An Interview with GEORGE VERWER PDF Print E-mail
George Verwer is the Founder of Operation Mobilisation, which, with over 6,100 people and ships ministering in over 110 nations, is one of the largest Missions in the world today. OM's Logos Hope Mission ship is in Durban now and is coming to Richards Bay, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape throughout May and June. Peter Hammond met up with George Verwer during his recent ministry tour to South Africa.



Peter: How did you come to be involved in world Missions?



George Verwer: Dorothea Clapp, an American housewife, put me on her Holy Ghost hit list! There I was enjoying my sin and this prayer warrior turned my life upside down! This Woman of Prayer put me on her Holy Ghost hit list and sent me a spiritual hand grenade with the pin pulled out – the Gospel of John in the post! This led to me surrendering my life to Christ at a Billy Graham meeting in New York in 1955. As I was the student president, I was able to speak to the entire student body of my High School and over 120 fellow students came to Christ. I began witnessing on the streets of New York City and then the Lord laid Mexico on my heart. In those days Mexico was a semi-closed country. Protestants were persecuted. Importing Christian literature was illegal. I started studying at Moody Bible Institute, and organising Mission teams to Mexico. We established a bookstore and to advertise the bookstore, paid for time on the local radio stations to read and explain the Scriptures under the guise of advertising! After Moody Bible College and ministry in Mexico, the Lord led me to Spain, which in the 1950s, had little toleration for the Gospel.



Peter: How did you come to launch Operation Mobilisation?



George Verwer: It was 1961 and the Cold War was in full swing. My dream was to take the Gospel into closed countries. On my first attempt to smuggle Bibles into Russia, I was, through my own foolishness, caught, arrested and expelled from the country. This failure led me to take a day of Prayer in the Austrian Alps. That day revolutionised my life. God showed me that my vision was too small. God gave me the name: Operation Mobilisation (OM), to mobilise Christians, particularly in Europe, to energise and revitalise the Church to spread the vision to reach the world for Christ. In 1961, short-term Mission outreaches were almost unheard of. It was a revolutionary concept, but it worked. The first Summer we had 200 volunteers. The second Summer, in 1963, our group had grown to 2,000. We reached 25 Million people with the Gospel that year. Encouraged by Rev. Bill Bathman, we moved to England, where we assembled 120 old trucks to mobilise our Missionary volunteers throughout Europe. Within a year of my arrest in the Soviet Union, we were sending Europeans back to the USSR, who could speak fluent Russian, and they accomplished far more than I ever could. Since 1961, Operation Mobilisation has mobilised over 200,000 short-term Missionaries worldwide.



Our ministry also expanded to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Logistics became such a problem. Driving old trucks wasn’t enough. So much of the world is covered in water. We needed a ship! By God's grace, we were able to obtain Logos, Doulos, Logos II and now Logos Hope, the largest floating bookstores in the world. People who have never visited a church visit our Mission ships. 170,000 people, most of them Hindus, and many Muslims, went up the gang plank to our ship when it was docked in India, in just one week. Over the years, we have had 45 Million people visit our four Mission ships.



Peter: What kind of difficulties have you faced?

George Verwer: In 1988, the Logos ship struck a rock in the Beagle Channel at the Southern tip of South America and sunk. All 139 persons on board were safely evacuated, but that was a big blow. In 1991, two young OM workers were killed when terrorists threw a grenade into their meeting in the Philippines. One of our OM workers was kidnapped by Afghans and never heard from again. Another worker was shot in Turkey. There is a cost in following Jesus.



Peter: We hear much bad news about terrible things that are going on in the world, what do you see God doing?



George Verwer: We are living in the greatest time of spiritual harvest in the history of the world! 40 years ago there were only 6 places in the world with many Muslim converts. Today we know of over 60 places, with over a thousand converts from a Muslim background. God is working. In Algeria, thousands of Berbers have come to Christ. In Bangladesh, Muslims are coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers. Muslim leaders in Indonesia claim that they are losing 2 Million Muslims a year, being converted to Christ! There are more open doors for Missions today than ever before.



Peter: What are some of the greatest Missionary needs in the world today?



