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Operation World Finke Scholarship

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Must be enrolled at Northwest University full-time, maintain an average G.P.A. of 2.6, be of sophomore, junior or senior year status, and demonstrate a Christian life style showing constructive leadership in a Christian college environment. Must have a calling to minister in northern African, Arabian, MidEastern or Asian countries.


William (Bill) Finke (‘63) knew in his teen years that he was called to the mission field. Both Bill and his brother, Robert (Bob) Finke (‘62), attended Northwest College (now, Northwest University) to prepare them for missionary work. While at Northwest, Bill served as president of the Missionary Association, and led mission emphasis chapels every Friday.

It was at Northwest that Bill met Janice, the love of his life, and they were married on September 20, 1963, in Boise, Idaho. The next two years Bill and Janice volunteered as Youth Pastors serving with Rev. Tom Howard in Marysville, Washington.

In 1965, Bill and Janice followed after their call to missions. They took their life savings, packed their wedding gifts in a trailer and headed to Mexico in their old Mercury. Bill and Janice joined Bob and his wife, Marilyn, as village church planters. Working without any promised support, the Finkes were known as “The Faith Missionaries.”

Bill and Janice’s first child, Brent, was born in Mexico City where they lived for six months while studying Spanish. After paying medical bills for Brent’s birth they had no money in savings. Janice describes it as living from “God’s hand to our mouths.” Yet, God was faithful and met all of their daily needs.

The family moved to Dr Arroyo, Nuevo Leon, a barren village in the desert plains of Central Mexico. Bill and Janice received support of $35.00 a month. They were able to afford a 150 year old adobe house. The house had no running water or facilities and the monthly rent was $12.00. A young Bible School graduate, Luis, soon moved into the area. Bill and Luis drove to surrounding villages to plant churches. Janice and Bill’s second son was born during the fours years they lived in Nuevo Leon. Here they established several churches and trained pastors to lead them.

In 1969, they moved to Chilpancingo, Guerrero. Bill and Janice planted churches and trained pastors in the Southern states of Oaxaca and Guerrero. At this time God had provided a new Maule 4-place airplane. Bill had trained to be a pilot in those few years after college. With faith in God, Janice hoped for a Mexican house complete with hot and cold running water, closets and bathrooms. God provided a house for $80 dollars a month with a monthly support income of $100. Once again, God had provided. When Janice and Bill returned to their village and opened their mail, they were surprised with additional promises of support of $40 a month.

In 1972, while living in Chilpancing, Bill and Janice’s daughter was born. The same year, God also gave them the finances to purchase a new Cessna Turbo-charged six place 210 aircraft. This was a time when Bill taught and trained bishops, priests, nuns and lay workers throughout Latin and South America.

Seven years later, Bill and Janice moved to San Jose, California. Bill’s ministry expanded into conducting leadership training conferences through out Asia, Africa, and Latin America, as well as in the United States. Bill and Janice also worked with another couple to plant a church in Sunnyvale, California, where Bill was the senior pastor for ten years.

In 1997, they moved to Cameron Airpark. Bill, a pilot friend, and their son Dave began building a LancAir plane to use for worldwide mission trips. They also built a small and slower craft capable of landing in an area the size of a soccer field. That plane went to Tanzania, so their son, Dave, and his family could use it for mission work. Bill also built a Roto-Way helicopter that was also sent to missionaries in Africa.

Bill’s last 10 years of life were partially spent in Africa assisting his children and other pastors in planting churches. In the 1980’s, Bill was honored at a Northwest College Graduation for his work “in promoting unity between Catholics and Protestants.” Bill died in July 2004 due to a plane crash caused by a mal-function in the rotor blades of the helicopter he built.

Janice (Finke) LeCrone’s (‘63) vision, and the cry of her heart, is to do all that she can to further God’s kingdom. One way she purposes to do this is by supporting others who carry a similar calling to that of herself and her late husband. Bill and Janice’s vision has been to reach those who have yet to be reached for God. To fulfill this commission, Janice established a scholarship fund at Northwest University. Northwest will always hold a special place in Janice’s heart because this is where she met “[her] beloved Bill.” Understanding the depth and fullness of God’s faithfulness, Janice rejoices that she is able to bless others by establishing the Operation World Finke Scholarship in memory of her husband at NU. Through this scholarship fund, more “faith missionaries” will be trained to reach the unreached, and the call will live on throughout next generations.

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