Wellesley Walter Muir was born on October 28, 1926 in Santa Barbara, California to Walter and Ethel Muir who dedicated their firstborn son to the ministry. Not long after, the Muir family moved to Paso Robles, California. With two other families, they started a church school so that their children could receive a Christian education. Wellesley was the first student to graduate that had attended the little Paso Robles school all eight years.
Wellesley met Evelyn Chapman, his future wife, at a funeral in the Bay Area. Neither knew the deceased or each other. He preached and she sang a solo. He decided this beautiful blue-eyed blond nurse from San Francisco would be the perfect missionary minister’s wife. They married in 1954.
Wellesley completed nine years of evangelism and pastoral work in Central California before he and Evelyn accepted a call to the Lake Titicaca Mission where he became mission president. Still recuperating from serious injuries sustained while helping with a church community service center project, Wellesley arrived in Peru on crutches.
While living in Puno, Peru, on the shores of Lake Titicaca, Wellesley built a boat and began exploring the lake. On one of his excursions he saw the floating islands and realized these people needed to know Jesus, too. As a result of his efforts, a floating school was built and soon there were many people worshipping God on these islands. During sixteen years in Peru, Wellesley also served as youth director for the Central Peru Mission and the Inca Union Mission (which at that time encompassed the countries of Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador). His emphasis was encouraging young people to experience the joy of sharing Jesus thorough Voice of Youth Evangelism. Many were led to Christ as a result of evangelism conducted by South American Youth.