Please Join the Support Team for our Two ANS ‘Senior Citizens’ and Be Blessed
By Dan Wooding, Founder ASSIST News Service
LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS – December 27, 2017) — We have two Senior Citizens here at our ASSIST News Service (ANS) office in Southern California. One was born of British missionary parents in Nigeria, West Africa, and the other came into this world in the basement of her home in Aston, Birmingham, England, during a German bombing raid during the dark and early days of World War II.
Both of them receive a small British Senior Citizens pension, and no USA Social Security, and they are forced to reach into their hard-earned savings each month to help them continue their media ministry to the Persecuted Church around the world.
They live a very frugal life, but couldn’t be happier, as they continue to serve the Lord in this way through ASSIST which, by the way, stands for “Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times.”
You guessed it. I’m talking about myself and Norma, my dear wife, who has described our life together as being “like a roller coaster ride.” This is because of all that we have seen and experienced together during our extraordinary marriage of more than 54 years.
That includes having two lovely sons, Andrew and Peter, who are both now serving the Lord back in the UK, and our six lovely grandkids there.
On the day we linked our lives together — July 13, 1963 — at Aston Parish Church in Birmingham, neither of us had the slightest idea of how our marriage would pan out, especially as both of us had rather boring office jobs at the time. But it all started to turn around for us when, within a short time, our first son, Andrew, arrived, and we then became wardens of Hill Farm, Europe’s first drug rehabilitation farm based in rolling hills of Worcestershire.
Sadly, that turned out to be a near disaster for us, which is described in the first of my many books, “Junkies are People Too,” and resulted in Norma coming close to a complete nervous breakdown, and myself being totally humiliated by the failure of my work with the addicts, and so we had to pick up the pieces and start again with our life together.
I had always wanted to be a journalist and writer, and after penning the book (published by Scripture Union) that chronicled my failure, that mess turned into a blessing, as shortly afterwards, I was able to secure a job with Billy Graham’s British newspaper, “The Christian,” which, at the time, was the oldest evangelical paper in the world and we moved to London, with our two sons (Peter had since joined us). I had a wonderful year with the paper and was able to interview fascinating people like Coretta Scott King just before she spoke at her late husband’s memorial service at St. Paul’s Cathedral.
But then came a huge shockwave when the Billy Graham Board decided to shut down The Christian, because they claimed it was losing money, and all of us were out on the streets with only two weeks’ salary to keep us going.
So, here I was, not having much of an academic background — I’d left school in Birmingham at the age of 15 with few qualifications — and so I didn’t think I would be able to get another newspaper job, but once again, I saw the Lord at work. David Winter, a BBC producer friend, who had heard of my situation, suggested that I should try and join a secular newspaper, as he said there were “so few believers” in the British media.
And, to my great surprise, I managed to get a reporting job with the Middlesex County Times, a weekly based in Ealing, West London, after the editor, Burt Munday, who had once been a shorthand writer for Winston Churchill during World War II, discovered that I had worked for The Christian, which, he said, was printed at the same shop as his paper, and consequently, he was aware of my writing. I eventually became the paper’s Chief Reporter, and was with them for five years, and I was also a “stringer” for all of the British national newspapers, including The Times (of London,) with the handle, “Wooding of Ealing.”
As I was becoming well-known to the news editors of the various papers, including the many tabloids, I was given a staff job with the Sunday People, the then second largest circulation paper in the UK, and which was described by some as the “Sunday Peephole,” because of the type of scandalous journalism it was known for.
Quite naturally, Norma had some trepidation when I moved into the murky world of the notorious British tabloids where I eventually became a senior reporter with Sunday People and later joined its sister paper, the Sunday Mirror, also as a senior reporter, but I paid a big price for that so-called success, as I all but lost my faith as a result of spending so much time digging into the dirt of Britain’s underbelly.
On many evenings, I would weave my way home completely drunk and, although I was building quite a name for myself as a journalist, I was becoming very unsuccessful as a husband and father, and we came close to splitting up.
But her prayers for me were eventually answered when, one night, in a smoky bar called the “Stab-in-the Back,” an off Fleet Street pub for Mirror Group journalists, where I was once again intoxicated, a miracle occurred. What happened was an old friend, Ray Barnett, who was born in Colerain, Northern Ireland, and now lives in British Columbia, came into the pub on a special mission from God — to literally save my life. He knew that I was heading for serious trouble with my drinking, and also because had also been the subject of several death threats, including one from an Irish terror group. (Norma also had received a death threat from a London gangster).
Ray, who later founded the African Children’s Choir, patiently watched as I continued to knock back pint after pint of my favorite beer, and then he pounced, suddenly challenging me to give my life back to Christ, quit my life in the tabloids, and go with him to Uganda to write a book with him called “Uganda Holocaust,” about the shocking eight years of misrule by Idi Amin, when some 300,000 Christians were killed during that period by him and his Islamic thugs.
