LEWISBURG Tenn. (BNC) by Betty Choate — It seems providential that Ruth Orr did not know she had cancer and was not at all limited by it in her work until it was in the very final stages. (She died at home Nov. 4.) How blessed she and the family were, and how blessed were all the souls that she was able to teach or strengthen during those trips overseas in these last two or three years, instead of being compelled to devote those years to treating a disease!
I can only imagine the vast numbers of people who will spend eternity with God because of Ruth’s commitment and courage. Many Christians, faced with the loss of a husband, the overwhelming responsibilities of managing life alone, and concern for a large family of children and grandchildren, would have felt anchored to the busy-ness and safety of existence in the familiar world of the south, surrounded by fellow-Christians. Ruth did not choose that path.
Instead, she developed a mushrooming work of evangelism through World Bible School. That would have been challenge enough, but Ruth’s love for souls compelled her to recognize the need for personal follow-up, no matter where that led her.
So she spent large blocks of time each year in foreign worlds — not comfortably navigating around the cities and teaching those who might come to her, but traveling, in truth, to the “ends of the earth” in order to teach hungry souls face-to-face.
Knowing that death was imminent, Ruth’s concern was for the continuation of her World Bible School work. She wanted to live to complete arrangements for that, and God answered those prayers.
In the last conversation I had with her, she was asking about sending boxes of two books for students in the elementary school in Ghana, Africa, that bears her name.
For her family, and for all of us who knew her, Ruth’s example of total dedication to God and his work must serve as our example to deepen our own willingness to be used by him.
I thank God that I had the privilege to know such a brave soul.
Randal and his wife Vicki have lived and worked in Brazil since Nov. 1984. They have three children, two daughters-in-law, and five grandchildren. He likes to read novels in his back-porch hammock. http://randal.us