Celebrating the legacy of George Verwer
Our founder’s earthly mission is accomplished, and now he is with the Lord. Well done, good and faithful servant!
George Verwer
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George Verwer
United States | United Kingdom
George Verwer was born in New Jersey, USA, in 1938. When he was 14 years old, a woman named Dorothea Clapp gave him a copy of the Gospel of John. Mrs. Clapp prayed for 18 years for the students at George’s school to become passionate Jesus followers and take His message to the ends of the earth. Three years later, George attended a Billy Graham rally in New York City, where he made a personal commitment to Christ. His entire life was changed.

Inspired by Jesus’ commission to make disciples, George began sharing his faith with fellow students. Within a year, two hundred had chosen to follow Christ. At college in Tennessee, George became burdened for those without access to the Bible, and in 1957, he and two friends sold some of their possessions to fund a road trip to Mexico; taking 20,000 Spanish-language tracts and 10,000 Gospel booklets. The trip led to many more and fanned the flame of George’s conviction to share God’s Word with those who’d never heard it.

Moving to Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, Illinois, George was confident of God’s call on his life. He blazed a trail for world mission, motivating others in nights of prayer and planning further literature distribution ventures. It was at Moody that George met Drena Knecht, who would become his wife.

In 1960, George and Drena were married. They prioritized their service to the Lord and sold some of their wedding gifts to fund a six-month outreach to Mexico City before moving to Spain, where they established what would become OM’s work there. While in Europe, George smuggled Bibles into Communist-controlled countries, but after being arrested and deported, he took time to reflect. During a time of private prayer in Vienna, Austria, George climbed a tree and saw a group of young people boarding a bus. At that moment, the name Operation Mobilization sprang to his mind, with the idea of mobilizing ‘busloads’ of young people into mission.

Under George’s exuberant leadership and fueled by the passion of believers from many nations to reach those who had never heard the Good News, OM expanded in the 60s, 70s and 80s: first, across Europe and into the Middle East, then with volunteers crewing ocean-going ships. Logos, the first of five vessels, was launched in 1971, and since then more than 49 million people have visited the onboard book fairs, with over 70 million portions of Scripture distributed during port calls in 151 countries.

After a time living and establishing ministry in India, George and Drena, along with their three children, settled in London, England; where George continued to emphasize radical discipleship within OM and focused on ministry sustainability.

George led OM until 2003, then concentrated on special projects, traveling and speaking on global mission at thousands of gatherings worldwide. His authentic lifestyle and zeal for the spread of the gospel have motivated countless individuals and churches into more intentional mission involvement.

Rarely seen without his world map jacket or inflatable globe, George always prayed for the nations and current issues. He was energized by encouraging others and keeping in contact with thousands of friends and ministry partners through letters, emails and phone calls.

George wrote several books, including Revolution of Love, Out of the Comfort Zone, Messiology and Confessions of a Toxic Perfectionist.

Messages of Remembrance
A missions speaker came to our church in Edina, MN & while speaking, he stopped, pointed at me, and said, "Have you sent any young people with OM?" I'd never heard of it. That summer we sent 16 to Belgium, the beginning of my friendship with George.
Jarol Duerksen
Jesus led me to work with George as his "Go-for" in 1979-80. Working his book table at many meetings, George preached "radical discipleship". I came away changed, and with a wife, Eva Edvinsson. OM Reunion is July 9 in Akron. Read his "Messiology"
John Herberich
Growing up with George in Wyckoff New Jersey and knowing him almost all of our lives through Sunday school, Boy Scouts, and getting to know Jesus brings forth a flood of memories. George has been the most true, and honest follower of Jesus I know.
Charley Shotmeyer
George inspired me during my first summer mission trip to London in 1988 to pray for the world and use Operation World book. We have 3 globes in our home!! The new OW app is very useful and reminds me to continue to pray for our globe. Ex-Douloid :)
Annelie Hubinette
Jorge impacted my life more than any Christian. Our time together was probably less than I spent with most Christians. The most gifted personal and corporate communicator so many lessons so grateful for his legacy, his writings and his example. 🙏💖
Lori Degler
A life given to God. That was the life of George Verwer. George was so instrumental in the formation of my new faith. His heart for Christ was so contagious. Months ago, I was surprised to receive two boxes of unsolicited books from George.
Chris Garnet
George Verwer's passion for mission stirred and confirmed the call God had on my life for missions. He spoke at my graduation from Millar College of Bible in Saskatchewan Canada. We just saw him at Urbana in Dec. 2022
Debbie Merritt
George spoke at our church in 1996 before the West Coast Tour of the Logos II, and I will forever be indebted for how the Lord used him in my life, especially in the launch of MissionConnexion Northwest in 2001, and since.
Bill MacLeod
George Verwer – a hero of the faith and promoted to glory. I hear George’s own voice, echoing that of Paul in 1 Corinthians 11:1, ‘Follow my example, as I have followed the example of Christ.’
Rev. Canon J. John
I want to thank God for George, for his life, for OM and all it’s meant. I thank God I got to meet George, that I ever got to know him, and that I got to see the work of his ministry and his heart that has touched millions of lives around the world.
Loren Cunningham (YWAM Founder)
Dorothea Clapp gave George the book of John and put him on what she called her “Holy Ghost prayer hit list." Does prayer work? You bet it does! OM continues to touch the world with the Good News of Jesus Christ. George Verwer was used mightily by God
Franklin Graham (Samaritan's Purse)
At college, God used George Verwer to light a fire in my heart to hold nothing back from Jesus and His purpose in the world. I praise God for the fruit of his life in mine. I will see George in glory but until then I want to follow in his footsteps.
David Platt (Radical)
From a summer in France with OM, God called me to a life long ministry here. How i thank God for GV & OM and all i learned in my two years there. A tribute goes to Drena, a great woman behind a great servant for God’s kingdom. Soli Deo Gloria!
Ilka Hanke Fauveau
Thank God for an example of passion and commitment that George has left. I met George only once. I asked how did he make it out through really tough challenges for so many years. His answer, "Learn to encourage yourself". I hold on to his advice.
Christine Jacob
Me & My Whole Family(son still small/daughter not in photo)had a Privileged to meet Our OM Boss George Verwer in this Church in Holland. We miss and love You George. GOD BlessYou/GOD Bless OM.From The Solidum/Nilsen Family❤❤❤❤❤❤❤
Peter Solidum
George and I began exchanging letters in the mid 1980s, soon after I had fully surrendered to Christ. He was a tremendous encouragement to me. I’m grateful for his kindness, and for his example of living fully for the Lord. Shalom to Drena and fam.
Matt Freije
I met George at Verwer in2011 at a Broadcasters Conference he gifted me with several of his books. The passion for lost Children of the Kingdom was ablaze... to this day! PTL such a privilege & sacred trust!
Maralee Dawn
Christian greetings to you all. I'm Dr prof sihlangu from south africa. One thing ihave learned from the man of God is love he loved his work that was doing for the Lord is the man who open my eyes to see the need of gospel to Or they nations
Prof samuel Sihlangu
I will miss my friend, George Verwer, who was ushered into Heaven recently. He will be remembered by many who was led by the Holy Spirit.
Edward Udell Sr
Although I did not Know George personally, I have been blessed by his mission. Visiting the ship when it docks and receiving regular updates has been a constant source of blessing in my life. To the family and members of the mission keep the faith.
Henrietta Campbell
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