This World Mission’s Adventurer, Is Founder Of Operation Mobilization, One Of The World’s Largest Missionary Movements And, At 77. Is Still Traveling The World
By Dan Wooding, Founder of the ASSIST News Service
LAKE FOREST, CA (ANS – Jan. 15, 2016) – I have just viewed a powerful documentary called “George – For Real,” which tells the moving and inspiring story of one of my all-time favorite people, George Verwer, the founder and leader of one of the world’s largest missionary movements, Operation Mobilization (OM).
In the film, New Jersey-born George Verwer, 77, who now lives with his wife, Drena in the UK, takes the viewers on his travels all over the world, driven by a passion to see men and women come to faith. In “George – For Real” you will discover how George Verwer’s hunger for God was ignited during his turbulent teenage years and how God led him to ignite a dynamic global missionary movement.
The documentary, which has lots of clips from Verwer speaking on Moody Radio in Chicago, also includes Drena, his wife, doing something she rarely does — sharing with the viewers about her long marriage to George that has taken them all over the world with their children.
This marvelous “fly-on-wall” film was made by Malcolm Turner, the Executive Director of the UK-based Christian Television Association (CTA) — http://www.cta.uk.com — himself a former OM-er, and CTA’s Director of Programmes, Crawford Telfer, who both do their best to keep up with Verwer on his exhausting travels.
Turner and Telfer, along with the CTA crew, filmed Geroge on locations ranging from the serene waterways of Shropshire, to the hustle and bustle of Chicago, New York, Mexico City, Madrid, Singapore and Kathmandu, as well as on board Logos Hope, OM’s latest ship.
For over a year they followed this great visionary as he traversed the world on his numerous speaking engagements, and also taking much-needed time out.
“It was all we could do to keep up with him,” revealed Turner. “In his 77th year, he had the energy of a teenager, but the wisdom of a Solomon.
“With just over 60 years following Jesus under his belt (he celebrated his 60th spiritual birthday in Kathmandu) and as founder and director of one of the largest Christian missions, he has a deep well of Godly wisdom gained from sometimes painful experiences and many testing circumstances”.
And that was what the production team wanted to capture in their excellent documentary. In his very frank and honest style, George described his spiritual growth, from the early days of extremism and what he calls his “Pharisee streak”, to his “messy-theology” (when a few Christians get together, “there is a mess”) and his discovery of the depth of the grace and love of God who works his purposes out through all the imperfections, the messes and failures of his people. And all this against the fast moving back drop of the development of Operation Mobilization throughout the world.
Throughout the filming and editing, Malcolm and Crawford said they were “very conscious of God’s blessing on the project”.
“With extremely tight schedules and, in most places, very limited time to actually film George, there was plenty of potential for things to go wrong. They never did”, said Turner. “When we were bumped up to business class – it happened twice – we felt God’s smile.
“When we were delayed for a week in coming home from Kathmandu, due to a Turkish Airlines jet coming off the runway on a misjudged landing, we were so grateful to have completed all the filming, and could stay in our hotel until our flight eventually left”.
They also missed the devastating earthquake in Nepal by weeks – and were shocked to see on the news, places they had just filmed being destroyed. Mercifully no-one from the OM team in Nepal was injured, and they immediately got involved in the relief work.
The idea for the documentary came about some 18 months ago when Malcolm Turner and Crawford Telfer were sitting in the CTA office in Clevedon, Somerset, pondering their next production and it then when George’s name came up – and instantly they both knew that a documentary about George was to be their next production.
“The only snag was that George didn’t know – and when we approached him he was very unenthusiastic about the whole idea,” recalled Turner. “But several months of praying and seeking the wisdom of God, changed his mind. His only stipulation was that we’d have to fit in with his hectic schedule – not the best conditions for film making – but as we were to discover, this was to be one programme upon which God very clearly had his hand.”
I highly recommend “George – For Real,” as it is just that, a look at the amazing life of a real and totally honest man.
“George – For Real” is distributed in the UK by CWR (http://www.cwr.org.uk/store/p-1931-george-for-real-dvd.aspx#.Vplz74-cFjo) and Vision Video (https://www.visionvideo.com/dvd/501662D/george-for-real) in the US.
My advice is to get on your computer right now and order it. You won’t regret it.
To contact George Verwer, send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see a trailer of the documentary, please go to https://www.visionvideo.com/dvd/501662D/george-for-real.
To listen to my latest radio interview with George Verwer about the documentary, please go to http://oldassistnews.net/frontpageradiofiles/GeorgeVerwerFPRMono.mp3
Note: As a humorous aside. Many years ago George Verwer came to speak at the Sparkbrook Mission in Birmingham, England, where my father, Alfred Wooding, was the pastor for more than 30 years. After George had delivered a powerful message on missions, one of the members of the little church went over to George and told him, “Young man, if you continue to preach like that, you’ll go a long way.” How right he was!
Photo captions: 1) DVD cover of the documentary. 2) George holding up his world globe. 3) George and Drena Verwer. 4) This caricature of George Verwer was made by Graham Donald Kennedy. 5) The Logos Hope. 6) Dan Wooding interviews George Verwer at the Movieguide® Awards in Hollywood.
About the writer: Dan Wooding, 75, is an award-winning author, broadcaster and journalist who was born in Nigeria of British missionary parents, and is now living in Southern California with his wife Norma, to whom he has been married for more than 52 years. They have two sons, Andrew and Peter, and six grandchildren who all live in the UK. He is the author of some 45 books and has two TV programs and one radio show in Southern California, and has reported widely for ANS from all over the world. He has also been close friends with George Verwer for nearly 50 years. Dan has also been good friends Peter Conlan, who was involved in the production of the documentary.
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