John grew up in Alliston, just north of Toronto, while his future wife Marian grew up in Whitby, east of Toronto. Their paths crossed when John started work at the nearby Pickering nuclear generating station. They were married in 1986 and spent their first year of marriage serving as a host couple at the Seafarer’s Centre in the Port of Montreal, Que. They welcomed seamen from over 60 different nations, sharing hospitality and distributing Scriptures in their languages. However, there were some languages spoken by the seamen that did not have Scripture. It was there that God planted a seed in their hearts that eventually led them to join Wycliffe Bible Translators.
John and Marian joined Wycliffe in 1992 as career missionaries and headed out for Africa in 1998, where they raised their six children. Marian home-educated their children and assisted personnel. John’s original role was supporting the different Bible translation teams in areas of solar electricity, computer and networking, Internet and radio communications. John’s role has since shifted to providing media-related support to the Bible translation teams. This includes both training and working with the teams in recording audio, video creation, film dubbing, creating phone apps and such. In language communities where traditionally information was passed through stories, proverbs and songs, media can be a tool to aid the local church in communicating their translated Scriptures.
Their hope that the investment in media will bear fruit can be summarized by something the pastor from their days at the Seafarer’s Centre shared. He started by stating, “You can lead a horse to water,” then paused before continuing with a smile. “And yes, you cannot make it drink, but you can add salt to their hay.” May media be the salt that will whet people’s appetite for God’s Word.