Remembering Don Richardson

June 23, 1935 – December 23, 2018

Over the course of his lifetime, Don Richardson has been described in many ways—mission advocate, foundational leader, captivating speaker and best-selling author are just a few. Here at Pioneers, however, we have long since counted Don as a dear member of our global family. Don’s voice and contributions significantly impacted missiology and cross-cultural contextualization. He was highly successful in his field, but he considered this accomplishment a mere outcome to his one and only focus: to share the gospel of Jesus Christ. Don’s life was marked by undaunted faith and a deep passion for the unreached. He leaves a legacy rich in the fruit of his prayerful perseverance.

Don was born in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada in 1935. When he was 17 years old, he dedicated his life to the Lord at a Youth for Christ rally. From this point on, Don began to whole-heartedly pursue God’s missional call on his life. Don married his first wife, Carol Joy, and they graduated together from Prairie Bible Institute in Alberta, Canada. In 1962 they moved to Papua, Indonesia with Regions Beyond Missionary Union, now called World Team. Don’s unwavering commitment to the cannibalistic Sawi tribe transcended the fierce opposition that living among them presented. During their 15 years on the field, Don and Carol slowly found ways to contextualize the gospel. They also translated the New Testament into the Sawi language and saw much of the tribe come to Christ.

Don Richardson and Peace Child

After writing and publishing his best-selling book Peace Child in 1974, Don transitioned into a new role with World Team. Moving back to the United States, he traveled extensively and regularly spoke at churches and conferences around the globe. His book about ministry among the Sawi people sold almost half a million copies and was the Reader’s Digest book of the month selection. Today, the book is available in 27 languages.

In 2004, Carol Joy passed away. Seventeen months later, Don married his second wife, Carol Joyce, and they ministered together until his illness surfaced in March 2018. Since their marriage, Don authored five more books and continued to speak and advocate for cross-cultural missions around the world. He was also actively involved in developing, promoting and supporting the Perspectives on the World Christian Movement course. His life and work continue to impact thousands. He went home to be with the Lord December 23, 2018. He will be deeply missed at Pioneers and around the world.

Memorial Service for Don Richardson

The Richardson family has created a website, Peace Child Legacy, which contains video footage, photographs and information about Don’s life and ministry. We’ll be streaming the Don Richardson memorial service live on YouTube, 10-12 a.m. on Saturday, January 12.

50 Years after Peace Child

In 2012, Steve Richardson joins his father, Don, and two brothers, Shannon and Paul, to visit the Sawi village where they grew up. What is the state of the church they planted among the Sawi? Watch Never the Same.

Stories from the pursuit

Opportunity – Art & Media Advance the Gospel

We’re looking for awesome artists who will go the extra mile with the glory of God as their primary focus… who will put self-promotion in the back seat, so God-promotion is in the front.

Trusting God in Times of Peril

Whether you serve close to home or in another country, you can’t promise your family you’ll always be safe. A Pioneer shares how he’s come to appreciate God’s presence in dangerous times and places.

Opportunity – Launch Teams

Launch teams are a landing place for new Pioneers to focus on language and culture and be mentored by a team of long-term church planters before they launch out to a new location.