Youth for Christ Years

Bob Cook’s early years with Youth for Christ Bob was with Youth for Christ from 1948-1957
The opening rally for Chicagoland YFC was held in Orchestra Hall on May 27, 1944 with Billy Graham speaking to over 2000 people. They filled the auditorium every Saturday for 21 subsequent weeks.
A Chicagoland YFC rally, ca. 1944
A photo of Youth for Christ promotions in downtown Chicago (with a teasing note from a prank-pulling peer of Dr. Cook)
Bob Cook speaking at a Chicagoland Youth for Christ event
Bob Cook and Percy Crawford, Chicagoland YFC Rally, ca. 1948
Bob Cook preaching
Peter Deyneka and Bob Cook A great friend, Peter Deyneka was converted by Paul Rader at Moody Bible Church in Chicago, IL. He later became involved with YFC and the ministry. He was known by the nickname, “Peter Dynamite”, for the great enthusiasm he brought to meetings. In 1936, Peter went on to found the ministry, “Russian Gospel Association.” The ministry continues today under the name, “Slavic Gospel Association.”
Members of the Cook and Johnson family arriving at Soldier Field, ca. May 30, 1945
Dr. Cook posing with a policeman before the Soldier Field Rally
Soldier Field Rally crowds, ca. 1948
Torrey Johnson at the Soldier Field Rally Sensing God calling him to YFC ministry, Torrey mortgaged his house to help pay for the event
A 70,000-person crowd at the rally in Soldier Field
Children singing on a float at Soldier Field
A 300-piece band providing music for the crowd
Choir pit waiting to be filled
Band marches onto the field
Band marching at the rally
The band pit at Solider Field
WMBI and WDLM radio stations broadcasting the event
Solider laying a wreath in memory of his fallen brothers The rally took place on May 30, 1945, just three weeks after V-E Day. Bob Evans, a chaplain in the navy, and still in active duty, gave his testimony that day.
Ceremony in the field
Directors conducting the choirs from the track
500 flag-bearing nurses marching in the event
Nurses marching in
Bob Cook leading the crowds in song
Arranging “Youth for Christ” with human-sized letters
Two young men racing Gil Dodds A graduate of Ashland and Wheaton College, Gil Dodds was known as “The Flying Parson.” By 1948, he had broken the world-record for the mile three times, running it in 4:05.3. Gil began his ministry with YFC from 1945-1959, and was also track coach at Wheaton College.
Gil Dodds running in Cannes, France, ca. 1940’s
Gil Dodds racing at the event
Bob Cook with a speaker at the rally
Violinist with a group of young people looking on
Young voices at the event
Another event speaker
The Solider field crowd Some rally attendees came prepared with binoculars.
Musician Doug Fisher from Midwest Bible Church in Chicago, IL
Full-size band playing at the event
Choirs singing
Young women singing -- perhaps nursing students
Leading the crowds in song
Torrey Johnson and others on stage at the event
Drama, with a salvation message
Actors performing
Crowd shot of the drama performance
Engaging the crowd from the stage
Leading in song
Addressing the crowds
Torrey Johnson delivering a message
The animated Torrey Johnson
Music playing quietly during a time of response
A group of attendees kneeling by the platform
Kneeling around the cross on the field
Attendees reaching out to Christ
A heart-felt reaction to the gospel message
Bob Cook praying with attendants of the Soldier Field Rally
Bob Cook in prayer with attendants of the Soldier Field Rally
Seven weeks after the first Soldier Field Rally Torrey Johnson was elected President of the movement. The slogan, “Geared to the Times, Anchored to the Rock” was adopted shortly thereafter.
