The Wozniaks ministry has impacted South America for many years. This is their story in their words.
Phyllys and Wayne have had the privilege of helping to start four Bible schools in four different countries. Their passion is to train pastors and church leaders for ministry. They love serving as missionaries and thank God for the open doors He has provided them.
It all started at the Church of God General Assembly in 1978 when the first STEP trip (a short-term mission’s trip) was announced. Phyllys immediately felt impressed to go. On that trip she developed a heart for missions. The next two summers she went on mission trips to Ecuador and Honduras. On each trip her burden for missions increased. Upon graduating from Lee University, she was invited to teach at the newly started Bible institute in the Dominican Republic. After her first year in the Dominican, they were married and spent seven fruitful years there together.
When Wayne arrived at Lee University, he did not feel smart enough to be a pastor or a Christian educator, so he opted to study missions. Somehow, he got the idea that one did not have to be too bright to be a missionary. In each missions class his heart and burden for missions increased. When he met Phyllys, she was so committed to be a missionary that she did not want to get sidetracked. Therefore, she would not even consider dating a man unless he was called to be a missionary. That was all the confirmation Wayne needed. Now 36 years later, he still believes the Lord used his wife to call him into missions.
After serving in the Dominican for seven years, they moved to Virginia to serve as pastors for nine years. Toward the end of their time in Virginia, Wayne went on a short-term missions trip to Peru. The first day there, he felt the burden and desire to return to full-time missions. The Lord used several things to confirm this calling—He opened a door for them with World Missions to go to Peru; He helped them sell their house, cars, and furniture; and enabled them to raise the funds to go in just two-months’ time. He also touched their teenage daughters making them willing to go.
In April of 2000, they helped reopen the COG Bible institute in Peru. During their eight years as directors, a total of 150 students graduated from the three-year program, and 35 churches were planted by their students. Today most of their graduates remain in ministry and the churches continue to impact their communities.
In August of 2007 World Missions asked if they would pray about going to Colombia to start a Bible institute there. They moved to Colombia in January of 2008. In August of that year, Berea Bible Institute was started. Different facilities were rented for the first three years, then they purchased an old chicken farm and converted it into a beautiful Bible school. Eleven years later there were 80 graduates who planted 30 churches. The overwhelming majority of these graduates continue in ministry and the churches remain healthy.
In April of 2017, Wayne returned to Peru to officiate the wedding of one of their graduates. While there the overseer of Peru asked if he and Phyllys would return to help make the Bible school operational again. Unfortunately, while they were in Colombia, it had closed down. After much prayer and godly counsel, they moved back to Peru in December of 2018.
They found that the condition of the Bible school’s building was deplorable, but the Lord helped them to raise the support to remodel and refurnish the facilities. The school reopened in March 2019 with 18 first year students.
Before leaving Colombia, Wayne and Phyllys had the Colombian leadership appoint Samuel and Adriana, a dynamic pastor couple, to direct the Bible institute there. They are doing an excellent job, and the school continues to turn out well trained ministers and church planters.
Wayne and Phyllys teach at and preside over the Bible institutes in Colombia and Peru. They also raise support to keep both schools operational. They believe the best way to fulfill the great commission is to train national workers. (After all a native Peruvian can reach another Peruvian better, faster, and more cost effectively than you or I can.) Their ministry is all about training national leaders to plant New Testament churches in strategic cities in South America. Today there are 65 churches in Peru and Colombia that were planted by their Bible school graduates.
Esau Trocones’ testimony is one of their favorite stories from the mission field. The year before Phyllys and Wayne moved to Peru, his father, a Church of God pastor, was martyred by the Shining Pathway terrorist group. After learning how his father was so brutally murdered, Esau wanted nothing to do with ministry. When the Wozniaks met Esau, he was 13. They took him under their wing and began spending time with him. Wayne taught him how to throw a football and catch flies with a baseball. Esau traveled a lot with Wayne around the country. They would hike and climb together, and Esau would participate with Wayne in ministry activities.
Before long Esau was feeling called into ministry. He graduated from the Bible institute and planted a church in Lima. Today it is one of the most dynamic churches in Lima. He also serves as the dean of students at the Bible school. They are proud to have played a part in shaping this young man’s life.
One of the greatest needs in both Colombia and Peru is more New Testament churches in strategic areas. Colombia still has seven cities with populations of over a million without a single Church of God congregation. We encourage you to pray for the Lord to help us train, support and send forth laborers.
To partner with Wayne and Phyllys, visit the project link below.