The Birth of a Dream: Our International Story

During my tour of duty in the Marine Corps in the late 1950s, I witnessed with my own eyes what life was like outside the United States. While stationed on Okinawa, affectionately called “the Rock,” I was involved in evangelism, street meetings, Bible studies, and various projects designed to present the claims of Christ to the lost. I also lived on the main island of Japan for a brief period, which only further expanded my horizons.

That experience as a young man created within me a desire to minister to a broader base—to go beyond the familiarity of the United States and the comfortable realm of the expected, the only world I had understood up until then.

After 18 months away, I returned to the U.S. and to Cynthia with a new perspective on life and ministry. Of course, she had been tracking right with me through long letters back and forth that expressed our newfound passion for ministry. God had aligned her heart right alongside mine.

During those days, Cynthia and I became involved in a reading program that often covered missions-related subjects. We also seriously considered becoming actively engaged in a ministry outside the United States. God clearly closed that door. However, He kept our hearts open.

A number of years later, God led Cynthia and me into radio ministry. From the very beginning, it was our hope to broadcast in additional languages, reaching other cultures with the wonderful news of the Savior. Because such an outreach requires expertise, contacts, finances and, most importantly, the right person or persons to do the translating and broadcasting on site, we were forced to be patient and allow the Lord to open the doors in His time. While we waited, that dream didn’t disappear or diminish . . . it intensified.

God’s time finally came in 1987 when Insight for Living took its first major steps toward broadcasting outside North America. Among those closest to our hearts were the people of India. Perhaps the sheer number of people—the high density of the population—attracted us as much as anything. Of course, we had always been told of the difficulties connected with reaching India, but this only fueled our fire. Miraculously, God opened the doors, and our broadcast in India became the first direct foreign-language outreach of Insight for Living.

Over the years at Insight for Living, God has built bridges to other international fields of ministry in such miraculous ways—the kinds of details that weave together in such a way that it could only be God’s hand at work. He has provided the means to reach Canada, Australia, Russia, Central and South America, Brazil, Europe, even the Middle East—first revealing the people’s desperate need for access to the clear and practical truths of God’s Word and then, one-by-one, providing for that need through the faithful support of our greater Insight for Living family. We continue to see the fulfillment of this mission as, through our trained pastors, we equip indigenous pastors to proclaim the gospel, educate and mentor local church leaders, publish biblical resources, and provide biblical counseling to spiritually hungry people right where they live.

God has graciously brought to reality the dream He birthed in my heart 50 years ago while on a Rock so far from home. And the story has just begun! May His Name continue to be lifted up and His Word broadcast far and wide for generations to come through Insight for Living.

Copyright © 2011 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc.

About the author


Pastor Chuck Swindoll

Pastor Chuck Swindoll has devoted his life to the accurate, practical teaching and application of God’s Word. Since 1998, he has served as the senior pastor-teacher of Stonebriar Community Church in Frisco, Texas, but Chuck’s listening audience extends beyond a local church body. As a leading program in Christian broadcasting since 1979, Insight for Living airs around the world. Chuck’s leadership as president and now chancellor emeritus of Dallas Theological Seminary has helped prepare and equip a new generation for ministry.

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