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Welcome to Nancy's Page

Nancy Woolnough
August 1991


"Keep your heart tender toward God" ...


These are the words Nancy often used to close her radio broadcasts.  Her friends and colleagues picked up the phrase and passed it on to generation after generation.  This is her story...

Nancy went to be with the Lord, Friday, Oct. 25, 2013 at age 93

Below is a summary of Nancy Woolnough�s life written by Nancy in 1995
when she was moving into Bradenton Missionary Village in Florida.

Italics are edited comments and links. 


bullet Jump back in time ~ Click a line below:
bullet After 1978 - Nancy's later years
bullet January 1953 to December 1978 - Nancy's Missionary Years
bullet 1958
bullet 1966
bullet University Years - 1944 - 1953
bullet 1949 and 1950, and again from 1952 to 1953
bullet 1950 - 1952
bullet 1947 - 1949
bullet 1947
bullet 1944 - 1947
bullet 1946
bullet 1943 - 1944: War Years
bullet 1943 to Feb. 1944
bullet Nancy's Family
bullet Before 1943
bullet Summary

After 1978 - Nancy's later years

I arrived in the village on February 27, 1995.  We'll start there.  Before Bradenton Missionary Village were 13 years in Georgia with 7+ years teaching radio at Toccoa Falls College.  Then came three years of short-term jobs.  Most of 1990 was spent helping my brother, John, and his wife in Florida.  He died that December 9.  His wife has Alzheimer's.  My remaining brother, Charlie, died three weeks after my arrival here on March 19, 1995.

Prior to Georgia, I was in Fullerton, California, in a radio agency, editing Charles Swindoll's sermon tapes for "Insight for Living."  I attended Calvary Church which helped support me on the mission field.  In 1979 I began writing a newsletter called "El Periodiquito".  This entailed editing letters from missionaries and MKs (for those non-missions folks, that's "Missionary Kids") which were in Ecuador between 1930 and 1970.  The 20-page paper, in its 18th year, is issued twice a year with circulation of 600. 

Nancy continued to produce this newsletter for another 5 years for a total of 23 years.  The last copy mailed was in August 2002

January 1953 to December 1978 - Nancy's Missionary Years

The missionary years were January 1953 to December 1978, at Radio Station HCJB, Quito, Ecuador, South America.  They were 25 years of fulfilling creative writing (24 programs a week); and producing my own daily program plus helping others produce theirs, all in English.  For half of those years all programming was "live."  Over and above programming, I directed the English Division for ten years, helped Spanish two years, and spent another year getting Quichua, an Indian Language, back on the air.  I edited HCJB's official HCJB magazine, four years and created a small in-house "yellow sheet".  I also compiled quarterly reports on all 7 resident language Departments mail count; helped HCJB's President when he had no secretary and was on HCJB's Board of Trustees seven years.  The last year and a half before taking early retirement I  was Candidate Secretary in the Miami International Headquarters.

In 1958 I traveled with Marj Saint Van Der Puy for two years after the five missionaries (including Marj's husband, Nate Saint) were killed in Ecuador.  We toured New Zealand and Australia meeting thousands of HCJB listeners and telling the HCJB and Auca Story.  For 20 years I collected tape recordings made at HCJB concerning the Auca episode and put the documented story on two cassettes.

For more information about Nate Saint, the five missionaries that were killed or the Auca Story see the Links section of this web site. 

On a trip through Europe, the most unusual setting for meeting a listener was on a train in Europe.  The only other passenger in the compartment heard Betty Harkins and me talking.  He pointed to me and asked if I broadcast from South America.  "Yes," I said.  "From Quito?"  Again, affirmative. He had heard my program where I interviewed children, and he recognized my voice on the train!  We had most of the day to talk with him about the Lord and he clued us in on how to eat while traveling through Europe on a train and soon, we too, were carrying a small cardboard box containing bottled water, apples, crackers, and cheese.

In 1966, I was privileged to visit 9 of the Caribbean Islands representing HCJB.  Unlike other missionaries, radio missionaries rarely get to meet those to whom they minister.  Yet, in faith we carried on, God giving us confidence that the message was getting through.  During the Europe trip I took a specialized 3-week short wave radio course at the British Broadcasting Company, London, which helped me in the direction of the English Program division at HCJB and in programming.  Although I was born and raised in the U.S., my parents were British.  (During another trip to England, I visited our few remaining relatives.  Now there is only one second cousin left there.)

University Years - 1944 - 1953

1949 and 1950, and again from 1952 to 1953 found me at Calvary Church, Placentia, California, as secretary, Youth and Christian Education Director.  While there, I began writing a children's radio series, "The Adventures of Raindrop".

From 1950 - 1952 I attended John Brown University, Siloam Springs, Arkansas, earning a BA degree in Bible and Radio Production. I was appointed Student Manager of a one-watt station and began adapting "Robinson Crusoe" from my mother's unabridged copy which she had brought from England in 1919, producing it on HCJB later and then putting it on two cassettes. 

For more information about Robinson Crusoe tapes & CDs see the Links section of this web site

From 1947 - 1949, served as Alumni Secretary at BIOLA, Los Angeles, editing the Alumnews while also working at Calvary Church.  During this time I was asked to teach Gospel Broadcasting at BIOLA.  I took a radio course at the L.A. City College and directed our own 1948 Summer School of Radio at BIOLA.

