The couple is returning to the UK as media missionaries with Mercy Projects led by Jeff Thompson in Murrieta, California.
LAKE FOREST, CA – Big changes are ahead for the award-winning ASSIST News Service and its founder, international author, broadcaster, Dan Wooding, and his wife of 55 years, Norma.
The couple have announced that they will be returning to the United Kingdom on the evening of Wednesday, March 28, 2018, to be close to their two sons, Andrew and Peter, and their six grandchildren, after living in Southern California since June of 1982.
“We are delighted to say that Jeff Thompson, founder/CEO of Mercy Projects www.mercyprojects.org based in Murrieta, California, will be taking over the running of ANS, which means that the news service will continue and will be able to bring our many stories from all over the world by our talented team of writers,” said Dan Wooding.
“I will also carry on with my media work — print, radio and television — but from Britain.”
Dan Wooding, 77, went on to explain why they are returning to the United Kingdom, saying, “We have been praying about this for some time now, as we have deeply missed being close to our family as they have grown up in their later years some thousands of miles away,” he said. “Both of our boys came over with us, committed their lives to Christ here in Southern California, and then returned to Great Britain to train as missionaries with Youth With A Mission. They went on to get married and produce a lovely group of grandkids for us.
“So, with that, and also my recent possible serious health problems, we felt the Lord guiding us to go back to spend our last few years with our family members.”
Both Dan and Norma said they wished ASSIST to continue and so they began searching for someone to take over the ministry who had a like-minded vision, and eventually, Jeff Thompson, who they have both known for many years, came to mind.
“I contacted Jeff, and he had no hesitation in agreeing to take over the running of ASSIST, which began in 1999,” said Dan. “Also, our wonderful board agreed to the change, and that made the way open for us to go home after all of these years.”
Jeff Thompson is founder and CEO of Mercy Projects (formerly Eastern European Outreach), a faith-based organization serving persecuted Christians and at-risk children in Russia, Ukraine, and Eastern Europe. Jeff is also the author of Leaving the American Sector, a fast-moving book which chronicles his time in Berlin with his wife, Paula, and family, when he shares about their exciting story of smuggling Bibles behind the Iron Curtain, preaching in Russian prisons, ministering in war-torn Kosovo, and reaching at-risk children.
He often takes Dan and Norma’s son, Peter Wooding, a well-known British TV reporter, on his many trips when he films stories from groups like TBN and CBN, and they will soon again be going to Ukraine for another outreach.
Jeff explained why he felt it was God’s Will to take-over ASSIST and the ASSIST News Service, also known as ANS.
“When Dan first approached me to see if Mercy Projects could take over, I immediately felt that this was the right move,” he said. “I had followed this fine ministry for many years and I knew that we could play a vital role in allowing it to continue, and also allow Dan and Norma to return to the UK, but still being deeply involved with the media side of the work.”
The couple will be leaving Los Angeles to fly to London Heathrow Airport on the evening of Wednesday, March 28, 2018, and then onto Manchester Airport, where they will be met by their two sons, and also Dan’s sister, Ruth Ross, who lives in Liverpool her husband, Allen.
“It should be a wonderful reunion of the Wooding clan,” commented Dan.
The Wooding family initially moved from London, England, to Orange County, California, in June of 1982, where Dan, after many years as a senior journalist with several of Britain’s top newspapers, became media director Open Doors USA, a ministry started by Dutch-born Brother Andrew, author of God’s Smuggler.
Dan, himself the author of numerous books, eventually left Open Doors USA and started ASSIST (Aid to Special Saints in Strategic Times), and then, after a period outside of journalism, he began the ASSIST News Service, after working with evangelist Billy Graham in 1992 as a writer during his historic Moscow, Crusade. He also worked with Mr. Graham in both Germany and Puerto Rico and wrote the cover story on Billy and Franklin Graham for the Saturday Evening Post, which was founded in 1821, and grew to become the most widely circulated weekly magazine in America.
Wooding has been hosting a weekly show called Front Page Radio on the KWVE Radio Network (www.kwve.com) and has been co-hosting Windows on the World with Dr. Garry Ansdell, senior pastor of Hosanna Christian Fellowship in Bellflower, California, and also Inside Hollywood with Dan Wooding, a 30-minute program about Christians in Hollywood, both of which are aired on the Holy Spirit Broadcasting Network (HSBN).
Once Dan is settled back in the UK, he plans to launch a new TV news show for HSBN with his son, Peter, with the title, On the Frontlines with Dan and Peter Wooding.
“We have had a wonderful time here in the United States, but change has always been something that Norma and I have embraced during our many years of marriage,” explained Dan. “So, this is just the next chapter in our rather unusual lives together.”
Part of that final chapter could be a Hollywood movie with the title of Twenty-Six Lead Soldiers, which tells the story of Dan and Norma’s eventful life as recorded in Dan’s autobiography of the same name, and has since been updated under the new name, From Tabloid to Truth.
“A wonderful Christian screenwriter, Claire Hutchinson, has already written the screenplay, and her husband, Terry Porter, a Hollywood agent, is now working with producers to get the project off the ground,” said Dan.
And in case you wonder what the title means, it comes from a quote from Karl Marx, who is reported to have once said, ‘Give me twenty-six lead soldiers, and I’ll conquer the world.’ He was talking about the 26 letters of the English alphabet and, in the old days of hot-metal printing, each character was called a lead soldier.
“Karl Marx did conquer the world for a time for evil, and I have always wanted to use my writing to conquer the world for good,” added Dan Wooding.