SAT-7’s Founder Dr. Terence Ascott has paid tribute to George Verwer, the founder of Operation Mobilization (OM), who passed away earlier this month.
Verwer inspired thousands of Christians to go on overseas missions and supported the development of other ministries, including SAT-7. He died on April 14 at age 84.
Dr. Ascott said, “George Verwer has had a profound impact on many lives, and Operation Mobilization’s short-term mission opportunities have introduced thousands to overseas service. Many who went out short-term with OM, myself included, ended up staying for what would become their life’s work.
“On a personal level, George was always faithful in staying in touch with and praying for us ex-OMer’s, even after we had moved on to serve with or lead other organizations… and there have been so many wonderful ministries that have grown out of the wider work of OM. SAT-7 is just one.”
Dr. Ascott’s book Dare to Believe! recounts his early days with OM, smuggling Christian literature into Eastern Europe and behind the Iron Curtain. He then went to Lebanon to help with a publishing start-up in Beirut before founding Middle East Media, which specialized in the production of Arabic Christian literature as a separate division of OM.
Paying tribute to Verwer this week, Dr. Ascott shared memories of their time together at OM, including a humorous account of how he feared he would kill the missionary leader during morning exercises at an OM conference in the early 1970s. “One morning, my partner for these was George, and the main exercise of that day was to carry your partner, piggy-back style, across the exercise area,” Dr. Ascott recalled. “I must have been twice George’s weight and was terrified it might kill him to have to carry me… but it didn’t!”
Dr. Ascott also recalled with fondness Verwer’s remarkable capacity for pastoral care. “George used to walk around conferences with a paper folder under his arm marked ‘SUPER-URGENT,’” he said. “In those early days of OM, he really had so many responsibilities to juggle, and yet he was so good at remembering people’s names and always had the time to stop and ask them how they were doing, physically, emotionally, and spiritually. What a disciple-maker!”
Verwer wrote the foreword to Dare to Believe!, describing it as an “honor and privilege” to do so.
You can read more about the book here.