TWR Canada past-president Ray Alary blogged every Thursday, telling behind-the-scenes stories and ministry updates you won't find anywhere else. You can still access his stories and read about his time as a missionary with TWR.
This is the second of two feature stories our Communications Intern Ryan has written for the blog. I was delighted to have her interview me and share what God has done in my life through my time here at TWR Canada. To read last week’s feature story on Ross Campbell, our board chair, click here. Ray Alary has been serving faithfully at TWR since 1987, and through it all he’s seen God work in miraculous ways. As he shared his ministry journey with me, he got more excited with every story he told. He was perched up in his chair with a smile on his face as he told stories of God’s work — stories of salvation, reconciliation and changed lives.
It all started in Kenora, Ontario, in a home bible study where Ray and Sandy’s friends encouraged them to work in ministry. God used Ray’s friends to reveal to him that he was to work as a technician in a ministry. This led him to serving on the island of Bonaire as a diesel mechanic and electrician.
Thirty-two years later, Ray continues to serve with TWR Canada. I sat down with him to hear how he’s seen God move during his work overseas and to also get a look into the everyday life of the TWR Canada president.
“We are a mission, but the day-to-day life of being a president is like running a business,” he said. He compared his life to that of a business man working down the street. He manages people and finances, supports a team and sits in on a lot of meetings.
The one difference between his job and running a business, he said, was that he never knows where funding for the ministry is going to come from. “For us, it’s all done by faith. We need to trust that God is going to supply our needs on a day-to-day basis – and we’re not just trusting God for a few thousand dollars a year.”
God’s faithfulness to the ministry makes it easy for Ray to trust God with finances. Not only has God provided resources when it seemed impossible, but he has also been faithful to produce fruit from the labour of the ministry every step of the way.
“If we could capture all the projects we’ve done over the past 10 years and see how God resourced those projects – it’s just a miracle. That’s been a really neat part of this journey, just seeing what God has done.”
Ray is always excited to find the people God is reaching through TWR across the globe. “When I worked in Latin America, I went out and found listeners. When I went to Africa, it wasn’t hard finding listeners. I went to the Dominican Republic, and I found people. In Asia, I would ask taxi drivers if they listen to TWR!”
It wasn’t hard for Ray to find listeners in every country he visited. This is a testament to God’s work in the ministry, and although he was blessed by witnessing this, he says the job hasn’t always been easy.
Ray went through a deep valley in 2005 and 2006 after enduring multiple tragedies within the ministry. He couldn’t understand why God was allowing the TWR family to go through such hardship while they were working diligently to serve him.
He explains that when our work is fruitful, Satan fights back because he doesn’t want to see that fruit. “I came to realize that we are in a spiritual battle and that spiritual battle comes at a cost.”
Ray knows the battle is worth fighting. For example, he watched as God created 7,000 TWR home groups in Egypt, a largely Muslim nation. “Something’s happening in that country,” he said.
Ray spoke of the importance of discipling people after they hear the gospel. “We have a responsibility to work for the local church. If you’re working in a Muslim country and somebody comes to faith, you have a responsibility to make sure they are discipled. This is where the home church movement is so important.”
Ray first heard about radio home groups, where people would gather to listen to TWR programming together, in a small village in Angola. He said he knew a man with a radio who would travel to a different village every night so more people could listen to the program.
Angola was the country that has had the biggest impact on him, Ray said. When he first visited, the country had been at war for 29 years, and Ray was told that there were seven women for every man in Angola because so many men had died in the war. His heart was moved for the women there. He thought, “We have got to do something for these women,” and within a year, they had over 4,000 women in Angola praying through TWR’s ministry to women.
Ray travelled to Angola just after the war ended. He and Isac Silvano, a TWR program producer, visited an office where a man, upon hearing Isac’s voice, came over to them with tears running down his face. The man picked up Isac and started hugging him. This man had become a Christian 21 years prior but had to keep his faith secret. He told Isac that through his preaching on the radio, Isac had been his pastor for 21 years.
Isac and the man he'd ministered to over the radio for 21 years.
The room went silent after Ray told me that story. Both of us had a smile stretching from ear to ear as Ray testified of God’s goodness.
Ray says that everything he has and has been able to accomplish is from God. He humbly admits that he can’t take any credit for his ability to lead the TWR Canada ministry.
“I don’t keep track of the miles I travel, the beds I sleep in or how many projects we’ve done, but I know that God is in the process of taking somebody like myself and using them. Just seeing God do it has been the best part of the whole journey.”
At the end of that trip to Angola, Ray went back to Benguela and had supper with a man who insisted on meeting him. The man said that Ray was the reason he was in Benguela; he knew that the power plant Ray worked at on Bonaire powered the radio station he would listen to every morning with his parents in Brazil. When he was 10, he accepted Christ, and he eventually became a missionary in Angola because God used the TWR towers on Bonaire to touch his heart many years prior.
The missionary (and his family) in Angola who accepted Christ at 10 years old after listening to TWR.
“That’s why I do what I do. It’s not about being president. It’s all about seeing people’s lives changed by the gospel."