This is a big year for World Outreach. We’re celebrating our 90th anniversary as a Mission Agency. To celebrate this anniversary, we’re going to be looking back at our heritage through our 2022 Nations Issues.
We enthusiastically invite you to join us as we take you on a journey from our humble, faith-filled beginnings to be poised at one of the most pivotal moments in modern day missions
A Man Full of Faith With a Global Vision
Len Jones is recognised as a missionary- statesman, a man full of faith and vision, and dedicated to the cause of missions.
Len Jones was born in Fremantle, Western Australia, on 10th August, 1900, the youngest son of a Welsh coal miner, John Jones, and his wife, Jane, who’d emigrated to Australia to work in the gold mines. Not much is known of his early life, but as a young adult Len worked as an Accountant in Melbourne.
In the early 1920s, he was converted at a Methodist Church in South Melbourne. Responding to a call of God to ministry, he attended the Melbourne Bible Institute and trained under prominent Anglican minister – Rev C.H. Nash.
Len preached regularly in Melbourne and Tasmania before ministering overseas in the USA, Canada, Great Britain and New Zealand. On one of his trips to New Zealand, he met his future wife, Sheila Biggin.
However, Len had made plans to travel to Canada to complete his studies. Sheila followed later and married Len in Winnipeg, Canada, circa 1928. They had four children: Bedford (11.07.1929), Phoebe (17.08.1930), Seth (26.4.1930) and Jason (11.4.1936).
The late 1920s brought change that would impact Len‘s life forever…he received a distinct and life-changing call to missions.
The late 1920s brought change that would impact Len‘s life forever. At the time, Len pastored a relatively large church (for its day) in London. During his tenure, he was invited to lecture at the Danzig Bible College, subsequently relocating there in due course. While lecturing, he was asked to visit White Russia (now Belarus). It is here where he received a distinct and life-changing call to missions.
Len ministered in Eastern Europe until the Communist takeover in the late 20s and early 30s, after which he ministered among Slavic people in nations where the displaced Slavs had emigrated.
Tragically, Len and Sheila’s eldest son, Bedford, died at aged 21⁄2 of meningitis in late 1931.
In 1932, the still-grieving family moved back to Sheila’s birth country of New Zealand. It was here on 31st March, 1932, that Len registered the ‘Slavic and Oriental Mission’ (which is now known as ‘World Outreach’). Shortly afterward, he published the first edition of The Evidence (now the Nations Magazine) in 1932. For the next six years, Len travelled to the USA for large periods of time until the outbreak of World War Two.
During the war, Len served in charge of the Australian YMCA forces in the Middle East and the Pacific, holding a rank equivalent to a Lieutenant Colonel. After the War, he travelled extensively and made new contacts in other regions of the world. In 1965, the name of ministry was changed to ‘World Outreach’ to better reflect its reach into the Asia/Pacific region and some African countries.
Len authored five books – Confess It, Bloodied but Unbowed, Crucifixion with Christ, Sleuth Hound of Heaven, and Ignorance is Not Bliss. He studied ‘geography’ and became a ‘Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society’. In recognition of his outstanding work and service, Len received an honorary Doctor of Divinity degree from the University of Texas.
Len Jones died on 14th October, 1974, after a battle with prostate cancer.
He is recognised as a missionary- statesman, a man full of faith and vision, and dedicated to the cause of missions.
(This article can also be found in our Nations Magazine – Issue 1, 2022. Do you want to discover more about the World Outreach Nation Magazine? Take a look here.)