Bob Cook greeting young people
Doug Fisher, Torrey Johnson, and Billy Graham
Bob Cook at a YFC event, ca. 1948
A young Billy Graham and Bob Cook
Chicagoland Youth for Christ Second Annual Banquet. Stevens Hotel, Chicago, IL, ca. February 8, 1946
Bob Cook showcasing the genuine smile he was known for
Bob Cook preaching
Youth baptisms
The 4th Annual Chicagoland YFC Banquet at the Stevens Hotel Chicago, IL, ca. February 6, 1948
Cake at the 4th Annual Banquet
Cliff Barrows leading singing at Moody Church with Bob Cook behind him on the platform
Left to right: Percy Crawford, Bob Cook, OJ Smith, and another man paging through a Youth for Christ pamphlet
Cedric Sears and Bob Cook Chicagoland YFC, ca. 1949
Bob Cook behind the pulpit
Bob Cook
Youth for Christ Rally, Minneapolis, MN
A featured soloist, Bev Shea, ca. 1947
Youth for Christ staff evangelists
Bob Cook with Phil and Louie Palermo The Palermo brothers were known for good humor, hearty laughs, and a burning love for their Savior and his gospel. Using their musical talents in evangelism, they began their ministries in 1938 with the Chicago Midnight Brigade, and later on with Youth for Christ from 1947 until 1982. Two years after the end of World War II, they visited war-torn Italy and held evangelistic meetings for YFC. The phrase, “’Atsa Louie, I’ma Phil,” became known across the globe and a book on their ministry was eventually published under that name.
YFC group photo Bob Cook is to the far left, with Evon Hedley and the Palermo Brothers singing with an Italian pastor in Toronto, Canada
All-night prayer meetings with YFC -- “Staying on your knees a little longer”
Staff of Youth for Christ at the Annual convention at Winona Lake, IN, ca. July of 1949 L to R front row: Roy McKeown, Jack Cochrane, John Henderson, Paul B. Smith, Phil Palermo, Floyd Ankerberg, Phil Palermo, Charles Anderson 2nd row: George Wilson, Walter H. Smyth, Robert A. Cook, Torrey Johnson, Billy Graham, Paul Maddox, Frank Phillips, TW Wilson, Cliff Barrows 3rd row: Bill Stevens, Harold Jordan, Evon Hedley, Jack Hamilton, Herb Tyler, Clyde Rowe, Ed Darling 4th row: Mel Larson, Ken Anderson, Dick Hillis, Chuck White, Al Metsker, Cy Jackson, Cedric Sears
Bob Cook in an Air France terminal, ca. 1946
YFC Staff: Billy Graham, Bob Cook, and Cedric Sears
Clayton Booth (song leader, Seattle), Bob Cook (evangelist), Evon Hedley (Brantford, Ontario) and Bob Haag at the organ in Des Moins, IA
Billy Graham in Milwaukee, WI In August of 1945, Torrey Johnson hired Billy Graham as YFC’s first full-time evangelist. Speaking all over the country, Billy logged 135,000 miles in the air that first year.
YFC rally
YFC Convention at Winona Lake, IN, ca. 1948 Torrey Johnson reported that the YFC international office was in touch with 800 rallies in North America and in 46 countries. That same summer of 1948 at Winona Lake, IN, Torrey Johnson declined being nominated for a fourth term as President. He instead nominated Bob Cook to succeed him.
Bob Cook shortly after being nominated for President of Youth for Christ in the summer of 1948
Christmas staff party- L to R front row Cedric Sears; unknown; Ted Engstrom; Bob Cook; Sam Wolgemuth; unknown; and Wendy Collins Back row, far left: Amy Anderson, secretary to Torrey Johnson; 6th from left, Louise Alfors, (Bob Cook’s secretary); 7th from left, Carolyn Cook, (Bob Cook’s daughter)
A photo signed by the Palermos for Dr. Cook Affectionately titled, “Il President.”
Bob Cook and a Christmas mailing “As Bob Cook took the Presidency, the financial load from so many new obligations across the world became much heavier. In 1949 YFC Magazine reported, “The amazing thing is that Cook never talks in terms of dollars and cents without first emphasizing, ‘Let’s be sure we know God’s will in this matter. If we do His will, He’ll take care of the finances….If our leadership stays on its knees and emphasizes evangelism, I feel that God may have many years of glorious harvest in store for us.’” -Dr. Art Deyo Celebrating 70 Years of Youth for Christ
Jack Hamilton and Bob Cook In 1946, Jack Hamilton started High School Bible clubs to pursue a more personal form of discipleship than that found at the YFC rallies. Dr. Cook said, “The rally idea is sound, but in most places the rally is just the show window. Let’s get something on the counters the rest of the week.” By 1952, YFC clubs passed the 1000 mark. Bible clubs had become for the 1950’s what the Saturday night rallies had been in the 1940’s.
