Posted by: calloftheandes | March 5, 2010

HCJB Global Retiree Harry Yeoman Dies in New Zealand at 90

One of HCJB Global’s many versatile missionaries, serving on four continents during a span of 41 years, Harry Yeoman died in New Zealand Tuesday, Feb. 23, following a lengthy illness. He was 90.

Born on Dec. 19, 1919, in Lower Hutt, New Zealand, he gave his heart to the Lord as a child and endeavored to serve Him throughout his life.

A World War II veteran, he served as a pilot in the Royal New Zealand Air Force (mostly in the U.K.) for five years. While in London he met May McAdam, and they married on July 17, 1943.

After the war, Harry returned to his home country to teach, including six years in special education, working with prisoners and delinquents. He later received a teaching diploma from Wellington Teacher’s College, graduating in 1953, and a bachelor’s degree in English, education and music from the University of Canterbury.

The Yeomans joined HCJB Global in 1969, fulfilling a vision dating back to 1958. As Harry put it in an earlier interview, “The Lord led us one step at a time, first into a gradually increasing part-time involvement in missionary radio in New Zealand, and then a challenge to full-time service at Radio Station HCJB in Quito, which we accepted.”

After a year of Spanish language study in Costa Rica, the Yeomans arrived in Quito, Ecuador, in April 1970 to work in the English Language Service, producing the daily radio program, “Shalom.” Harry also helped launch the popular magazine program, “Passport,” and was actively involved in music.

“Both Harry and May were excellent radio program producers and you could always find Harry playing an organ somewhere,” said Jim Allen, HCJB Global’s vice president of team development.

During Harry’s first decade with the mission, he also held various administrative roles, including English Language Service director (1971-1973), associate broadcasting director (1974) and director of World Offices (1974-1979) and the Canadian office (1975-1977).

In 1979 the Yeomans were reassigned to Europe, first to Italy where continent-wide media monopolies had been broken, opening the door for local Christian radio stations. They spent four years establishing a radio production studio, offices and workshops, and later a television department.

Initiating a prototype that, unknown to him, would lead to an outreach dubbed “radio planting” a decade later, Harry emphasized program production for private Christian stations, technical services and training for nationals. “We did not aim to own radio stations ourselves, but to provide supporting services for national enterprises,” he said.

Before “retiring” to New Zealand in 1986, the Yeomans served in France, the HCJB Global-UK office in Bradford and then at the South Pacific island of Saipan, helping in a cooperative ministry with Far East Broadcasting Co. Upon retirement, they continued to help at the New Zealand office, especially in the prayer ministry.

“Retirement didn’t slow them down a bit, but they both just stepped into other ministry roles without missing a beat,” Allen added.

When asked to share a particularly satisfying experience, Harry replied, “The rich intercultural experience of working with people from such a wide variety of backgrounds, yet finding our oneness in Christ. Also, the deep satisfaction of producing a radio program when the Lord gave the inspiration so that words and music fused into one whole as His message.”

Despite his failing heart, Harry completed his autobiography, Joy in the Journey, in 2009. “His autobiography was titled well,” Allen related. “Harry attacked life with a joy and vigor that most of us only dream about. It seemed like he never stopped but was always available to work or minister to someone.”

Harry and May, married for 66 years, had six children: David (deceased), Keith, Andrew, Janet, Kathy and Margie. Margie and her husband, Ken McLeay, served as HCJB Global missionaries in Shell, Ecuador, for eight years.

A memorial service will be held in Wanganui, New Zealand, at 11 a.m. Saturday, Feb. 27.


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