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Welcome to autobiographical information
about our Director.

Updated Sep 25, 2006
Margaret & Ray
Roderick Graciano’s Story

My story is really about the people God has used to shape my life. The first of those people, whose influence I’ve felt since my youth, were my Christian grandparents, Ray and Margaret Hiscox. Ray died young, but left behind a testimony of gentle grace and of a heart commitment to the truths of the Holy Bible. Margaret, who survived Ray by four decades, also lived her life around a commitment to the Bible and her local Baptist church. Margaret prayed for her children and grandchildren at least until she could no longer tell us apart in her final days. Together, Ray and Margaret were unquestionably the greatest spiritual influence in the life of my mother.
    My mother, Verna Mae Graciano, prayed for me since before I was born, and specifically that I would come to love and serve Jesus. Mom’s life has always been characterized by gentleness, mercy and generosity, but most importantly, throughout the course of my childhood she demonstrated the same commitment to the Scriptures that her parents had.
Mom’s devotion to the Bible contributed to redirecting my life when I was 17 and a senior in high school. At that time, a multitude of pressures, internal and external, had begun to weigh heavily upon my mind. The typical struggles of a teenager, compounded by the cultural anxieties produced by the Cold War and the catastrophe of Viet Nam, drove me to search out a path for my future. The influence of my mother had so ingrained in my thinking that the Bible was God’s Word, that the Holy Spirit easily turned my attention to that Book.
     The ingrained conviction of the Bible’s authority also steered me away from Spiritualism (or Spiritism). For a brief time I looked for truth through the Ouija Board and Automatic Handwriting, but my sister, Erlinda, gave me a book that pointed me to Deuteronomy 18.9-13. That was enough for me, and I put away the Automatic Handwriting paraphernalia. (Please read the whole story about What I Learned From The Ouija Board .)
     After my encounter with the Ouija Board, I decided to read the whole Bible. I began with the Gospel of Matthew, and slowly read through the New Testament. By the time I finished reading the Gospel of John, Jesus Christ had become my hero. When I read the book of Acts, I saw there was more to Christianity than sitting in a pew. By the time I finished the First Letter to the Corinthians, I realized that Paul’s philosophy of life was superior to anything I’d read elsewhere. And, one night, when I came to the last verse of the First Letter of John, I realized ... I was a sinner!

Expecting Rod
Men of God
The deep conviction of sin I felt, told me I needed Jesus Christ to save me. My heart cried out to God in sorrow and desperation and I experienced what I came to understand later as the new birth described by Jesus in the Gospel of John, chapter 3. My life had changed and Jesus of Nazareth had become my new Boss.
     I spent the next few months reading the Old Testament, and then started reading the New Testament over again. Somebody gave me a couple of biographies to read, and that’s how I met two of my mentors who had both died about 50 years before I was born: George Müller and Hudson Taylor. These two men radically shaped my understanding of Christian ministry, particularly with regard to how ministry should be funded.
    George Müller maintained orphanages in Bristol, England, where he housed, clothed, and educated up to 2,000 orphans at once. The spectacular thing is that Müller did all this without ever soliciting funds from anyone but God, by prayer. Not only did God provide every need for the work, but Müller gave away millions of pounds sterling to other missionaries and Christian works.
One of the missionaries Müller supported financially was Hudson Taylor, the founder of the China Inland Mission. Taylor likewise never solicited funds except secretly by prayer. These two men taught by their lives that God still hears and answers prayer, and that “God’s work done in God’s way will never lack God’s provision.”
     After High School, I went to the University of Washington in Seattle, expecting to pursue a career in biology. During that school year of 1971-1972, I realized that I should instead dedicate my life to Christian Ministry. One day a tall, white-haired gentleman knocked on my rooming house door and introduced himself as Herbert Butt. Herb had been sent to me by a mutual friend, and introduced himself as a Bible teacher who had taught at Multnomah School of the Bible, but who now traveled internationally in his teaching ministry. Like George Müller and Hudson Taylor, Herb offered his ministry free of charge and made his material needs known only to God. By prayer alone he was supporting his wonderful wife Olive and ten children, as well as traveling to minister in places like England and Egypt. I felt an instant rapport and confided in Herb my intent to go into ministry. “Should I go to a Bible college?” I asked. It was then that Herb gave me the counsel that would shape the rest of my life: “I would advise you to do two things: attach yourself to godly men who can disciple you, and study church history.”

Herb & Rod
Bill Round
After finishing the school year in Seattle, I returned to my mother’s home in Tacoma to pursue my studies in theology and church history, and to get close to some godly mentors. The first mentor God had for me was a man who knew Herb and whom I’d known previously. He was a soft-spoken and deeply studious boat designer and builder by the name of William Round. Bill is the one who, by his example, taught me to study the Bible deeply. Bill’s research specialty was Bible prophecy, and he is the one to whom I owe whatever balance I have in my own eschatology today.
     Soon after I returned to Tacoma, the Lord brought the person into my life who would shape it most, my wife-to-be, Kaaren Joy Crisman. When I realized I was beginning to love Kaaren, I loaned her a copy of George Müller’s biography. After she read the book, I took her on a drive and asked her if she would be willing to become another “Mrs. Müller” and join me in a life of faith ministry, trusting God for our income. She said yes, and we married a year later in June of 1974.

    As Kaaren and I began our life together, God brought us other wonderful mentors, notably Dr. Raymond Smith and Chaplain Dwight Kinman.
Dr. Ray Smith
Dwight Kinman, the Director of Love Thy Neighbor Ministries was another man who trusted God for his income. When he first became a hospital chaplain he was told that his salary would be Philippians 4.19. Dwight Kinman and Herb Butt encouraged us greatly when I worked for the One To One Christian Mission to Prisoners in 1974 and 1975, because that job required us to pray in our paychecks just like these godly men and their wives did.
     Ray Smith pastored Central Baptist Church in Tacoma, and under his guidance I learned much about organization and administration. Ray was the man who counseled me to found Timothy Ministries, which we did on April 26, 1976. Ray served as our founding Board President and continued to encourage and bless us until he lost his long battle with cancer in December of 1982.

Kaaren Joy
Other people have shaped my life as well (and continue to shape it), but these are the people who set my course. It is because of their influence that I maintain a high view of the inspiration and authority of Scripture. They are the ones who taught me to give my ministry away without charge and trust God for my income. They are the reason why Church History and the Book of Revelation are my teaching specialties, why Kaaren and I have a heart for missions, and why we understand the value of counsel and of long-term relationships. Next to Jesus Christ, these people are my story, and the reason I enjoy the fulfillment in ministry and family life that I do today!
Rod on Orcas
To read a brief synopsis of Roderick’s current activities, please go to our page about the BC2AD Instructor.
To contact the Gracianos, please click here .

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