1947 - After graduation from BIOLA I went to Summer School of Missionary Radio at Providence Bible Institute, R.I. directed by Dr. Clarence W. Jones, one of the founders of HCJB, in Ecuador.  This was my first introduction to shortwave radio and immediately I knew I was called to missionary radio and subsequently applied to Trans World Radio, HCJB, and ELWA.  After a long delay I was accepted at HCJB five years later.

From 1944 - 1947  I attended BIOLA (The Bible Institute of Los Angeles) majoring in Christian Education.  BIOLA gave me a solid Biblical foundation and I found some life-long friends there.  It was also at BIOLA I was given a real break into broadcasting.  Al Sanders, a gifted BIOLA student, (who is still recognized in Christian radio and television) directed the weekly student program, "Accent on Youth", first produced live in a Pasadena radio station studio and later in a Hollywood recording studio.  He invited me to produce the (scripted and rehearsed) program, "live".  I was then asked to write the programs and continued eight years while carrying on other work at BIOLA and Calvary Church.  This practical experience, along with the different courses taken in radio gave me a great beginning for a future in missionary radio overseas.  The mission's "delay in accepting me" was not a mistake as it allowed me five more years of needed experience.

1946 I attended Summer School of Christian Radio at Moody, Chicago, directed by Wendell P. Loveless.  He taught from galley proofs of his new book, "Manual of Gospel Broadcasting."  This provided my fundamental understanding of broadcasting to unseen audiences.  I was to use all the principles learned there throughout my radio career.  It was especially helpful for teaching short courses of radio in Los Angeles, Italy, France, Holland, Ecuador, and 7+ years at Toccoa Falls College, Georgia.

1943 - 1944: War Years

1943 to Feb. 1944 worked on North Island, San Diego in Civil Service for the Navy.

Nancy's Family

Before 1943  I lived in Illinois.  I was born in a small town, Steger.  My younger twin brothers were John and Charles.  My father, Henry Woolnough, born and raised in Crewe, England (near Nantwich), was saved during the great Welch revival.  He immediately set out for America by ship and enrolled at Moody Bible Institute, Chicago to become a missionary to India.  After his graduation, at age 35, he was not accepted by any mission board because of his age! Being a British subject, he went up to Canada, joined their forces and was a stretcher bearer for the last part of World War I.

Dad loved the Lord dearly and studied His Word and had personal praying habits of 2 - 3 hours a day, even while working long hours in a factory.  I often heard him pray aloud for me in their bedroom that was next to mine.  He also taught us a Bible verse at the evening meal repeating it each day for a week.  One by one we came to the Lord; I, at 11 years of age; Charlie at 36 and John at 42 (after dad's death).  My mother died when I was 4 years old and the twins 3.  Dad remarried a year later to keep his little family together.  When his second wife, our stepmother, died in 1956, he took a trip back to his homeland, England.   On my next furlough, I asked my father if he would like to return with me to Ecuador.  His face lit up, "oh yes, if you hadn't asked me, I would have asked you."  So, with great joy he became a missionary at age 75 when he had been refused by mission boards at 35.  While in Quito, he met new missionaries as they arrived and he said to one, Betty Harkins, (who became my best friend), "I know you.  I have prayed for you ever since you became a candidate with HCJB."  Even though he had never met her.

My father's greatest pleasure was attending the daily HCJB prayer meetings.  In a very short time, missionaries were coming to "Mr. Woolnough" with their burdens because they knew he could intercede and they also knew he would keep their confidence.  It was so great to have a resident prayer warrior on the field!  We only had 7 happy months with Dad in beautiful Quito (nearly 10,000 feet altitude) for the Lord, in a moment, took him home from the mountain top via a coronary thrombosis.

After his death, I was going through his papers,  I found noted the scripture he had read each day,  what the Lord had said to him through the Word, and then a list of those he had prayed for that day.  He prayed for more than 700 individuals by name each day.  This had been his custom for many years.



In a word, I would say my greatest satisfaction  has been to serve the Lord where He led me.  The 25 years at HCJB were especially gratifying as I became a part of reaching the world by radio with the gospel.  I was in radio for a total of 44 years.

I consider my greatest legacy to be the spiritual one from my father that continues to live on.  He came to the U.S. as the first Christian in his own family.  From the union of Henry and Nellie Woolnough, all three of us children became  Christians (two brothers now in Heaven).  "For God is in the generations(s) of the righteous." Psalm 14:5.

The five life-changing events in my life have been: 1. The death of my mother at the age of four and a half; 2. My salvation at age eleven; 3. The training at the Bible Institute of Los Angeles; 4. The death of the five missionaries in Ecuador at the end of my first missionary year in 1956; 5. and living at Bradenton Missionary Village. 


When Nancy read this excerpt in 2006 she added this short comment:

I left the Missionary Village in November 2005; what a provision from the Lord who has been with me all the way.  Now I live in assisted living and continue to trust Him.  

Nancy F.A. Woolnough


Nancy and her Persian kitty "Buffy"

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