High School Bible Club growth
YFC Club Group
Bob Cook speaking to a group of teenagers in Kansas City, MO, in the Temple building
A group of evangelists boarding a Canadian Pacific plane Right to left - Elliott Stedelbauer, Evon Hedley, Hubert Mitchell, Phil and Louie Palermo, and others
Premier E. C. Manning, Premier of Alberta, Canada; Dr. Robert Cook; and Rev. Bob Simpson, Regional Vice-President of Western Canada
President Bob Cook with Rev. OJ Smith Rev. Smith was a pastor of Peoples Church in Toronto, Canada
Bob Cook, Merrill Dunlop, and Greg Tingson In 1947-1948, Bob Cook, Merrill Dunlop and Greg Tingson began planning a major overseas trip to many countries in the what was then referred to as “the Orient.” The countries included the Philippines, Formosa (now Taiwan), and India. The trip concluded in Switzerland where the historic YFC World Congress would be held. 230 delegates from all over the world attended this first World Congress meeting.
Merrill Dunlop, Gregorio Tingson with YFC in Japan
Greg Tingson, Bob Cook, and Merrill Dunlop, ca. 1948
Saying goodbye at the airport Bob Cook, Coreen Cook, and their two daughters, Carolyn and Marilyn
Dr. Cook touring a submarine while visiting Cuba
An airplane prop roaring outside the window
Bob Cook peering out an airplane window
Stopping in Hawaii on the way to the Philippines
Bob Cook preaching at Zambanga Evangelical Church in the Philippines, ca. February 29, 1948
Bob Cook preaching the gospel through a translator
Bob Cook ministering in Formosa (Taiwan)
Bob Cook receives a greeting
Jack Cochrane speaking in Formosa
Passing out tracts
Bob Cook preparing to hand out tracts on the street in Formosa
Bob Cook addressing the crowd
A crowd responding to the gospel in Formosa
Bob Cook and Merrill Dunlop posing with cameras in hand Bob was known to be a camera enthusiast.
Taylor University and Venture for Victory teaming up with YFC to play basketball in Formosa as a part of the rallies there with Dick Hillis. Taylor had a 51-52 record that season.
A letter announcing the basketball initiative In those days, YFC was always creating new, fresh communication avenues to reach people with the gospel.
Bob Cook and a basketball player before one of the YFC games
A large rally featuring some local youth on-stage
A stadium full of YFC rally attendees
Calcutta and Percy Crawford
Visiting with local missionaries in India Bob Cook and Merrill Dunlop, back row to the right
Bob Cook flashing a smile “I see him after a long day of work with burdens bearing down and yet they never bear hard enough to destroy the Spirit within Him.”—Joseph Hinterberger
Bob Cook at a YFC luncheon
Bob Cook chats with a broadcaster
Bob Cook and Billy Graham seated to the left of Cliff Barrows as he leads singing at a rally
Bob Cook preaching an animated sermon
Bob Cook making strong a point
Bob Cook preaching in the pulpit
Bob Cook preparing to speak
Gordon McLean sharing the gospel with young men at the State School for Delinquents
Taking off with Stuart Hamblin for another week of far-away meetings On the top left is Stuart Hamblin. Bob Cook is on the bottom far right Stuart Hamblin was a popular singer and actor in the 1930’s. Sometimes called radio’s first singing cowboy, he appeared in movies with Roy Rogers, Gene Autry and John Wayne. When Billy Graham came to Los Angeles in 1949 for an historic evangelistic crusade, Hamblin attended a meeting and surrendered his life to Christ. A later meeting between Hamblin and John Wayne later confirmed that Stuart had indeed become a Christian, and that God had changed his life -- the song, “It Is No Secret What God Can Do,” was the result of that conversation.
