Speaker: Dr. Craig Ott
Series: Gospel to the Nations
GETTING TO KNOW ME
When you hear the word “Mission” what comes to mind? How has the church typically defined “mission”?
Are you comfortable with that?
- What do you know of the regions of the world the EFCCL is involved in?
- Read Ruth’s story and talk about what it would be like to walk in her shoes and what impacts you from her life of service in missions.
- Reflect on Jesus’ “Great Commission” as recorded in Matthew 28:18-20 and Acts 1:1-8. How was God using these events to help the every believer understand Jesus’ commission? How does the fact that God says we will receive His power and go with you to accomplish this mandate affect you?
- Why should the church be involved in missions work? Use the Bible as you answer.
- Read John 15 , What can you take away about being a missionary form this passage?
- Read PSALM 67, How does this impact missions and your understanding of missions?
- Read Acts 17, What stands out to you from this passage? Why?
How does God want you to personally respond to missions weekend?
Do you believe that the call to spread the gospel is a calling for every Christian?
Defend your answer from Scripture. If you think it is, reflect on what that looks like in your life, and share with your group ways in which you can be more diligent in taking the gospel to the nations.
Spend time praying for your community group missionary.
Ruth Sundquist’s Life Story as a Missionary
Victor Sundquist, a farmer and his wife Ericka, a homemaker, were the parents of five children. Their fourth child, born in 1919, was Ruth. The family rarely went to church, never prayed or read the Bible, but Ruth believed they were Christians because they were "good people". Ruth's Mother was an unhappy woman. Saved as a child, she had turned away from the Lord and was remembered by Ruth as being angry and bitter. One day, when Ruth was 18 her older sister Margaret came home and told the family that she had become a Christian. Soon after, Ruth's mother announced that she had come back to the Lord and wanted to live for Jesus. Ruth witnessed such a complete change in her mother that she wrote, "I wanted her God to be my God". The family began attending the Swedish Mission Church in Crystal Lake (now the Evangelical Free Church of Crystal Lake-EFCCL) and Ruth's walk with Jesus began.
After graduating from high school in 1940, Ruth enrolled at the Moody Bible Institute to train to become a Sunday School teacher. She graduated in 1942 with a degree in Christian Education. While at Moody, Ruth was unsure of what her future plans might be but she knew she, "definitely did not want to become a missionary". As Ruth studied and spent more time in prayer she reached a point where she became determined to do whatever the Lord wanted. One morning in chapel, she suddenly heard a quiet voice saying, "Ruth, would you be willing to go to China to do orphanage work for Me?"
In 1942, WWII was raging and China was closed to missionaries as it was at war with Japan. So, Ruth went to Hazard, Kentucky to minister to the impoverished, setting up Sunday Schools and Bible classes in public schools. She was the first missionary sent out and supported by the EFCCL. Their prayer and financial support for her continued for the rest of her career. She remained in Kentucky until 1947.
In 1947, Ruth and three other Free Church missionaries set sail for China on a Norwegian freighter. Their first assignment was to take two years of language training in Canton. However, a year and a half later, they were evacuated to Hong Kong following the Communist takeover of Canton. Ruth worked in Hong Kong for the next three and a half years teaching the Bible to children in schools, camps and Sunday School. In 1952, Ruth returned to the States for deputation work. During a medical checkup it was discovered she was sick and she was strongly advised not return to Hong Kong. Ruth was stunned and dismayed by this turn of events. She began to pray and begged the Lord to heal her and allow her to do orphanage work as she had initially intended. The Lord did heal her and Ruth returned to the field in 1954.
In September 1954, when Ruth returned to Hong Kong, it was flooded with refugees who were living on sidewalks and in shacks, many of them orphans and unwanted children. Under the authority of the Evangelical Free Church of America, Ruth started the Evangel Children's Home in 1956, admitting children from the ages of two to five, then caring for them until they reached the age of eighteen. From the start, the goal was for the Home to be a "real home" and not an institution. Children were treated as individuals and they were taught about and shown the love of Jesus. Ruth stated, "We knew that the most important and enduring thing that we could give these children was an opportunity to have eternal life through the Lord Jesus. We could only help them a few short years but He would be their strength and guide all through their lives." Ruth continued to serve as Superintendent of the Evangel Children's Home until she retired in 1984 and left Hong Kong.
Orphaned Kids – An example of a life changed
September 1969 edition, Evangel Events: This paragraph reflects Ruth's love for the children and her desire to see them know God:
"We are so grateful to the Lord for His love and watch care over our large family day by day. Pray that we may know how to so teach the children that there may be instilled in their hearts a deep love and gratitude to the Lord for all his blessings and daily provision for our many needs."
Article from the EFCA Beacon, written by Ruth Sundquist, concerning David Chan. David came to the Evangel Children's Home in 1956 when he was two years old. In September of 1984, he became the Home's Director.
"There is a thrilling "secret" to this success story which I have not yet mentioned. A ladies' Sunday School class in the Crystal Lake, Illinois Evangelical Free Church took on the prayer and financial support of that two year old child 28 years earlier and prayed faithfully for him down through the years!"
To this day, The Evangel Children's Home is still in the business of ministering to the youth of Hong Kong.