Home Christian News George Verwer, Founder of Operation Mobilization, Dies at Age 84

George Verwer, Founder of Operation Mobilization, Dies at Age 84

George Verwer
Eva Rindfuss, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

George Verwer, founder of missions organization Operation Mobilization, has died at the age of 84.

While Verwer has passed away, Operation Mobilization will continue to carry out the vision he set for it, which is to “catalyze 25,000 vibrant communities of Jesus followers every year by 2030.”

Through short-term experiences, volunteer opportunities, internships, and full-time missionary work, Operation Mobilization focuses on “releasing other believers to display Jesus’ love through their work.”

“God is moving in profound ways and at warp speed,” says the organization’s website.

Operation Mobilization Announces the Passing of George Verwer

In a tribute to the organization’s founder and leader, Operation Mobilization recounted George Verwer’s life and faith.

Verwer was born in New Jersey in 1938. When he was 14 years old, a woman handed him a copy of the Gospel of John. This woman, Dorothea Clapp, intentionally prayed for the students at Verwer’s school. Clapp desired for every student to become a Jesus follower and to “take his message to the ends of the earth.”

At a Billy Graham event three years later, Verwer dedicated his life to Jesus.

While in college in Tennessee, Verwer became burdened for those who didn’t have access to the Bible. So he and some of his friends sold some of their belongings to raise money to purchase and hand-deliver thousands of Spanish tracts and booklets to Mexico.

Verwer later headed to Moody Bible Institute to further his education. There, he met Drena, and the two were married in 1960. Drena shared Verwer’s love and passion for the unreached. The couple sold many of their wedding gifts to fund a six-month mission trip to Mexico City.

Later, the two moved to Spain and continued their ministry. Verwer was arrested and deported after smuggling Bibles into nearby Communist countries. After this troubling time, Verwer sought God’s direction. He often told of the moment he was sitting quietly in a tree and saw a group of young people getting on a bus. This simple yet profound sight birthed an “idea of mobilizing ‘busloads’ of young people into mission.”

And that vision quickly became a reality. In the 60s, 70s, and 80s, Operation Mobilization experienced great growth throughout Europe and the Middle East. One example of growth included groups of volunteers who worked on cruise ships creating onboard book fairs. “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,” according to the organization.