So there, in that rather seedy bar, I prayed to recommit my life to Christ, handed in my notice at the paper where I was working, and soon we were in Uganda, for a life-changing experience.
As we crisscrossed the country, I became so impressed with the courageous believers we were meeting in that devastated country that, at the end of the trip, I knelt by my bedside at the Namirembe Guest House in Kampala, and told the Lord that I wanted to spend the rest of my life serving the Persecuted Christians of the world.
And that is what I’ve done ever since, with the full support of Norma.
After Uganda Holocaust” came out, I was hired for two years to write a series of books for Brother Andrew’s ministry, Open Doors, which had me travelling the world to chronicle the stories of these brave Christians. One was called God Smuggler to China, which I co-authored with Brother David and Sara Bruce, and was about “Project Pearl,” the daring delivery, in June 1981, of one million Bibles into China by a tugboat and barge manned by twenty dedicated missionaries.
Although I was away from home for long periods, Norma never complained, and told me that she was “just glad that I was now back serving the Lord.”
Then, back in 1982, I received a visit at our then home in Walton-on-Thames, Surrey, from Dr. Dale Kietzman, one of the then leaders of Open Doors International, asking if I would like to make the “Big Move” across the “Big Pond” to become media director of the US branch of the ministry.
This was a big decision, and so Norma and I gathered the boys together and asked them how they felt about moving to America, and they both agreed, and so on June 28, 1982, we sold up everything and boarded a Pan Am flight from Heathrow Airport to Los Angeles, and so began the next chapter of our lives.
But not too long afterwards, both Andrew (first) and later Peter, gave their lives to the Lord, and announced that they were returning to the UK to serve there as missionaries with Youth With A Mission. So, with mixed feelings, we bade farewell to them, and Norma, despite the heartbreak of losing her sons, bravely stayed with me. It was a real blow to her, but she loyally continued to support me in any way she could.
After about five years with Open Doors, we felt the tug of the Lord to start ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times), and Dr. Kietzman, who had since left Open Doors, put together our non-profit papers, and we formed a Board and began this new ministry.
Right from the start, we made a decision that none of us would receive a regular salary from ASSIST, but instead trust the Lord to touch the hearts of friends to send along donations to help support us as “Media Missionaries.”
We have lived like this now for more than twenty-five years, and we have lived a life of faith, trusting the Lord to supply our needs.
I have just celebrated my 77th birthday, and Norma is a year younger, and we are praying that maybe God would touch your heart to join our “Senior Citizen” support team and help us with a monthly gift (tax-deductible in the US), or a one-off year-old donation for our personal support.
There are two ways you can do this:
1) You can go to https://www.assistnews.net, and then scroll down to where it says DONATE TO ASSIST NEWS, and there you can either make a one-off gift, or enroll to make a monthly gift, either of which would be so appreciated. (All gifts in the USA are tax-deductible.)
2) If you prefer to send either a one-off or regular monthly check, just make it out to ASSIST and mail it to PO Box 609, Lake Forest, CA 92609, USA. (If you are sending a check, could you let me know at firstname.lastname@example.org, so I can pass along the good news onto Norma.) As we are fast approaching the end of the year, if your envelope is dated December 31, 2017, or before, we can still give you a 2017 tax receipt.
Your giving will allow us to continue helping to publicize through ANS, the plight of the millions of Christians around the world who are paying the ultimate price for their faith.
I am talking about the Christians in Iraq and Syria who are being slaughtered, and some are even being beheaded, by Islamic State (ISIS), and those in Pakistan who are daily being attacked and murdered by Islamic militants. Of course, you will all know of the shocking case of Asia Bibi, the courageous mother-of-five who is on death row in Pakistan for standing up for Jesus, and militants are even calling for her immediate execution.
Thank you for reading this story, and please pray about how you can personally help support these two elderly “Senior Citizens” who so need both your prayers and financial support, and who can’t thank you enough for being part of our ANS family.
I would also ask you to send Norma and I your prayer requests at email@example.com. We would be honored to pray for you.
Photo Captions: 1) Our two Senior Citizens: Norma and Dan Wooding, still hard at work in their mid-seventies on an ANS reporting assignment in Hollywood, California. (Photo: Bryan Seltzer). 2) Dan as a baby being held by his missionary mother, Anne Wooding, shortly after his birth in Nigeria. 3) Andrew, Dan, Norma and Peter Wooding pictured in Sheffield, UK, during a visit to Britain. 4) Ray Barnett and Dan Wooding, after arriving at Entebbe Airport in Uganda. 5) Dan Wooding with Brother Andrew of “God’s Smuggler” fame, who whom Dan Wooding with for some seven years as a writer. 6) Norma and with their son, Peter, during a surprise visit he made to their home.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 77, is an award-winning winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, Alfred and Anne Wooding, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 54 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. Dan is the founder and international director of ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times) and the ASSIST News Service (ANS), and is the author of numerous books. He also has two TV shows and a radio show, all based in Southern California. He has reported for ANS from all over the world, and his most recent trip was to Northern Iraq.
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