The Experience Magazine 50th Year Edition

Remembering Harry Bollback An Incredible Journey and the God Who Made It Possible

Jack Wyrtzen, and he began working alongside Jack and playing piano for Word of Life meetings and rallies.

Harry’s strong sense of patriotism led to his desire to serve his country, so after graduating high school, he enlisted in the Marine Corps. In WWII, he fought in the battles of Peleliu and Okinawa and was sent to China as part of a peacekeeping force before returning to the United States when the war ended. After returning home, Harry resumed serving with Word of Life. In 1946, he met the love of his life, Mildred “Millie” Winkler. Millie had also begun working for Word of Life, and she and Harry immediately hit it off. Harry and Millie were married for 72 years until her death, just six days before Harry. In 1949, Harry and Millie’s daughter, Linda, was born, and in 1950 Harry graduated from the Philadelphia School of the Bible. Later that year, the Bollbacks were accepted as missionaries with the South American Indian Mission, and in December they sailed from New York Harbor to share the gospel with unreached tribal people in Brazil. Harry and Millie’s son, Larry, was born in 1952, and later that year they were joined by one of Harry’s dearest friends, Harold Reimer, as they served in the interior of Brazil. After a furlough in 1955, during which Elizabeth, Harry and Millie’s third child, was born, the Bollbacks returned to Brazil this time to start the ministry of Word of Life camps. In Atibaia, Harry and Harold Reimer began a Word of Life Youth Camp, followed shortly by a Word of Life Inn for adults. In 1958, Harry and Millie’s youngest daughter, Suely, was born. After returning to the United States in 1969, Harry became the Co-Director of Word of Life and started the International Ministries outreach. His focus and passion for missions was unparalleled, and, under his leadership, Word of Life expanded into Germany, Argentina, the Philippines, Kenya, Australia, Ecuador, Chile, Uruguay, Portugal, Spain, and Colombia. He and Jack founded the Word of Life Inn and Conference Center (now Word of Life Lodge), and a Word of Life Bible Institute in Schroon Lake as well as a campus in Hudson, Florida. Harry also wrote and traveled with 13 incredible Gospel Productions, such as “Let Freedom Ring”, “Revelation”, “Daniel’’ and more. Thanks to the blessing of God and the humble service of a “simple kid from Brooklyn”, Word of Life is now in 81 countries around the world, and over one million people are reached with the life-changing gospel news through its ministries every year. Harry never lost sight of what was important to him- his God, his family, and the unreached people groups around the world. Even up into his last years, he spent as much time as he could with students from the Bible Institute, sharing his desire to see every nation reached for the gospel – always with a dash of Brooklyn humor and a whole lot of passion.


“I look back over my life and thank God every day for the way He has blessed Millie and me beyond measure. We know we have had bad days, but, honestly, we can’t remember them. They were part of the whole process that God was leading us through. We can say with great assurance that God has done the impossible with our lives.” Harry Bollback met Jesus at the age of 16 at Bible Camp, thanks to the influence of his Sunday School teacher. In December 1941, Harry met


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