Formerly of Racine – John W. Miesel, age 89, of Grand Rapids, MI, passed away peacefully into the arms of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, on Wednesday, March 4, 2020. The son of William and Minnie (nee Englert) Miesel, John was born on September 10, 1930 in Indianapolis, IN and moved to Racine, WI when he was 12. He graduated from Park High School in Racine, WI and then attended Bryan College in Dayton, TN where he majored in History.
While at Bryan College, John met Janice L. Brown from Randolph, NY. They married on December 23, 1953. By that time, both John and Jan had accepted Christ as their personal Savior and were committed to a lifetime work serving Him. Upon graduation, John attended Grace Theological Seminary in Warsaw, IN, where he earned his Master of Divinity. After seminary and setting a course of foreign missions, John and Jan began a long affiliation with Unevangelized Fields Mission (which became known as UFM International and then Crossworld at present). In 1958, their foreign missions service took them to Brussels, Belgium for language and biblical training in French in preparation for service at a theological seminary in the Belgian Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo). After the tragic deaths of 19 fellow missionaries in an uprising during the Simba revolution in 1964, they were evacuated.
Unable to return to Belgian Congo, the Lord called them to France in 1965, where John started a printing ministry in a medieval chateau due to the dearth of Christian literature in French. John had experience in printing from his college days and over the next 10 years, he trained a team of local French believers to take over the printing ministry. John and Jan returned to Racine, WI in the summer of 1975 for the wedding of their daughter, Brenda Pfeil, at Racine Bible Church where John served as interim pastor for several years.
In 1978, they moved to Bala Cynwyd, PA to serve on staff at UFM International headquarters where John was an Associate Director for 17 years. Upon John’s “formal retirement” from mission work in 1995, he was Associate Pastor of Zion Bethel Church in Monticello, IN for five years. In 1999, John and Jan moved back to Racine, WI where John served in the same capacity at Racine Bible Church for 12 fruitful years. John officially “retired” again and moved to a senior citizens complex in Green Bay, WI. For four years, he led a men’s Bible study and served as Chaplain to the 80 residents. Shortly after Jan’s homegoing in February 2016, John moved to Grand Rapids, MI where he continued to share the good news of the gospel with residents, staff and nurses at his living community until the Lord took him home.
John was dearly loved as a son, brother, husband, father, grandfather and great grandfather. John had a servant’s heart and the gift of caring, but most of all, he wanted to share the love of the Lord to anyone he met, at any time and in any place. He embraced the Word, loved the Word, studied the Word, taught the Word, prayed the Word, lived out the Word and shared the Word in numerous countries and settings, including at more than 100 baby dedications and more than 200 funerals. Until his last breath, he impacted lives around him.
John is survived by his children: Brenda (Robert) Pfeil of De Pere, WI and Bryan (Carrie LaPlant) Miesel of Grand Rapids, MI; grandchildren: Kristie Pfeil, Kathleen (Daniel) Weisman, Taylor (Jaimie) Miesel, Connor (Alexandria) Miesel, and Ariane Miesel; and great grandchildren: Liam Weisman, Maggie Weisman, and Nathanael Weisman. He is further survived by his sister, Kae (Arden) Kiehlbauch; niece, Heidi (Jake) Daub; and a nephew, John Kiehlbauch.
In addition to his parents and in-laws, John was preceded in death by his wife, Janice (Brown) Miesel, and his sister, Carole Miesel.
Family and friends may visit at Racine Bible Church, 1205 Spring Street, Sturtevant, WI from 9:30 A.M. to 11:00 A.M. on Thursday, March 12, 2020. A celebration of John’s life will begin at 11:00 A.M. with Pastor Darien Bowers of Racine Bible Church officiating. A burial service will be held at 2:30 P.M. at West Lawn Memorial Park in Racine.
In lieu of flowers, memorials may be designated to “The Alness Camp and Conference Center” for the Guyana Building Project Fund and sent to Partners in Evangelism International, 5518 W. Diversey Avenue, Chicago, IL 60639, www.piei.org.
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