Thursday, May 30, 2013
A Special 50th Wedding Anniversary Message from Dan Wooding (with pictures)
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries
LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS) -- Dear friends: I do hope you are all keeping well. I would especially like to welcome all of our new subscribers to ANS and trust that you will be both blessed and challenged with the many stories that you are receiving into your in box each day.
It began when I started an evangelistic group (with my sister Ruth) called The Messengers, which was a team of young Christians that, each Saturday, night would fan out from my father’s church, The Sparkbrook Mission, to take the Gospel to the local coffee bars and pubs (bars) of the area.
We then became involved in working with drug addicts and helped to start Hill Farm, Europe’s first drug rehabilitation farm, and became its first wardens. Our two sons, Andrew and Peter, came along and, after a time at Hill Farm, I finally got into journalism and we made the exiting move from Birmingham to London, where I became the Chief Reporter with Billy Graham’s newspaper, The Christian.
Sadly, after a year, the paper was closed down, and I moved into very different world of secular journalism, working for a series of London-based newspapers, including two of Britain’s large circulation tabloids, the Sunday People and the Sunday Mirror.
If that wasn't enough, we began to get death threats from people in London’s Underworld, and on one occasion, when I was overseas, a gangster I had been writing about, contacted the Sunday People to say that he had been told that someone was going to try and kill Norma. Fortunately, nothing happened, but it was all most disconcerting. I also received a threat from a terrorist group for something I had written.
The turning point came about one night in the 1970's when I was, once again, drunk in my “watering hole,” the “Stab in the Back” pub, where my many tabloid colleagues gathered to verbally stab each other in the back. Suddenly, to my surprise, a dear friend, Irish-Canadian, Ray Barnett, appeared in the pub and soon began to challenge me to give my life my to Christ and walk out of my tabloid career and “do something worthwhile” with my life.
Believe it or not, there in that smoky bar, I recommitted my life to Christ and then handed in my notice.
Now I was free of my work in Fleet Street, Ray asked me join him on a dangerous trip to Uganda to chronicle the story of the terrible eight years of misrule of Idi Amin, during which some 300,000 Christians were murdered by Amin and his thugs. Idi Amin had just fled the country and Ray suggested that we worked together on a book called “Uganda Holocaust”, which was later published by Zondervan.
It was a turning point in my life, for after meeting some of the most amazing Christians I had ever met, I knelt by my bed in the Namirembe Guest House in Kampala, Uganda, where we were staying, and told the Lord that I wanted to spend the rest of my life writing and broadcasting about Christians like these who didn’t have a voice out to us in the West.
After the book was published, I was hired by Brother Andrew’s ministry, Open Doors, to write a series of books for them about Christian persecution, and in 1982, they asked me if I would like to move to Southern California to be their media director.
So, once again, Norma stood with me and even though it was a big wrench for her to leave her mother and sister in the UK, she and the boys came over “The Big Pond” with me, and so began another chapter in our lives.
But even that proved difficult for her, as both Andrew and Peter eventually returned back to Britain, after both committing their lives to Christ, and began working with Youth With A Mission. She missed them terrible, and still does. They are now both now married and we have six grandchildren in the UK.
When we started ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) more than 20 years ago, she again stood with me and agreed that we would not take a regular salary from the ministry, but trust God to help supply all of our needs. It was another step in our walk of faith.
It has been quite a ride for both of us, as each month we have seen our support drop sometimes dramatically, and recently we have been having to dip into our savings at about $1,000 each month to just keep going. We both live very frugally, but I thought you would like to know just a little of our background, and see if that maybe some of you would like to join our support team, so that we do have to keep seeing our saving disappear in this way.
If you can help, all you have to do is to go to our secure site at: http://www.assistnews.net/assist/donations.htm and designate your gift for our support, the third item down on the page, under “Our Writers.”
If you prefer to send a check, just make it out to ASSIST and mail it to: ASSIST, PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA, and indicate on the envelope, "For the Support of Dan and Norma Wooding".
Blessings, Dan Wooding
PS. If you would like to read more about our life together, it is all contained in my autobiography called “From Tabloid to Truth,” which you can get at: http://www.assist-ministries.com/feedbkdan/indexbook1.htm
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