Pastor Tom Tomforde was born in Lake City, Minnesota (the birth place of water skiing), on a cold December day. No, his parents did not name their baby boy Thomas, but Ralph. But he has been Tom to friends and family since high school.
After graduation, Tom joined the Air Force, where he worked on avionics equipment, first in Bitburg, Germany, and then at Luke Air Force Base, outside of Phoenix. After the military, Tom worked defense electronics in Tempe, Arizona. It was here that Tom met Rosie, and six months later they were married.
When the opportunity arose to work overseas, the Tomfordes moved to Dhahran, Saudi Arabia, in March of 1988. Saudi is a militantly Muslim country where Bibles, churches and Christian symbols are not allowed. Tom and Rosie smuggled in a Bible for their personal use. One thing led to another, and they smuggled hundreds of Bibles into the country and then into the hands of others over the eight years that they were there. Tom also helped Christians of other nationalities establish churches and organize Bible studies.
When Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August of 1990, Tom and Rosie were less than 100 miles south of the war zone. The news carried reports that the Iraqi guns were being turned on Saudi, with Dhahran being a likely first target in an invasion. Rosie was evacuated along with almost three-year-old Zachariah and seven-month-old Emily. They spent a year in the Phoenix area while Tom stayed behind, watching Patriot missiles shoot down Scuds. This era brought many more Bibles into Saudi, most with the camouflage covers issued by the U.S. military. Many of these were left behind for a population that was hungry for God’s Word.
It was in Saudi Arabia that Tom first responded to the call on his life to minister God’s Word. It began with teaching Bible studies, but soon an entire church family was meeting in the Tomforde home. People from many countries and all walks of life found a church home here.
Tom and Rosie returned to the States in 1996. Tom again worked electronics, but the call of the Lord was still on his life. In 1998, they moved back to Phoenix to complete their education. Rosie graduated with a degree in accounting and currently works for the state of Arizona. Tom graduated from Grand Canyon University with a Bachelor of Arts in Biblical/Theological Studies, and from A.W. Tozer Seminary in Redding California with a Master of Ministry.
Pastor Tom is a licensed and ordained pastor with the Christian & Missionary Alliance. He has been serving as senior pastor of Christian Community Church since October 2000. He has preached the gospel on four continents, and distributed thousands of free tapes, CDs and Bibles worldwide. His passion is seeing people come to salvation through faith in Jesus Christ and growing in their faith. Evangelism, worship, and discipleship are the heart of his ministry.