In 1986 I flew with two American Messianic Fellowship colleagues to New York City. Our mission: explore ministry partnership opportunities with a sister Jewish ministry.
Among the welcoming party at the airport was a diminutive little lady with rosy cheeks and a great big smile. Dressed conservatively – long dress, gray hair pulled up in a bun – Ruth Rexon radiated the love of the Lord. Her effervescence soon had us chatting like old friends.
We quickly learned Ruth was a veteran missionary, having served with Bible Christian Union since 1945. With what seemed photographic recall, she was a font of historical knowledge. As we toured Immanuel House (the ministry center of Message to Israel/Immanuel Ministries International on Flatbush Avenue in Brooklyn) she rattled off names and dates like a museum docent.
Sister Ruth began serving as IMI’s Board Secretary in 1986.. She overflowed with love for the Jewish people and for New York City. Her enthusiasm for life and zeal for evangelism were infectious. In didn’t take long before this little lady captured a place in my heart.
IMI merged with AMF in 2008. [By then we were known as Life in Messiah International (LIFE for short).] Along with three other members of IMI’s Executive Committee, Ruth joined LIFE’s board. Board colleague George Duff from Lancaster would meet her at the Philadelphia airport for the flight to O’Hare when LIFE’s board met. Ruth’s long years of service, including international travel and a keen grasp of both Scripture and the importance of Jewish ministry to God’s heart, made her an invaluable board member.
Ruth regaled us with stories of her mission trips. Once in some foreign land she was whisked around busy streets on the back of a motor scooter, hair flying, hanging on for dear life. Even in telling the tale, her eyes danced. She had a zest for life that would not quit!
One night in Brooklyn Ruth wanted to go visit a Muslim family to whom she had been witnessing. Steve Williamson offered her a ride in his big pickup truck. Pulling up to the home of her friends, Steve parked along the curb and jumped out to help Ruth down from the high-off-the-ground seat. By the time he got around to the passenger side, Ruth had already hopped down and was scurrying for the house. Not a minute to waste while on the Lord’s business!
Ruth Rexon served with distinction until she retired in November 2013, citing concerns of family members that her old eyes couldn’t see well enough to drive home in the dark upon returning from Chicago. Even advancing age didn’t diminish her zeal or boundless energy. We honored her at her last board meeting with a cake in the shape of the Energizer Bunny.
Ruth Rexon’s lifelong love for the Lord and the Scriptures were reflected in her love for the Jewish people and desire to see them hear the good news of Messiah Jesus. Her dedication to global evangelism touched everyone God put in her path. Her prodigious memory was a rich treasure chest of ministry knowledge. But it was her personal compassion and love for each person God placed in her path that caused all who knew Ruth to adore her.
Ruth Rexon went to her eternal reward on January 5, 2019. We at Life in Messiah thank the Lord for this remarkable, godly, energetic woman and the lasting impact of her life. May all who come behind us find us as faithful as was Sister Ruth!