Where does a great vision begin? For this story, try Paris. In the summer of 1950, Lowell and Earline Perry visited with Maurice and Marie Hall in Paris to brainstorm ideas for broadcasting the gospel throughout the world. Six years later, Lowell Perry—with his fresh doctor’s degree from Northwestern—had concluded that shortwave would be the best medium for worldwide broadcast of the message of Jesus.
While Director of Radio and Television (1948-68) at Abilene Christian in Abilene, Texas, Lowell published an article, “The Sleeping Giant,” envisioning possibilities for shortwave transmission. “This sleeping giant [shortwave broadcasting] has only begun to stir. If he were sufficiently motivated, he has the power to take the gospel to the entire world within a few years’ time. . . . [We] need to realize the potential of this electronic giant and avail ourselves of this excellent opportunity . . . .”
He continued research through the 60’s and 70’s, and in April of 1975 met Charles Whittle. The two men were kindred spirits both in evangelistic fervor and in their “Let’s make it happen!” spirit. Gathering others around for support and counsel, Lowell Perry, Maurice Hall, and Charles Whittle led the group to formally charter “World Christian Broadcasting Corporation” in 1976.
The first annual meeting of the new corporation was in February, 1977, in Abilene, Texas. At that meeting, the decision was made that Lowell Perry and others would look for a site. On Friday, March 18, Lowell and two others—Ken Ferguson and Hal Frazier—left on a private plane for the Caribbean area. One week later, flying over the island of Martinique, their plane broke apart, killing all three men.
The next day, on the door to Dr. Perry’s office was posted this notice: “Dr. Lowell Perry was killed March 25, 1977, serving his Lord. He died in a plane crash in the Caribbean on a journey to establish a Christian broadcasting station—a life-long dream.” He was eulogized by fellow professor Dr. Rex Kyker in these words:
His vision was global. His work in South America and other countries shows he was not isolated to this campus. In his 29 years of service to Abilene Christian University he sought to inspire and train Christians for world wide evangelization. He believed that the mission of the church is to tell the world. He gave his life carrying out the commission to go teach all nations. Perhaps his death will cause others to live in hope of the Gospel. If world-wide transmission of New Testament Christianity is an “impossible dream” for some, it was not for Lowell. He believed with his whole being that “with God all things are possible.” He believed if we make a beginning, God will bring an end. He never despaired. His cheerful optimistic outlook and outreach will continue to inspire all who knew him.
In Lowell Perry’s spirit, the grieving Board of Directors of World Christian Broadcasting continued the work he started, and within 6 years had built the first station in Anchor Point, Alaska, which continues its broadcast ministry 20 hours every day. Lowell’s widow, Earline, remains World Christian Broadcasting’s most enthusiastic supporter, and served on the Board of Directors for many years. The vision lives on.
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