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Keep Smilin

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Keep Smilin HicksBy Charlotte Blasingame

I have the honor again this week spotlighting another one of LaFayette’s godly women, Apostle Willie Eva Hicks.

Born in LaFayette to Burnice Busby and Samuel James she attended White Hall School where they had 3 or more classes in one large room with only a wood burning heater for heat. Her mother Burnice Busby and step father Willie Jr Bailey lived and raised she and 2 brothers on the farms of Mr. W.G. Harmon and Mr. Toke Harmon.

After her grandparents passed away her family moved from LaFayette to Fairfax, Alabama now known as Valley, Alabama.

In 1961 with a total of 8 people in her family, all lived in a 2 bedroom house with a kitchen with no running water or a bathroom. Pastor Hicks states they had to go to a spring to get water for everything including cooking, bathing, and washing their clothes. They were very fortunate to have a fireplace for heat.

Eventually, she was able to go to Dothan with her Auntie to work during the summer helping her Mother to be able to buy her school clothes. Leaving Dothan on a bus bound for New York for the family to find more work brought her working on Potato farms, then continued on to Dover, Delaware on a potato farm. In Dover she would go to school in the morning and work in the afternoon until the potato season was over.

Returning to Fairfax, Alabama she informed her Mother she wanted to never ever go back to the farm.
She became pregnant at the age of 14 years old. Her first child was a son. After giving birth to her son,she decided not to go back to school. Having to support her baby she had the opportunity to go to work for Mrs. Sledge cooking and cleaning for $15.00 week. At the age of 14 months her son got a Virus and passed away.

As fate would have it , at the age of 22 years old she had given birth 5 times losing 2 of those leaving her with 3 daughters.

Pastor Hicks also states that when she was 18 years old, she went to work at a mill in Fairfax for 3 years before it began to cause her to become ill. Finding herself without a job she searched out at Langsdale Mill where Mr. Frank Hall gave her a job. While working at Langsdale Mill Pastor Hicks found out about a Cosmetology School known as Southern Beauty School in Columbus, Georgia where you could attend without a High School Diploma. Long story short, she attended, got her license, passed State Board and opened her own beauty shop. She stayed in business for 15 years.

On November 08, 1987 Willie Eva Darden’s life changed forever, attending services and becoming a part of Faith Temple Church in LaGrange, Georgia. 6 months later she became born again.

July, 1988 was also a stepping stone for Willie Eva Darden as she became Mrs. Willie Eva Hicks.

Approximately a year later of faithfully attending church, Bible Study, Sister Hicks began door to door witness, giving out tracks, having prayer meetings and street services with permission from her pastor C. Chives in the Valley and LaFayette areas. In 1991 Pastor Hicks was licensed as a Minister by Pastor Chives. Unfortunately her biological father passed away on this same day!

On her way to do a Bible Study one day she passed by the house she had seen in her dream, screaming out “There is the house”!! After renting the house Pastor Hicks began a Home Bible Study where more and more people began to attend. Since she had paid the rent out of her pocket, she also began to take up offerings at these studies to defray cost of living.

Feeling God was calling her to start a church she sought the advice of her Pastor and told him what she felt God wanted her to do.

On July 1, 2001 Pastor Melvin Cartwright, Assistant Pastor Connie Hall with the Faith Mission Church came to install Willie Eva Hicks as Pastor of Chosen Generation Outreach Church.

It only took 9 months before chairs were overflowing as God was causing the church to grow. Approximately 6 months later the congregation called Pastor William Fanning of Church Planner to prepare Articles of Incorporation . By- Laws, Housing allowance and various other business decisions to legally establish Chosen Generation Outreach Church.

When they outgrew the White House, they needed another place in the city. Feeling that God was telling them they needed to renovate the Old Dew Drop Inn building and with the help of members and Cox Electric, this new location gave them seating for 125.

Pastor Hick’s faith to God has also allowed her to plant a church in Valley, Alabama as well as travel for the past 3 years to Mexico with her ministry.

In 2011 when she feels God had blessed her and her Chosen Generation family with a new church building on Hwy 431 that houses 300 and 3 church vans, and a year later she received her High School Diploma.

For the past six years Pastor Hicks has been preaching the word of God on radio station WPCH 1310 in West Point, Georgia.

Among her other achievements include receiving an Honorarium Doctorate Degree from St. Thomas University, Jacksonville and affirmed as an Apostle by Bishop Ann Hardman of Columbus,Georgia in the Lord’s church. Currently she is attending Slidell Baptist Seminary.

Pastor Hicks wife of Elder James Hicks have been married 27 years and together they are blessed with 5 children, 11 grandchildren and 6 great grandchildren