Tom & Linda Panci Bio
Tom and Linda Panci, Youth With A Mission, French-speaking world and beyond, with Trinity Church’s Missions/Global Outreach since 1988
It’s been quite a ride over the years, with Linda starting her missionary career in Lausanne, Switzerland in 1971. She was answering to a word that the Lord had put into her heart in 1969, “I want you to go to France and write Christian songs.” Her obedience to that call led her to do a Youth With A Mission School of Evangelism in Lausanne. It was a fourteen month training school that has “prolonged” into 49 years of ministry to the French-speaking world. Her efforts of writing songs in French, gathering the songs of many French-speaking worship leaders and having English songs translated into French resulted in the editing and publishing of a youth hymnal which has become the most distributed in the French-speaking world. It is either sold or smuggled into 52 countries around the globe. Worship cassettes were made, then CDs and of course today’s web connections. Due to health reasons Linda passed on the leadership of YWAM’s French Music Ministry in 1980 to a disciple, Rolf Schneider, who has led the ministry with faithful passion. She has continued to stay in the loop though for French publications, worship leading, teaching and training up till the present. Parkinson’s disease is slowing her down at present, but every little influence and service that she can give is a subject of thanks. She has also helped launch the Worship Forum in both Switzerland and France, which is a gathering of regional worship leaders to come together and seek God as to what He is desiring and showing them in regards to leading worship for local congregations. This helps them also to develop personal friendships, which works to lessen any sense of competition amongst them, and they regularly organize conferences on and festivals of worship. For more detail, read her autobiography, Love Notes to God.
Tom got his foot into the French-speaking world through marrying Linda in 1985, after serving three years as a missionary to Japan with the Navigators. He came to Christ in January of 1974 through the Navigator ministry at Michigan State University. He always had a love for French and studied it for 6 years in high school and college. He asked God why He would send him to Japan, and learn Japanese, when he loved French so much. When God led Tom and Linda together at Wheaton College for their Master’s in Missions and Intercultural Studies program, and he found out that Linda’s call was to the French-speaking world, then the penny dropped! Linda opened many doors for Tom with local pastors that she had gotten to know in 13 years of ministry as a single in French-speaking Europe. He soon started preaching and teaching in local churches. Tom also took on the Human Resources Department at the YWAM Lausanne base from 1990 to early 1997. Then they transferred to the YWAM Burtigny base and led two Discipleship Training Schools. In 2001 they were mandated by YWAM to be doing public relations, recruiting, and promoting missions and worship in French-speaking Europe. Evangelism is also a major part of their ministry, with Tom being involved in the Swiss French-speaking Alpha Course Committee since 1998 till present, both in training leaders/groups and teaching in local courses. Tom also translates in YWAM training schools and local conferences regularly. He has also been active in YWAM’s “Paris I Love You” summer evangelism outreaches from 2005 to 2019. Though stopped by COVID this year, the hope is that there will be future times there. He also is on the executive board of YWAM Iasi in Romania.
As a couple they have run 19 Alpha Courses, done scores of missions conferences, church retreats, youth groups and services, teach in various YWAM schools or local church seminars, and have taken some trips to Eastern European countries for ministry projects, as well as Tom having gone to Mali and Togo in French West Africa for outreach and teaching opportunities. They have been committed to the local Chinese population of Lausanne since 1988, with Tom leading Bible studies for six years, and then helping them launch out on their own, offering advice, coaching and preaching up till today. Ten years ago the group became the Chinese Church of Lausanne and has 70 people attending weekly services. Coaching younger staff and local Christians, as well as doing some pre-marital and marital counseling rounds out their ministry.