Founder of Gospel Recordings

Joy Ridderhof had been working as a missionary for six years in Central America with the Friends Mission in the 1930s when a severe case of malaria sent her home to Los Angeles. As she lay weakly in bed in her attic room, she fretted about the new converts she had left behind in a remote village in the mountains of Honduras. “If only I could have left my voice behind to encourage them!” she thought.

Memories of the crowded bars in every village, with music blaring from a record player, teased her mind. Everyone in Honduras, it seemed, loved recorded music. What if she made a record with music and the gospel message in Spanish? She was sure the novelty of it would draw a crowd, and the villagers could hear God’s Word even when no missionary was present.

Even though weakened by malaria, Joy was nothing if not persistent. What began as a farfetched sickbed idea soon became a reality, and in 1939 Joy had recorded Buenos Neuvas (“Good News”), a three-and-a-half minute record. Word spread about Joy’s “gospel recording,” and missionaries all over Latin America and finally all over the world began requesting the records.

But the traveling teams and the staff back home never got too busy to pray. It was prayer and vision that upheld the ministry no matter what difficulties arose—and Joy Ridderhof’s infectious spirit of “Rejoice in all things!” Stories poured in from all over the world of men and women, boys and girls who heard the message of God’s love for the first time and gave their hearts and lives to Jesus because of these gospel recordings.

Even though Joy Ridderhof died in 1984, the work of Gospel Recordings continues. GR offices in over twenty countries continue to produce records in new languages and dialects sent to them by field recordists. To date over 4,900 languages and dialects (out of 8,000 known languages) have been captured on records, taking the Gospel all over the world—all because one woman said “Yes!” to God.

1999 Dave and Neta Jackson