YFC News Release on reaching youth in jails and delinquent centers
Bob Cook holding the Rankin Award (given to the Best Youth Programs of the 1950’s)
The Youth for Christ International leadership L to R: Hubert Mitchell, Secretary for World Evangelism; Dr. Bob Cook, President; Billy Graham, Vice-president; Ted W. Engstrom, Executive Director
Bob Cook preparing for an appearance on WTCN radio in Minneapolis, MN
Cedric pinning a YFCI pin on Bob Cook, ca. 1950
Bob Cook and Ted Engstrom preparing to travel to Tokyo, Japan, for a YFC World Congress
A reception at Tokyo airport for the YFC World Congress
An overseas meeting
Bob Cook meeting with delegates in Japan
Bob Cook praying with delegates and YFC staff in Japan
Sam Wolgemuth (second from the left), and others from YFC staff meeting new faces in Japan
A YFC mobile unit in Japan
Bob Cook attending a luncheon in Japan
Bob Cook attending a Japanese luncheon
Bob Cook playing his trombone at a Japanese YFC meeting
Bob Cook and Merrill Dunlop holding sign advertising Japanese YFC meetings
Ted Engstrom, Bob Cook, and Sam Wolgemuth sharing hibachi in Japan
Ted Engstrom, Bob Cook, and another over hibachi
The Palermos on radio overseas
The Palermos on radio overseas
Bob Cook here with his wife, Coreen, in his Wheaton, IL, home study It was in this setting that Dr. Cook would pen several books over a period of years including his most popular transcript, “Now That I Believe”
Bob Cook with his book, “It’s Tough to Be a Teenager,” with Eric Hutchings and his, “Five Past Ten”
Bob Cook playing his trombone at a Japanese YFC meeting
Bob Cook receiving approval from his two teenage daughters, Carolyn and Marilyn after the publishing of his book, “It’s Tough to Be a Teenager”
The Cook’s third daughter, Lois Coreen
Re-nominated for President, ca. 1953
Bob Cook with Evon Hedley, ca. 1953
David Morkan
David Morkan -- China and Japan opposition to the gospel
Bob Cook and Dave Morkan
Bob Cook and Dave Morkan
Billy Graham with Bob Cook and Ma Sunday in Winona Lake, IN
Winona Lake, Indiana
Cedric Sears, Ma Sunday, and Bob Cook in Winona Lake, IN Ma Sunday was the widow of the famed evangelist, Billy Sunday. She faithfully supported YFC’s cause over the years. The Sunday’s were from Winona Lake, IN, and the YFC Conferences were held there in the Billy Sunday Tabernacle.
A few children of YFC staff members playing outside the Winona Hotel during the Annual YFC Convention
Bob Cook, Coreen, and their three daughters In this picture, Bob’s high school-aged daughters, Carolyn and Marilyn, were participating in quizzing contests during the annual convention in Winona Lake, IN. Their youngest sister, Lois, and their Mother cheered them on.
Quizzing team from Kansas City, MO
Quiz Team
The Cook family in Winona Lake, IN
Leaving for Caracas, Venezuela, ca. 1953
Bob Cook and his two daughters, Carolyn and Marilyn, leaving for Caracas, Venezuela. Carolyn and Marilyn won the trip by winning a quizzing competition -- the winning team went to the YFC World Congress in Venezuela.
Bob Cook
Bob Cook with his family in Wheaton, IL
Wendy Collins and Ted Engstrom speaking at a meeting
Bob Cook meeting with the Gideons
Bob Cook in Maranatha, WI
Bob Cook meeting with Colonel Paul Maddox, Chief of Chaplains in the European theater. When retired from the military, he joined Youth for Christ
Colonel Paul Maddox
Bob Cook meeting with a group
A shot from Dr. Cook’s trip to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, ca. December 1961
Bob Cook meeting with two YFC staffers
Dr. Cook approaching a helicopter in Cuba
A helicopter ride with the Marines while in Cuba
Bob Cook in San Diego with students
The 13th Annual YFC Convention in Winona Lake, IN, ca. July 1961 Left to right: Dave Breese, Ted Engstrom (President), Carl Bihl (Secretary), Elliott Stedelbauer (Treasurer).
Board of Trustees 1965 Front row left to right: Carl Gunderson, Robert Cook, Theodore Engstrom, Billy Graham, Sam Wolgemuth, Ed Darling, Jack Sonneveldt Back row left to right: Elliott Stedelbauer, Ben Weiss, Roy McKeown, Frank Phillips, Bob Pierce, Al Metsker, Floyd Ankerberg, Jacob Stam, Jack Hamilton, Paul Hartford
YFC Past Leaders Left to right: Bob Cook (1948-1957), Ted Engstrom (1957-1963), Torrey Johnson (1945-1948), Billy Graham, Carl Bihl (1963-1965), Sam Wolgemuth (1965-1973
YFC Leadership 40-year Reunion Jay Kesler (1973-1985), Ted Engstrom (1957-1963), Sam Wolgemuth (1965-1973), Carl Bihl (1963-1965), Bob Cook (1948-1957), Torrey Johnson (1945-1948).
