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The Biography of Joy Ridderhof
Originally published in USA as Count it all Joy in 1978, it is also published as Capturing Voices
By Phyllis Thompson
This is an incredible, true story of a lady who realised that she wouldn't be able to change the world that she had a heart for, on her own. It is a very "down to earth" biography, outlining the struggles that many people are faced with when looking to the Lord for guidance.
Joy had a sense of urgency regarding people who had never heard a voice telling them about Jesus Christ.
So the story unwinds with lots of adventure and heart-stopping moments. It is also a testimony to the love, care and provision of God and demonstrates the power of prayer.
GRN has enabled over 6000 ethnic groups to be reached with the Gospel of Christ, and it all began with one lady's desire to serve the Lord and save the lost.
The captured voices lay silent in the shelves that reached from floor to ceiling in the room behind Mable's office. On discs or tapes, in suitable wrappers, neatly stacked in alphabetical order, there was nothing about them to attract attention. They looked just like recordings stacked on shelves in any other little warehouse in any other downtown area in any other of the cities of the world.
I turned away with a polite smile, and walked back with Mable into her quietly attractive office with its desks and files and atmosphere of ordered activity. I felt vaguely disappointed, as though I had failed to find something I was looking for, I was uninspired.
Then Mable spoke. Her face was suffused with a sudden glow of enthusiasm, and in one sentence she transformed my outlook. The modest office building at one of the innumerable intersections in Los Angeles, with the factory a couple of hundred yards along the road, these unpretentious headquarters of Gospel Recordings Inc., were charged with a significance I had somehow missed. The men and women working in the offices and the packing department, the studios and the pressing rooms, were involved in a campaign of worldwide urgency. It was like finding oneself at the hub of a vast Intelligence Service, with tentacles stretching to the ends of the earth.
What she said was simple enough, though it made a big claim.
'There are more languages here than anywhere else on earth.'
I knew what she meant. On those neatly stacked discs and tapes the Gospel of Jesus Christ had been recorded in over 4,000 languages. In voices that were familiar, speaking words they could understand, the members of over 4,000 ethnic groups could hear the message of eternal salvation. Their voices had been captured not only in towns and cities, but in mountains and deserts, forests and jungles, tropical islands and eternal snows. Quietly and courageously inroads had been made to reach to all the families of the earth, those of every nation and kindred, tribe and tongue.
It was unique. There was nothing else quite like it in the world, and it was still going on. Gospel Recordings wouldn't be satisfied until it had reached the last little tribes, the remotest family groups in the world with the message of God's love spoken in a voice they could understand. And at the source of this unobtrusive though vigorous campaign was a woman with a beaming smile and a spiritual secret with animating power. I knew now what I must do. I walked back across the traffic intersection, up the road to the little compound where some of the gospel Recordings workers lived, and found her in the communal kitchen, looking in the refrigerator for something to eat.
'Joy,' I said, 'I want to write your story. May I...?'