Enduring Strength Through Christ

Crystal Ortmann

Graceful and attractive, Ruth Hoover's calm face belies the turmoil she has faced through her seventy-six years. Her infectious laugh, as she recounts the bitter past, is inspiring.

Ruth was born in Medicine Hat, Alberta, Canada, the sixth child. Her father was severely injured in a terrible accident when she was a baby. Those were tough times. He lost his job, and he lost the ability to support his large family, but he didn't give up.

Ruth was rich, though. Her parents loved the Lord and provided her with practical examples of faith. In the midst of a terrible time when she was burned badly as a child, she witnessed the power of prayer firsthand. She also received a rich heritage of love and fellowship while growing up in the church.

familyonbeachActs of Love and Kindness

In her book, Through the Years, The Things I Remember, Ruth says, 'During that time of hardship, people in Portland Gospel Tabernacle were very kind and generous to our family, and even though many in the city were struggling with very little in the way of income, the love of God's people in sharing was a life saver to us.”[1]

These concrete acts of love and kindness in the midst of trouble made a deep impression on the young girl. In school, class started with Bible reading, praying, and pledging allegiance to the flag. By memorizing many Scriptures, Ruth built a foundation that would help her in the difficult future.

As time passed, she married, and she and her husband, Wilf, were both thrilled when a son was born to them. Although money was scarce, Ruth was used to living on a shoestring, and they made do with what they had. Life was good.

Through the years of their married life, Wilf would occasionally go on business trips. She always worried when he flew. On one such trip, Wilf and his boss were planning to fly to California in the boss's small plane. Wilf hugged her and tried to laugh off her fears. After the men took off, Ruth prayed and hoped for a safe return; but in spite of her prayers, the worst happened.

On January 9, 1970, Ruth received word that Wilf's plane had vanished somewhere in the northern California wilderness. Numbly, she asked her pastor and friends for prayer.

'The worst times were at night, in those first few days,” she explained, 'when I would imagine him lying there injured, starving and freezing in the snow.”[2]

Searching for Wilf

Within hours, fellow believers were forming a search party. The husbands of two close friends flew down in another small plane to help. That tiny craft crashed into a mountain, killing both men. Now her grief was compounded with guilt.

Ruth remembers it got easier as time went on, as she realized he couldn't be alive. She faced a future alone with children to support and no income. Since Wilt's body had not been found, the authorities could not issue a death certificate, and she couldn't collect insurance or Social Security.

Once again, her family and church helped her through the nightmare. They prayed when she was too weak to pray. She received financial help and a part-time job from caring people.

Ruth became a powerful testimony to others.  Four months later, her husband's body was finally found. Though it was difficult, that discovery gave her peace. In the dark days and years that followed, Ruth experienced the wonderful love of Jesus Christ through caring, loving Christians. As time went on, Ruth became a powerful testimony to others.

Ruth's life hasn't been easy. She lost her second husband to illness. She, herself, experienced a heart attack, and she recounts in her book: 'During the ghastly pain I was suffering, I realized in a very real way how much it means to follow Jesus in life. I had no doubt that I was ready to meet my Maker and Savior. However, since my recovery, I know God isn't through with me yet.”[3] He continues to be a source of enduring strength for Ruth.

[1] Used by permission from Ruth Hoover.

[2] Used by permission

[3] Used by permission