Gena Wilson: cancer survivor, marathoner, missionary

By December 12, 2014
Gena Wilson NYC

Gena Wilson completed the NYC marathon
after more than nine hours of walking.
She crossed the finish line with U.S. Army veteran
Cedric King. A photo of King and Wilson at
the finish was featured in the November 6, 2014,
issue of Time magazine.
(Photo, caption credit IMB)

Scotland (MNN) — Overcoming life’s challenges is a feat everyone must face at one point or another. How a person overcomes said challenges shapes character and reveals faith.

Gena Wilson, a Southern Baptist missionary serving in Glasgow, Scotland with the International Mission Board (IMB), is no stranger to challenging circumstances. But she knows Who has gotten her through each trial and openly gives Him the credit.

“God has been so, SO gracious in my journey, long before cancer but especially during it, along with leading up to the NYC marathon yesterday,” Wilson stated after walking the entire New York City marathon in early November.

Today, the two-time cancer survivor is back in one of Scotland’s poorest communities, using her experiences to point young people to Christ.

As part of IMB’s ImpactGlasgow Team, Wilson builds relationships with impoverished young people through sports, Christian clubs, tutoring, and community outreach. The Lord has used many trials in Wilson’s life to show His mercy and strength to the people she encounters.

For example, in 2011, Wilson was forced by her first bout of cancer to return to the U.S. for treatment. While battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, she sent messages of encouragement back to Scotland via social media.

“It’s so good that this happened, even if all that [God] wanted to accomplish was to teach me how to trust Him even in the midst of suffering,” Wilson said in a special Christmas message to the students she mentored at Springburn Academy.

When cancer revisited Wilson last year in the form of a brain tumor, she was quick to reiterate the source of her hope.

Gena Wilson Glasgow

Gena and Graeme, one of the young people she mentored.
(Photo credit IMB)

“God’s goodness is not defined by my health. Cancer can’t touch heaven. The best is yet to come,” she stated.

Overcoming cancer twice and walking a marathon in nine hours has renewed Wilson’s passion for proclaiming Christ in the greater Glasgow area. In 2015, she and her team will be bringing the love and hope of Jesus to the darkest areas of Glasgow: places where drug and alcohol addiction, teenage pregnancy, chronic unemployment, and violence run rampant.

Will you help Gena Wilson and her team overcome Glasgow’s darkness with the light and hope of Christ?

Click here to send financial support through IMB’s Lottie Moon Christmas Offering.


  • Pat Storer says:

    I am very excited to hear about SBC missions in Scotland. I’ve given to Lottie Moon Offerings through my local church. Keep serving our Lord in wonderful Scotland. I am being led to come to Scotland and be a servant of Christ there. I will be praying for you and your ministry.

  • Gena has been prayed over the 10th of every month since I first heard of her first bout with cancer. I don’t even remember how I heard about it but felt strongly to pray for her and have been ever since. As it is the 10th, I was praying for her today and thought I would check the internet to see if I could find out anything. Wow! What a blessing to know her character and all she has been through. This is why I love giving to the Lottie Moon offering through my church Houston’s First Baptist. Scotland is my favorite place on the earth and have visited it many times.

  • Was blessed by your life story in our Missions Mosaic this month.
    I will be praying for you on a regular basis! May God continue to Bless you and your work in Glasgow!
    Can you send me your address in my email.

  • Dont’ use my e-mail. Can hardly ever get access. Gina New Hope Baptist Church in Billings, MT. 59101, chose you and your story as a program in WMU. We are a very small church (4 active members), searching for a senior pastor. We would love for your help if your would. Could you send us a list of your most used “needs” so we can decide what and who to send help to. What about postage to Scotland? Send info to New Hope Baptist Church, 824 N. 19th, Billings MT, 59101 USA Thanks. Glad to hear you are a cancer survivor. Our interim pastor just had cancer surgery on his nose. He is a little apprehensive, but doing well. Please keep him and us in prayer as we are seeking a Pastor to help NHBC to grow for the Lord.
    Love in Christ, Louise C. Johnson, church secretary clerk

  • Diana Baker says:

    Hi Gena, my name is Diana & I teach Kids on a Mission in our local church on Wednesday evenings. We recently chose Scotland from the NAMB website.
    Your story is so inspiring of God’s love & care as you step out in faith everyday to spread the good news of Christ out Savior. I’m so excited to begin this session & introduce the children to you. How birds & keep you.
    In Christ’s name

  • Beverly Mays says:

    Hi, Gena,
    Your life is amazing how God has done miracles and you share with others.
    We will be in Glasgow in October and would love to visit with you. We were with the IMB in Thailand years ago and now live in Little Rock, Arkansas.
    Can we meet you during that time??
    What a blessing you are!!!
    Love in Christ,

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