish high school. Like many in his generation, the need to work would thrust the young into the work force. Church events, traveling evangelist, and tent revivals were common place during this time. Billy Gene was active in all of those ministries and it would be during those encounters that he understood his life calling. He was to share the good news of the gospel. He would marry, have children, and move them all from town to town sharing the word of God. He was a tent revivalist before settling into a regular church. He would go back to school receiving his high school equivalent degree (GED) and eventually graduating with his Masters of Theology from the Church of God School of Theology. He was now the Reverend Bishop Gene Bird, pastor of many churches and friends to many of God’s soldiers of peace and love and happiness.
Billy Gene Bird was the son a minister. He would hear God’s word first at home and then at church. It would be his calling to share his "Father’s" Word. I am Billy Gene’s son. I am the son of a minister. I first heard the word of God at home and then at church. The word has taken root. God is with us when we are at our greatest and lowest of times in life. We are not forsaken. Our task is to learn and share God’s good news, that is the Gospel. My father died in 2017 at the age of 84. Thank you for reading my father’s story! The Reverend Greg Bird