This is the fascinating true story of a twenty-something couple who left the security of the United States for the villages of Nazi-occupied Poland before the start of World War II, where they brought the gospel of personal Christianity to an oppressed people who knew only the heavy hand of the Roman Catholic church and the booted heel of Nazi occupiers. As the clouds of war closed in on them, they escaped by the skin of their teeth to become rural pastors in Montana, but only sufficiently long for the war to end. In 1950 they returned to war-ravaged Europe to reassemble the pieces of their pre-war ministry. With the looming threat of the Iron Curtain, Paul Williscroft extended his ministry, finding ways to penetrate political and military barriers throughout Eastern Europe with the gospel of peace. Their story reads like a novel, but it all happened. Paul and Gladys Williscroft had a mission in life: to offer faith, hope and love to people without hope in a world gone mad.
Gladys Williscroft (nee Buck) was born in 1912, attended the Northwest Bible Institute in Seattle, where she met and married Paul Williscroft. They traveled to Poland as missionaries, returned to Montana as WW II broke out (there their children Robert and Beverly were born), and returned to Europe in 1950, following the end of the conflict.
With the exception of several sojourns in the US to raise support funds, they spent the rest of Paul's life in Germany where they actively pursued religious education for German-speaking Europeans, children's religious education, and where they founded what was to become the largest religious publishing house in Europe: The Leuchter Verlag. When Paul passed away in 1987, Gladys returned to the US. She lived alternatively with Robert and Beverly, working on this book, and living her life to the fullest. She lived to see the book published, and passed away in 2002, in her 90th year.
From the secure life of a rural pastor in Montana to the shadow of the Iron Curtain, the life of Paul Williscroft reads like a novel. There is no fiction, however, in the fact that through personal risk and sacrifice he found ways to penetrate political and military barriers with the gospel of peace. Paul and Gladys Williscroft had a mission in life: to offer faith, hope and love to people who did not and could not know. Their mission was made possible by the ingenuity of those who persevere in love.
Mission Possible is the life story and testimony of Paul Williscroft, an Assemblies of God pastor and missionary to Germany and Eastern Europe for most of his life, as told by his devoted wife and ministry partner Gladys (Buck) Williscroft. It's an important book for several reasons.
First of all, it's the record of a humble servant of God who spent his life avoiding the religious limelight while never aspiring to be more than who God called him to be i.e. a teacher of the Word of God. That's a rare enough thing in this day of Christian celebrities, mega-church mindsets and flash-in-the-pan miracle ministries.
Secondly, this book is an important contribution to the history of missionary work in Europe, especially the Full-Gospel variety, from about 1938, when the Williscroft's first went to Poland, to 1987, when Paul passed away while still serving in Germany. The late 30s and WWII period are particularly fascinating as the Wiliscrofts had to flee Poland just as the Nazi and Soviet armies crossed the border and ignited WWII. The Williscrofts spent the war years pastoring churches in Montana and waiting for an open door to return to Europe.
Thirdly, this is really Gladys Williscroft's own story as she committed her life to partnering with her husband wherever the LORD led them. As such this is a great missionary memoir that carefully lays out the challenges and triumphs that accompany the missionary lifestyle. Paul Williscroft's calling was primarily in Christian education. He opened Bible Schools and taught theology, but mostly trained other Christian educators in the specialized area of children's ministry. This burden grew out of his own conviction that as the Nazis and Communists had specifically targeted children for indoctrination, the Church should do everything in its power to bring Gospel Truth to the same vulnerable audience. Sadly, Gladys and Paul failed to win their own children to Christ or to pursuing Gospel work, a heart-wrenching failure that cast a dark shadow over their later years of ministry. Nonetheless, Gladys published "Mission Possible" (in 2000, long after the passing of Paul) with the assistance of her eldest son, Robert (an accomplished author, artic explorer and submariner), who served as editor. It is a fitting memoir of a life well-lived.
If you have an interest in Christian biographies, missionary testimonies, or missionary history (especially as it relates to Europe, the Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism or Christian Education), Mission Possible is highly recommended.
This is a great book - Paul & Gladys Williscroft dedicated their lives to bringing the gospel and the message of God's love to the world. It is a book definitely worth reading and sharing with your friends.
Paul and Gladys Williscroft watched Hitler kidnap an entire generation of children and bend their minds and made a promise to their God to devote the rest of their lives to leading children to Christ and teaching them to live for God.
As newlyweds in prewar Europe, the Williscrofts got on the last train out of Poland and then the last train out of Danzig on the eve of the Nazi invasion. There were narrow escapes from Denmark and Norway as well. They returned almost as refugees to the United States, yet they lived for the time when they could return to Germany and pursue their mission.
I had the privilege of working with the Williscrofts near the end of their ministry. Paul Williscroft was a teacher, soul winner and prayer warrior till the day he died.
Read this story of an amazing unsung hero in the battle to bring the Gospel behind the Iron Curtain and be inspired to pursue the passions God has given you.
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