Born in Hong Kong in 1939, John Bechtel is the son of missionaries who served 51 years in China. As a toddler, he escaped with his mother on the last ship departing Hong Kong before the Japanese occupation of World War II. His father was interned by the Japanese in a concentration camp while John spent the war years with his mother in the United States.
Upon graduation from Houghton College in New York in 1962, John travelled to Hong Kong where he felt the call to serve Christ among the Chinese people. He returned to the United States and studied at Nyack College and Jaffray School of Missions in preparation.
During his time as a missionary with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Hong Kong, he and wife Donna purchased Suen Douh Camp for the miraculous sum of $1 and established a camping program with an evangelistic emphasis. Since its inception in 1971, over 1.7 million people have experienced the evangelistic program and over 160,000 of them have indicated a decision to accept Christ. He spearheaded a church planting project in China which has blossomed to over 130 churches today.
John served as Field Chairman of the Hong Kong Christian and Missionary Alliance from 1973 to 1980 and was, for periods during those years, Chairman of the Board of the Alliance Bible Seminary and the Alliance Press. John served on the Board of Managers of the Christian and Missionary Alliance from 1976 to 1981 and on the Board of Camp-of-the-Woods for over 30 years.
In 1981, Mr. Bechtel joined the Arthur S. DeMoss Foundation as Project Director for Hong Kong, Taiwan and China. Between 1983 and his retirement in 2004, John served as Project Director Coordinator and for 10 years as Director of International Ministries.