Home with the Lord

Dr. John William Cook

Our Beloved CEO

On March 30, 2023, heaven opened up and welcomed home our beloved founder and CEO, Dr. John W. Cook. He was overseas serving the Lord with our US and Iraq teams when he passed away.

Iraq – His death was unexpected and sudden, yet it was peaceful and he did not suffer. Our teams gathered around him trying desperately to save his life, however the Lord had other plans and he slipped John home to his side. The shock of his death has been felt by everyone and together we grieve in love and hope.

John was born in Wisconsin and lived and served the Lord in a number of areas including the Philippines, Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Hawaii, India, Iraq, Israel, Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, California and Colorado.

He knew he wanted to be a pastor in middle school and held to this dream until at the age of 19 he became a youth pastor in Honolulu, serving with his father at International Baptist Church. He also served as Associate and Youth Pastor at First Baptist Church, Turlock, California, Senior Pastor at Valley Baptist (now Church on the Hill) Church, Montrose, Colorado, and Senior Pastor at Shepherd of the Hills Church, Monument, Colorado which he and his family planted. He loved the Church and it was his passion to serve the Bride of Christ.

John and his wife, Dee met when they were 12 years old, in 5th grade. Soon afterwards, they became best friends through their teen years and fell in love in Bible College, and married in Honolulu Hawaii on June 3, 1977. They enjoyed almost 46 years of marriage and served the Lord in ministry their entire lives together. They welcomed four beautiful children into their lives, Christa, Carolyn, John and Jeffrey, and later welcomed seven wonderful grandchildren.

John attended International Bible College, Honolulu, Hawaii and went on to complete his Seminary degrees, later taking doctoral studies at Trinity Theological Seminary. He was conferred a Doctorate of Ministries by the Bible College in Central India which he co-founded, Grace Bible College.

His passion for his family was evident and he relished the time they were able to spend together. Every year as a family the Cooks camped and hiked deep in the beautiful Colorado Rocky Mountains. He taught the children many outdoor and survival skills, as well as a passion for God’s creation around a roaring campfire.

He loved the outdoors, camping and anything that was connected to adventure. Not one to take the easy path, he was famous for driving off paths, glancing down cliffs and smiling, climbing, hiking, hunting, horseback riding and four-wheeling in places most people wouldn’t dream of going. This may give you a clue as to how ministering in difficult-access areas was something he truly enjoyed.

In 2003, he and Dee co-founded Indigenous Ministries International, continuing a ministry in India they as a family had worked on with a national in 1997 on the central east coast. He co-founded two Bible Colleges in India, a church planting ministry and a children’s home. What began in India with church planting and child sponsorships, expanded to a place God called him to during the Iraq wars; the Middle East.

Beginning in Jordan, John worked alongside national pastors, encouraging them in any way he could, and developing relationships that continue to this day throughout the Middle East.

John teaching our refugee teens at the new Ministry Center three days before he died in Iraq. He spoke on Samuel; on listening to God’s voice in their lives.

John’s “secret” was that he surrendered to God a part of him that broke when he was just a 2 1/2 year old child watching his dear mother die as a result of their family work on the mission field in the Philippines. Later, as he and his family moved to Sri Lanka and were caught in a government coup and revolution; he and his brother, Jim lived under a kidnap threat, watched killings and were traumatized by terrorist activities. Decades later, in January 2004, John kneeled next to traumatized children in Bagdad listening to their stories with tears running down their cheeks. He understood their fear and terror and wanted to help.

Indigenous Ministries began field work in Baghdad that year working with the first Baptist Church in Iraq. John was there the night it was formed and born. He loved working with and encouraging the pastor and staff throughout very difficult years to come. Soon after, the doors opened for Indigenous Ministries to move into Egypt with church planting and later child sponsorships which would stabilize relationships with widows, giving them and their children a covering of protection under the local churches.

In 2014, as ISIS ravaged N. Iraq, John received a call asking if he would come and help. He went six days later. Helping hundreds of thousands of refugees with aid, resources, comfort and the gospel, John and Dee guided the ministry to establish the now thriving Child Sponsorship Program with refugees. His dream was to establish sustainable relationships and help national pastors minister to their own people more effectively; all programs revolve around this directive. In 2022, John founded Middle East Theological College in Erbil, Iraq, a fully accredited arm of Grace Bible College, in India, which attained accreditation in 2021. This was the third Bible college the Lord allowed John to start, and John was thrilled. He always gave God the glory in all these steps.

Pastor John was a man of faith and a warrior. He understood the price of following Christ, spiritual struggles and felt it a privilege to serve his Lord. His faith was unmistakable. He was a prayer warrior and held many around the world daily in prayer before the Lord. He was an encourager; often identifying the under-dogs and lesser knowns, lifting them up, discipling, mentoring and encouraging, for decades he quietly ministered one by one to countless people.

Indigenous Ministries is continuing in India, Iraq, Egypt and The Philippines; John’s 26 years of vision in missions work laying the foundation for Indigenous Ministries is strong, and the reason the ministry is able to transition well now to fruitful ministry. Our national teams are committed to the Lord and the ministry. We ask our donors and sponsors to continue in prayer and financial support; we will see God do great things in the days ahead!

From Dee: On a personal note, this is a very difficult time for my family and for me; there was no hint we were at this junction with John’s life, but I trust our Father’s choice even through my tears. God’s peace is here and I am grateful for many things, including that John didn’t suffer. Now a strange new tinge of joy is making its home in my heart – the joy of knowing my beloved is Home Safe. I am blessed to be surrounded by a wonderful, tight circle of love by our four children and their families. During this time, my family and I have experienced love and care from many and we are so very grateful for the outpouring of love, prayers, cards and flowers. Thank you for your continued prayers. Blessings, Dee