Rev. Vily Able Guidroz (1906~1985)
United Pentecostal Church International
Vily Able Guidroz was born in 1906. Most evenings, when he was a boy living in Louisa, Louisiana, Vily had to be made to turn the lamp outso he could go to sleep. His dad, Louis, whose father had only sent the first, third, and fifth sons, etc., to school and college, was the son left out; he had little understanding of learning, but the hunger in Vily could not be stopped.
Most Sunday afternoons, after “Brother Vily” received the Holy Ghost on February 10, 1923, were spent sitting on the front porch of a nearby home reading the Bible by ther hour out loud to those who could not read. One Sunday he was asked by his pastor, Luke Trosclair, to read some scriptures to the people while pastor Trosclair was away for the weekend. He was not asked to preach, just to read scriptures in place of the sermon. He got excited, though, and began to explain the scripture about how the Lord would glorify His name among the people. It became his first sermon. Vily was ready because he had read and studied the Word.
Young Vily Guidroz borrowed every book he could get. Later, as a young evangelist traveling in the North while his family was at home in the South, he spent most of his days at the city libraries. Vily said that after some years of this, by the time the revival closed and he left the city, he could say he had read every book in that library that was of any significance to a preacher.
His eihth grade education was not enough for him. He read and studied all the volumes of the Book of Knowledge by taking subject by subject and exhausting it until he knew the subject. His mind consumed the entire Preacher’s Homiletics Commentary, book by book. Typical of his thirst was his reading such works as Carl Sandburg’s “Abraham Lincoln,” “Robert E. Lee,” and “War and Peace” by Winston Churchill. Countless historical novels and all major current political biographies and autobiographies kept him fresh in knowledge, right up to his death. He was an expert on the American Civil War and Egyptian and Mexican history.
Though he never finished high school nor went to college, he became the first Chairman of the Board of Christian Education of the United Pentecostal Church International. Vily Guidroz was the founding Superintendent of Texas Bible College, nurturing the dreams and fanning the gospel fires of men like Fred Foster, J.T. Pugh, Arless Glass, James Kilgore, and many others who traveled with him all over Texas and put Texas Bible College together.
The Bible which he preached from until his death was given to him on October 13, 1943, by the people of Peace Tabernacle, Baytown, Texas, the people he pastored for twenty years. On the inside cover he had pasted the essay, “When You Preach, Remember!” Reading this essay probably tells more about Vily Able Guidroz than a whole book. We can hardly recount all of his magnificent abilities and successes as a husband, father, evangelist, pastor, sportsman, carpenter, builder, leader of men, District Superintendent of Texas District UPCI, and Preacher’s Preacher!” But this essay that he read over and over again was a reflection of his character, the man he was. Each line rewinds our minds back to an image, a memory…or a sermon, each a vivid visual experience.
After serving his generation, Vily Able Guidroz fell on sleep on November 11, 1985.