YFC Past Leaders Left to right: Bob Cook (1948-1957), Ted Engstrom (1957-1963), Torrey Johnson (1945-1948), Billy Graham, Carl Bihl (1963-1965), Sam Wolgemuth (1965-1973)
YFC Past Leaders Back row: Carl Bihl, Ted Engstrom, Torrey Johnson, Bob Cook. Front row: Dick Wynn, Jay Kesler, Sam Wolgemuth.
Cover of the Northwestern Pilot Magazine. Magazine highlighted the ministry of Youth For Christ in this October 1949 issue. Northwestern Pilot Magazine was put out by the Northwestern Schools in Minneapolis, MN
Page 5 of Northwestern Pilot Magazine-Gil Dodd, top athlete, speaks at YFC Rally
Page 8 of Northwestern Pilot Magazine-Revival! The Beating Heart of Youth for Christ
Page 9 of Northwestern Pilot Magazine-This is the Lord’s Doing—Story of YFC
Page 10 of Northwestern Pilot Magazine-Billy Graham—God Did It!
Page 11 of Northwestern Pilot Magazine-Story continued by Billy Graham
Flyer for Annual Convention at Winona Lake, IN
Flyer for Winona Lake convention
YFC advertising flyer showing all the speakers for 15 day convention
Booklet: Not a Man, Not a Movement, Not a Machine, Not a Movement, But a Vision!
God Did It! By Billy Graham
China Challenge
French evangelism
Meetings in Belfast, Ireland for the fifth World Congress on Evangelism
Our Supreme Task by Billy Graham
Flyer advertising movie, Counter Attack!
Booklet about giving to Youth for Christ
Booklet by Ben Weiss
Know How-Procedure and Ideas
Know How-Organization
Know How-Blue Print
Know How-Clubs and Your Rally
Organization-Proved Procedures
What Is Youth for Christ International?
Youth for Christ policy
President’s Message: Are You Willing to Die?
Announcement of new President, Bob Cook
Flying Evangelist announced
YFC in Nigeria
YFC in Brazil
Bibles and Basketball in Formosa
45,000 confess Christ in Formosa
Reaching a different segment of the youth population
High School clubs
Challenge from the President of YFC
Letter from Bob Cook’s sister, Mildred, to be read at a YFC function honoring Bob.
Letter from Bob Cook talking about the conference coming up at Winona Lake, Indiana in 1946
Page 2 from the Chicago Daily News, Saturday February 3, 1945 Biggest sensation in the world of religious revival since the days of Billy Sunday is the Rev. Torrey Johnson, Chicago evangelist, whose success in drawing bobby-sox armies down the sawdust trail is making him nationally famous. Johnson’s methods are the exact opposite of Sunday’s. where the latter’s battle against the Devil was dramatic, athletic, strenuous, screaming, startling, Johnson’s is easy-going, confidential, quiet-voiced, precise, his personality keyed to the microphone, his programs geared to youth. His musicians and singers follow with quiet admonition—“Hymns with a punch.” They stop barely short of “swing.” A typical scene each Saturday night at Moody Church when the Chicagoland Youth for Christ rallies are in full sway. Evangelist Torrey Johnson calls to the platform recent converts who tell the “unsaved” portion of the audience their experiences with conversion. Above, Joy Nichols, 1901 W. Addison Street, age 17 says: “I am so glad the Lord has saved me and I recommend Him to every young person who wants complete happiness.” Fifteen-year-old Earl Farrell, 2111 S. Drake Avenue, “accepted Christ when I was 12.” NEWS-VIEWS cover shows Lois Richards, 2558 McVickers Avenue, praying for the boys overseas. She is flanked by Sailor Thomas Bingham, Navy Pier, survivor of 11 battles, and by Sgt. Harold S. Lima, Keesler Field, Miss., who, before the war, was studying to be a missionary.