Missed Chapel Leads to MinistryBy Kathryn Fenstermacher g13 Published: Jan 23, 2019
It all came together through a missed chapel. To this day, Lynn Becker g68 doesn’t remember why he missed chapel on that particular day in 1966. But it was the event that clarified a calling that would become his vocation for the next 50 years and counting.
Lynn arrived at World Civilization class to hear his classmates talking about the morning’s chapel speaker, who served in Haiti with Radio Lumiere, a Christian radio station with the goal of reaching the Haitian people with the gospel. Lynn was hooked. He made contact with the speaker and spent the following summer in Haiti working for the ministry, repairing studio equipment and transmitters.
Lynn hadn’t known how the Lord would connect his engineering skills with his missionary heart. “I have loved electronics since grade school,” Lynn said, “But the Lord led me to Fort Wayne Bible College to study missions.”
Most of Lynn’s fondest memories involve a battery. He grew up on a farm but developed a curiosity for electronics in grade school. Kids today might ask for a smart phone for Christmas – Lynn wanted a six-volt “hot shot” battery. “(My dad) had told me if I helped with making hay for the whole summer, he would buy me a battery,” Lynn said. “I remember getting a door bell kit the following Christmas.”
Lynn amassed quite a collection of electronics and was invited to present electronic demonstrations to his classmates. In high school, he would drive to the dump and fill his parents’ car with broken radios and TVs. “I would take them home and take them apart,” he said. “Once in a while, I could get something to work.”
He was accepted by the engineering department at Indiana Institute of Technology. But the summer before his first semester, he felt the Lord tugging at his heart. “I didn’t feel right about going there,” he said.
He applied last-minute to FWBC and was accepted to complete Bible classes during a special one-year course of study. After completing one year at FWBC, Lynn decided to stay. He pursued a missions degree but enrolled in night school every Monday for three semesters to study basic electronics. “(That) night course in electronics . . . enabled me to fulfill my dream of being an associate engineer and still have training to become a missionary,” Lynn said.
After graduating and marrying his college sweetheart, Judy (Zimmerman) fs67, he was accepted as a missionary with West Indies Mission, returning to Haiti for two years. He set up a radio repair shop to teach nationals how to repair transistor radios. One of his students, an orphan named John Verdeau, went on to attend Moody Bible Institute in the States and later returned to Haiti to set up a similar training school for electronics. Two of John’s former students, Peniel and Lhermon, now work with Radio Lumiere. “Lhermon told me he was my ‘electronic grandson,’” Lynn said.
Listeners may not appreciate the labor that goes into maintaining those radio waves. One summer while Lynn was in Haiti, a lightning bolt struck the radio tower, damaging the transmitter. He worked alongside the Haitian technicians to repair it. “A little bit of French from my high school French class and some sign language enabled us to get the job done,” he said.
Returning to the States didn’t stop Lynn’s work with Radio Lumiere. Since 1995, Lynn has been buying, repairing, and shipping various equipment and parts, from radio towers to diesel generators, that are essential to keep the station on air. Even in retirement, he faithfully packs crates of equipment and hauls them to Bluffton, Ohio, for shipment to Haiti. “I never see the end results of my efforts, but by keeping Radio Lumiere on the air, I know that people are being won to Christ,” Lynn said. “That is what makes it worth it all.”
One of Lynn’s favorite quotes is from Corrie ten Boom: “This is what the past is for! Every experience God gives us, every person He puts in our lives, is the perfect preparation for the future that only He can see.”
Lynn’s life has been a living testament to that truth, phrased another way in Romans 8:28: “And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose."