Ruth Kuck-A Woman who Loved God

“Mark, I have a place for you to stay this summer.”  Pastor Doyle McDaniel said these words with great pleasure.  I was anticipating spending the summer in Charlotte to fulfill my final requirement to graduate from Olivet College. This last requirement would an internship at Calvary Baptist Church.

Pastor McDaniel had convinced  Ruth Kuck, a widow in the church,  that I needed a place to stay. Because of her kind heart, she accepted me in her home for the summer  I didn’t know Ruth well, but that would soon change.  It would be the beginning of a thirty-five year relationship.

Ruth had been a long-time member of the church.  she was faithful to attend all the church services, and she loved to sing in the choir.  The characteristic that stood out in Ruth’s life was her prayer life.  She was a “Prayer Warrior”.  She also loved to read her Bible.  While staying with Ruth, she introduced me to the idea of reading the Bible and praying together.  This was new to me because I had only become a Christian the year before.  She taught me through  her life and her love for the Lord and others.

Ruth also had a keen sense of hospitality.  She always invited people over for a small meal or ice cream after church.  She enjoyed having people in her home with conversation that centered around the Lord Jesus Christ.

One Sunday afternoon, I had decided that I would go out and mow the grass.  Ruth did not approve.  She told me that we don’t do such things on the Lord’s Day.  The point she made to me was that the Lord’s Day was special.  It was a lesson I never forgot.

My summer was soon over.  I was grateful for all that Ruth did for me that summer.  She continued to keep up with my life.  She attended my ordination service.  When Sharon and I served overseas she faithfully prayed for us and our ministry.  She would even ask about specific people in our ministry.  Every birthday she would send our children a card and $7.00. She always signed the card “Love, Grandma Kuck”. She never missed a birthday, whether we were in South Africa or Portugal.

In 1996, we returned to the States and I became the pastor of the same church where I met Ruth.  Ruth was  now in her eighties, but she was still very involved in the church.  Her prayer life was still as vibrant as ever.  Her love for the Lord also increased as she moved into her nineties.

Ruth eventually could no longer take care of herself.  She went to live in an assisted living home.  Even in her last days, she would still love to talk about her Lord to the residents and anybody who would visit her.

Ruth entered into the presence of her Lord in 2009 at the age of ninety-five.  Ruth is greatly missed, not only by me, but by the many people for whom she prayed.

At Ruth’s funeral, I placed a pair of her shoes on pulpit.  I asked who would fill her shoes, especially in the area of prayer.  She certainly had very big shoes.   Unfortunately, many of us are too busy to stop and take time to be a prayer warrior like Ruth.

Ruth taught me much by her example, including the importance of prayer and a love for the Word of God.  She also taught me that in spite of the trials of life, I can always keep my eyes on the Lord.  Truly, Ruth lived up to her namesake in the Bible.  Ruth reminds  of  a verse in Proverbs that says:  “Who can find a virtuous woman? For her price is far above rubies.” (Proverbs 31:10)

I thank the Lord for bringing Ruth Kuck into my life!  I have a richer life as a result of Ruth’s example, her prayers, and her words.   Her life made me realize that I also can have an impact upon the lives of others.

Grant Hoyland-A True Servant of The Lord (May 18, 1955-June 14, 2001)

 

In the early morning of June 14, 2001, the telephone awoke us.  Who would be calling this early?  I answered the phone and heard Pastor Ruben May (Johannesburg, South Africa) on the end of the line. His voice was quiet and sad. Something was wrong.  “Last night, Grant was carjacked and later murdered”.  Thoughts started flooding my mind.  “Why Grant?”  “God, why did you allow this to happen?”

Grant had entered  our lives in 1984.  He came to the church in Hillbrow as a result of being invited by a temporary secretary at the law office where he was working.  At first, his attendance was rather sporadic, but he soon accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as His Saviour.  As time went by, Grant became very involved in various church ministries.   He had a great love for the people in Hillbrow, especially the children.  He would faithfully do door to door visitation, and he ministered in the Awana Club Ministry.  He also became an excellent preacher of the Word.

After we left South Africa, Grant attended Bible College.  In 1999 we visited South Africa and stayed with Grant for a couple of weeks.  We had some terrific talks.   During that time, the Hillbrow church ordained Grant  for the Gospel ministry.  I never heard a person do so well in an ordination council.   Grant, by this time, decided to leave his full-time work as a lawyer and only work part-time.   His desire was to give as much time to the Lord’s service as possible as the Assistant Pastor of the Hillbrow Independent Baptist Church.

Though Grant is in the presence of the Lord,  he is greatly missed by many people in Johannesburg.  Here was one person who selflessly gave his life for those around him.

During the aftermath of Grant’s death, the young people in the Hillbrow church were challenged to fill the shoes that Grant had left behind.  One of the young people responded: “His shoes are too big for us to fill.”  Though many in this world never knew Grant, he was truly a man greatly used of God.

I thank the Lord for the privilege to have had been Grant’s pastor and friend. He truly lived out  1 Corinthians 15:58:  “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not in vain in the Lord.”