Dale Rhoton, co-founder of Operation Mobilisation (OM), was born in 1938 in Kansas City, Missouri, USA. It was through the influence of the Christian and Missionary Alliance pastor that Dale came to faith in Jesus Christ.
Dale attended Maryville College in Tennessee where he met fellow student George Verwer. After two years, the two transferred colleges, Dale to Wheaton, about 50 kilometres west of Chicago, and George to Moody, in the centre of the city. At Wheaton, Dale completed his bachelor’s degree and an M.A. in New Testament.
During those years, Dale and George Verwer, along with Walter Borchard, made their first evangelistic trip to Mexico in December 1957, the beginning of what would become OM.
George Verwer challenged Dale to consider the 33 million Muslims of Turkey, who also had no access to the Bible, a challenge Dale took up with friend Roger Malstead in 1961. Dale’s then- fiancée Elaine Thomas joined the team, and the couple married in December 1961 in Ankara, Turkey.
In 1964, at a meeting in Bucharest, Romania, Dale met Richard Wurmbrand and his son Michael; that meeting was catalytic in the formation of OM’s Greater Europe ministry, which in years to come, would encourage countless believers behind the Iron Curtain and smuggle in millions of Bibles, New Testaments and other materials. Prior to 1989, hundreds of thousands of believers in the Communist countries of Europe received copies of the Scriptures as a result of this initiative.
Dale served as Director of OM’s ship MV Doulos from 1979 to 1981, then the Rhotons moved to the new ships’ headquarters in Mosbach, Germany, where he served as the associate director from 1981 to 1984, then as the managing director from 1984 to 1999. Elaine and he relocated to San Diego, California, where they formed part of a small team focussed on developing partners and resources for the ministry, a role Dale has continued in even after moving to the Shell Point Retirement Community in Florida in 2021.
Through the ministry of OM’s ships, millions—from school children to prime ministers—have received a touch of hope and the light of the gospel, in part because of the ongoing faithfulness of Dale Rhoton and his profound trust in the faithful, loving, heavenly Father and a total commitment to His Son, Jesus Christ.