“I really am looking forward to heaven”: OM’s George Verwer succumbs to sarcoma
Salt&Light // April 15, 2023, 10:51 pm
"We're trusting Him for greater things in the days to come," said Operation Mobilisation founder George Verwer. Photo from George Verwer's Facebook page.
George Verwer, founder of Operation Mobilisation (OM), was called home to the Lord yesterday (April 14), at age 84. He leaves behind his wife, Drena, their three children and their families.
Sharing in February that he had been diagnosed with an untreatable sarcoma in his abdomen, Verwer requested that people not pray for total healing, “as I really am looking forward to heaven”.
“God assured me that I’ve done my part and I need to leave the rest with others and Jesus.”
Instead, he asked “for prayer for grace for the rough journey that daily will be ahead”.
While in the hospital for tests, he told Premier Christian News, he’d had “a powerful experience with God, in which all burdens for ministry and wrestling with global suffering has been lifted.
“God assured me that I’ve done my part and I need to leave the rest with others and Jesus.
“In many ways, I feel 85 is too long to live when so many of my friends have died but the Lord has that in His hands.
“It looks like I will be around a while, but the road to the door looks rough. That’s where I would appreciate prayer.”
Send the light
Verwer was one of three American teenagers who, in 1957, went from praying in a room to driving a borrowed old truck into Mexico to distribute Christian literature.
“Somehow you got to keep on keeping on, always abounding in the work of the Lord.”
They called their evangelistic ministry, Send the Light.
Little did Verwer expect that out of those fledgling efforts God would birth the international, interdenominational OM in the years to come, with obedience to the Great Commission at its heart.
No longer would the vehicle be a beat-up truck traversing dusty border crossings, but converted cruise liners traversing the high seas, bringing a floating bookfair open to the public wherever they docked.
Currently, OM’s Doulos Hope is under renovation, but the Logos Hope continues to be operational.
And, from Verwer and his two friends, OM’s team now numbers some 5,500 hailing from a myriad of nationalities, all of whom work in partnership with the local church in 120 countries worldwide.
Legacy of love
In his final video blog, which was filmed from his hospice room and posted on his Facebook on Easter Sunday (April 9), Verwer spoke in response to questions on what he thought his legacy would be for the next generation: “Number one, I hope it will be love, revolution of love.
“There are hundreds and hundreds of millions of people that have not yet been reached.”
“That’s what OM was really born with, but of course combined with reaching people, combined with prayer. Nothing was ever sort of isolated in packages.
“The second thing is, I hope people will remember when I tried to pour out my heart in my book, Messiology.
“The book is way beyond that title, and I pray people will read it because it has a lot of the most radical stuff that I have ever said and it’s been acknowledged by thousands of people. That book is in about 30 languages; that this is something that needs to be brought back deeply into the church, giving a vital blow to legalism.
“I pray also that when people think of me they’ll remember the passion to see everyone in the world have the opportunity to hear or read the Gospel. We celebrate all the groups that are doing that.
“I’m the first person to ever list all the organisations that have reached over a hundred million with the Gospel. Quite amazing. But there are hundreds and hundreds of millions of people that have not yet been reached.
“Finally, just perseverance. It will get rough and tough. It certainly has for me in these past few years, but somehow you got to keep on keeping on, somehow remembering to be steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord.
“God bless you. Hope to hear from some of you. We’re trusting Him for greater things in the days to come.”
A profound loss
Expressing OM Singapore’s grief, Lawrence Tong, OM International Director, said: “George was passionate about Jesus, passionate for God’s Word, and passionate for the lost. I believe he was God’s man for the 20th century, who changed the course of modern mission.
“Our exuberant and inspirational brother will be greatly missed, both within our organisation and the wider world.”
“World missions have become messier, no thanks to Christian holiday trips”: OM founder George Verwer
“Lives are perishing as we read this”: The Church rallies worldwide support for people fleeing Ukraine
“God directed me from the beginning”: Singaporean Lawrence Tong on leading Operation Mobilisation
“Through thick and thin, God has delivered. He will again”: OM International on massive disruptions to missions worldwide
We are an independent, non-profit organisation that relies on the generosity of our readers, such as yourself, to continue serving the kingdom. Every dollar donated goes directly back into our editorial coverage.
Would you consider partnering with us in our kingdom work by supporting us financially, either as a one-off donation, or a recurring pledge?Support Salt&Light