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Monday, July 23, 2007

George Otis, Sr. passes away
He lived a non-stop life of “High Adventure”

By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
Dan Wooding, Raimundo Jimenez and George Otis, Sr., after George had appeared on the TV show, 'The Hollywood Connection.

LOS ANGELES, CA (ANS) -- George Otis, Sr., the man who pioneered Christian radio and television in the Middle East and influenced Christians around the world, passed away last weekend at the age of 90.

This news was revealed in a story from CBN News (www.CBNNews.com)  which said, “George Otis, Sr., had been the general manager of LearJet before he found Christ.

“Otis later founded the "Voice of Hope Radio Network" which can still be heard on every continent around the world.

“His energetic enthusiasm for the gospel helped him touch the lives of actors, athletes, and politicians, including Ronald Reagan.”

The Voice of Hope radio ministry was founded by George Otis in 1979 and began broadcasting in South Lebanon in an embattled area. What started as a small radio station, evolved into a global broadcasting network with bases throughout the world. When George Otis retired in 1999, Jackie Mitchum Yockey was appointed as the executive in charge of taking the ministry into the new millennium.

After twenty years, the Voice of Hope was forced to evacuate from South Lebanon as the Israeli military withdrew its presence from that area. Amid the chaos, High Adventure was able to be broadcasting again within forty days. Because of God's grace and timing, we are now for the first time in history, sending the Gospel to the nations live from Jerusalem.

In addition to the "Voice of Jerusalem", which broadcasts over the Sky Angel satellite network, we now broadcast a live streaming Internet station, "The Voice of Hope - Jerusalem".

Otis also founded Middle East Television (METV) and later passed it on to Pat Robertson, founder of CBN. On May 2, 2000 Middle East Television relocated to Cyprus.

I first became aware of George Otis Sr., when I joined Irish-Canadian Ray Barnett, who was running Lebanon Aid, under High Adventure Ministries, to bring help to the embattled people of Lebanon and we visited the Voice of Hope radio station shortly before it was blown up by terrorists.

I later met George several times in Southern California, and he was always bubbling with enthusiasm for his latest project. The last time I saw him was at the 85th birthday celebrations for another great character, Harald Bredesen, on Saturday, August 23, 2003, at the Beverly Hilton Hotel. (Bredesen died at the age of 88 in December of last year.)

Otis, who, like Bredesen, was deeply involved in the Charismatic revival in the United States, said in an interview, “Harald Bredesen is a rare person. He is one of the great big cylinders in the engine of the Charismatic revival which spawned thousands of churches and ministries and new broadcast organizations and enterprise that further the cause of the Lord.

“His ministry has changed our nation and brought about so many TV stations and networks. Harald had a part in all of that as he was involved with Pat Robertson at CBN and TBN, 100 Huntley Street in Canada; in fact for all of those, he was the praying engine behind them.”

One person who was deeply affected by George Otis, Sr., was entertainer Pat Boone, who said he and his wife were led into the experience of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit by Otis.

Boone told me in an interview, “I consider Harald Bredesen and George Otis to be my two Holy Spirit fathers. George was the one who led Shirley [his wife] and me into the Baptism of the Holy Spirit then he introduced me to Harald, his dear friend, and Harald just came right along side like the Paraclete [the word comes from the Koine Greek word meaning ‘one who consoles - a comforter’ or ‘one who intercedes on our behalf - an advocate’] and led me into fuller commitment and understanding of God.”

Ronald Reagan

Ronald Reagan

Steven Lawson, writing in Charisma talked about the influence that both Bredesen and Otis had on Ronald Regan. He said, “Bredesen was with [Pat] Boone and evangelist George Otis Sr. on another much-celebrated visit, this time with then-California Gov. Ronald Reagan. Otis told Reagan that if he remained faithful he would someday occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. With Otis on one side of Reagan and Bredesen on the other, the group joined hands and prayed.”

Eric Tiansay and Adrienne S. Gaines, also writing in Charisma, said, “Some Christian leaders say Reagan felt a sense of calling to the presidency. Christian broadcaster and author George Otis said he prophesied to then-Gov. Reagan at his home in the late 1960s that he would one day occupy 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.--if he walked uprightly before God. "We realized we had heard the voice of God," said Otis, who was accompanied by entertainer Pat Boone and evangelist Harald Bredesen at the meeting.

“Reagan acknowledged the prophecy to Boone after his first inauguration in 1981, indicating that he felt guided by a sense of divine purpose, Otis said. Observers have said that Reagan's role in ending the Cold War, stimulating the economy and restoring a sense of optimism to America helped the nation through a critical juncture in its history.”

Goodbye George. We will miss you and so will the millions of people whose lives you touched!

Note: I would like to write a further article about George Otis, Sr., and would welcome memories of him from his many friends. Just e-mail your material to Dan Wooding at danjuma1@aol.com


Dan Wooding is an award winning British journalist now living in Southern California with his wife Norma. He is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS). He was, for ten years, a commentator, on the UPI Radio Network in Washington, DC. Wooding is the author of some 42 books, the latest of which is his autobiography, "From Tabloid to Truth", which is published by Theatron Books. To order a copy, go to www.fromtabloidtotruth.com. danjuma1@aol.com.

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