George Verwer: North Korea, Tibet, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, the Maldive Islands, have less than 1% Evangelicals. Turkey has 70 Million people, but only a few thousand believers. So many people have heard the Gospel hundreds of times, and yet there are millions that have never even heard the Gospel once! The Muslim immigration invasion of Europe is an opportunity for us to reach people from closed countries with the life-changing Gospel of Christ. Every church should have a Missions programme. Acts 13 is the Biblical model for Missions. Elders of the Church, fasting and praying, open to the Lord. Sending out their very best, Barnabas and Paul, sending and supporting Missionaries to take the Gospel to unreached people. There are far more congregations in the world today, over 2 Million, than foreign Missionaries, less than 200,000 worldwide. If every congregation sent out and supported at least one Missionary, we would increase the number of Missionaries worldwide ten times! Relationships and literature are two of the main ways of bringing people to Christ.



Peter: What are some of the most important Missionary books that you would recommend?

George Verwer is the Founder of Operation Mobilisation, which, with over 6,100 people and ships ministering in over 110 nations, is one of the largest Missions in the world today. OM's Logos Hope Mission ship is in Durban now and is coming to Richards Bay, East London, Port Elizabeth and Cape throughout May and June. Peter Hammond met up with George Verwer during his recent ministry tour to South Africa.



Peter: How did you come to be involved in world Missions?



George Verwer: Dorothea Clapp, an American housewife, put me on her Holy Ghost hit list! There I was enjoying my sin and this prayer warrior turned my life upside down! This Woman of Prayer put me on her Holy Ghost hit list and sent me a spiritual hand grenade with the pin pulled out – the Gospel of John in the post! This led to me surrendering my life to Christ at a Billy Graham meeting in New York in 1955. As I was the student president, I was able to speak to the entire student body of my High School and over 120 fellow students came to Christ. I began witnessing on the streets of New York City and then the Lord laid Mexico on my heart. In those days Mexico was a semi-closed country. Protestants were persecuted. Importing Christian literature was illegal. I started studying at Moody Bible Institute, and organising Mission teams to Mexico. We established a bookstore and to advertise the bookstore, paid for time on the local radio stations to read and explain the Scriptures under the guise of advertising! After Moody Bible College and ministry in Mexico, the Lord led me to Spain, which in the 1950s, had little toleration for the Gospel.



Peter: How did you come to launch Operation Mobilisation?



George Verwer: It was 1961 and the Cold War was in full swing. My dream was to take the Gospel into closed countries. On my first attempt to smuggle Bibles into Russia, I was, through my own foolishness, caught, arrested and expelled from the country. This failure led me to take a day of Prayer in the Austrian Alps. That day revolutionised my life. God showed me that my vision was too small. God gave me the name: Operation Mobilisation (OM), to mobilise Christians, particularly in Europe, to energise and revitalise the Church to spread the vision to reach the world for Christ. In 1961, short-term Mission outreaches were almost unheard of. It was a revolutionary concept, but it worked. The first Summer we had 200 volunteers. The second Summer, in 1963, our group had grown to 2,000. We reached 25 Million people with the Gospel that year. Encouraged by Rev. Bill Bathman, we moved to England, where we assembled 120 old trucks to mobilise our Missionary volunteers throughout Europe. Within a year of my arrest in the Soviet Union, we were sending Europeans back to the USSR, who could speak fluent Russian, and they accomplished far more than I ever could. Since 1961, Operation Mobilisation has mobilised over 200,000 short-term Missionaries worldwide.



Our ministry also expanded to Afghanistan, Pakistan and India. Logistics became such a problem. Driving old trucks wasn’t enough. So much of the world is covered in water. We needed a ship! By God's grace, we were able to obtain Logos, Doulos, Logos II and now Logos Hope, the largest floating bookstores in the world. People who have never visited a church visit our Mission ships. 170,000 people, most of them Hindus, and many Muslims, went up the gang plank to our ship when it was docked in India, in just one week. Over the years, we have had 45 Million people visit our four Mission ships.



Peter: What kind of difficulties have you faced?

George Verwer: In 1988, the Logos ship struck a rock in the Beagle Channel at the Southern tip of South America and sunk. All 139 persons on board were safely evacuated, but that was a big blow. In 1991, two young OM workers were killed when terrorists threw a grenade into their meeting in the Philippines. One of our OM workers was kidnapped by Afghans and never heard from again. Another worker was shot in Turkey. There is a cost in following Jesus.



Peter: We hear much bad news about terrible things that are going on in the world, what do you see God doing?



