Please login to continue
Having Trouble Logging In?
Reset your password
Don't have an account?
Sign Up Now!
Register for a Free Account
Choose Password
Confirm Password

Your account has been created!

David Riley

Missionary to Texas/Mexico Border Ministries
"Following the voice of the Holy Spirit"
By Rachel Elwood, Staff Writer, 2014

“It is far more important that one go equipped with the Holy Spirit than with sound truck, portable refrigerators, water purifier, and a full stock of American canned food.” J. David Riley wrote this quote in his 1979 application for missionary service with World Gospel Mission.

By that time, David was already a seasoned missionary, having spent 18 years in Burundi (after a year in Belgium studying French) with Friends Africa Gospel Mission along with his wife, Annie. He had also grown up in South Africa as a missionary kid. Missionary service was in his blood, and following the voice of the Holy Spirit was his goal.

David became interested in electronics and short-wave radio at an early age. After attending Greenville College (Illinois), where he met Annie, they heard about a need in Burundi for teachers. He taught at the Kibimba Normal School, a Christian training school for teachers, and also served as the principal for two years. Over time, he began to feel God leading him to work with Christian broadcasting. Along with other missionaries, David was instrumental in launching Radio Cordac, a multilingual Christian radio station, which was one of only two radio stations in Burundi at the time. He taught radio construction and production, wrote program material, and directed broadcasts—a routine he would later repeat in Haiti and in Texas.

In 1972, David and Annie witnessed one of the most horrific events in Burundi’s history when the Tutsi-controlled army enacted mass killings against Hutu tribe members. (This genocide would be relived in 1993 when Hutus retaliated against Tutsis.) David and Annie lost several friends in the conflict and were able to help some people escape to safety.

 Afterward, the new government was hostile toward missionaries, so David and Annie moved their family—three daughters one son—back to the U.S. in 1974. In 1979, they applied to WGM and were appointed to serve in Haiti. David put his radio skills to work at Radio Lumière.

After one term in Haiti, the Rileys had finished the job they had gone to do, and they moved to the Texas/Mexico border where David became connected with HCJB World Radio, an evangelistic radio network. “I just wanted to do what the Lord wanted me to do,” David said in an interview last year. “Once you build a radio station, you have to go somewhere else to build the next one.” David’s sense of humor and ability to quickly learn languages made him a valuable team member of each mission field.

World Gospel Mission is grateful for David’s years of service and devotion to using radio and media to leading people to a knowledge of Jesus Christ. “So we fix our eyes on not what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal” (2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV). David truly fixed his eyes on the eternal, and we rejoice that he is in God’s presence today.

Support a Missionary
Global Impact Fund
Advancing the Great Commission through your partnership.