George Verwer: We are living in the greatest time of spiritual harvest in the history of the world! 40 years ago there were only 6 places in the world with many Muslim converts. Today we know of over 60 places, with over a thousand converts from a Muslim background. God is working. In Algeria, thousands of Berbers have come to Christ. In Bangladesh, Muslims are coming to Christ in unprecedented numbers. Muslim leaders in Indonesia claim that they are losing 2 Million Muslims a year, being converted to Christ! There are more open doors for Missions today than ever before.



Peter: What are some of the greatest Missionary needs in the world today?



George Verwer: North Korea, Tibet, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Libya, Tunisia, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, the Maldive Islands, have less than 1% Evangelicals. Turkey has 70 Million people, but only a few thousand believers. So many people have heard the Gospel hundreds of times, and yet there are millions that have never even heard the Gospel once! The Muslim immigration invasion of Europe is an opportunity for us to reach people from closed countries with the life-changing Gospel of Christ. Every church should have a Missions programme. Acts 13 is the Biblical model for Missions. Elders of the Church, fasting and praying, open to the Lord. Sending out their very best, Barnabas and Paul, sending and supporting Missionaries to take the Gospel to unreached people. There are far more congregations in the world today, over 2 Million, than foreign Missionaries, less than 200,000 worldwide. If every congregation sent out and supported at least one Missionary, we would increase the number of Missionaries worldwide ten times! Relationships and literature are two of the main ways of bringing people to Christ.



Peter: What are some of the most important Missionary books that you would recommend?



George Verwer: Well, of course, Operation World is an absolute must for every Christian and its new abbreviated version, Pray for the World. I would also add Priority One – What God Wants, by Norm Lewis, my own book: Out of the Comfort Zone and of course Missionary Biographies, like your Greatest Century of Missions and Victorious Christians – Who Changed the World.



Peter: What message do you have for Christians in South Africa?



George Verwer: If we only think and feel, but do not act, then finally we will be unable to act. Change is at the heart of the Gospel. God's frozen chosen are better at being willing than actually doing something! Study Psalm 67 and Matthew 9:35-39. God has blessed you, in order to be a blessing to others. Look at the fields. Pray for Missionaries. Send and support Missionaries. Go where God sends you to go, whether across the street, or across the world, be a witness for Christ, make disciples. Do not let the sun go down on your sin. Confess before sundown.



OM South Africa, 1211 South Street, Hatfield, Pretoria 0083, Private Bag X03, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria 0040, T. +27 87 980 0048, F. +27 12 362 3254, E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Logos Hope Facebook.


George Verwer: Well, of course, Operation World is an absolute must for every Christian and its new abbreviated version, Pray for the World. I would also add Priority One – What God Wants, by Norm Lewis, my own book: Out of the Comfort Zone and of course Missionary Biographies, like your Greatest Century of Missions and Victorious Christians – Who Changed the World.



Peter: What message do you have for Christians in South Africa?



George Verwer: If we only think and feel, but do not act, then finally we will be unable to act. Change is at the heart of the Gospel. God's frozen chosen are better at being willing than actually doing something! Study Psalm 67 and Matthew 9:35-39. God has blessed you, in order to be a blessing to others. Look at the fields. Pray for Missionaries. Send and support Missionaries. Go where God sends you to go, whether across the street, or across the world, be a witness for Christ, make disciples. Do not let the sun go down on your sin. Confess before sundown.



OM South Africa, 1211 South Street, Hatfield, Pretoria 0083, Private Bag X03, Lynnwood Ridge, Pretoria 0040, T. +27 87 980 0048, F. +27 12 362 3254, E-Mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it , Logos Hope Facebook.


Logos Hope Mission ship is coming to Cape Town: 24 June – 11 July. Volunteers are needed. To volunteer or for more information contact: Esther Hansen 079 2549370 or Lindsay Lategan: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it . Find out more on Facebook.

Ship visits:
*Opens June 24th - 2pm to 9:30pm
Sun, Mon, Tue - 2:00pm to 9:30pm
Wed to Sat - 10:00am to 9:30pm
Where: V&A Waterfront, Jetty2
Entrance fee: R5
(children under 12 enter for free, but must be accompanied by an adult; pensioners over 65 enter for free).

Other cities where the Logos Hope will be visiting:
East London: 20-30 May
Port Elizabeth: 9-20 June
Walvis Bay, Namibia: 15-28 July







 
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