In the 1980’s, Ruth Hicks introduced herself to me at a conference where I was speaking at Blue Water Shiloh in Ontario, Canada. A discussion ensued and I found out she was a friend of Sharon and Nola, The Happiness Is trio, who had organized the conference and were on staff at our school, New Life Christian Academy. Little by little, I drew out of her that she was not only an evangelist but also an accomplished musician—both in voice and piano. That fall, we welcomed her on our Academy staff. She assisted the classroom supervisors, taught piano, directed vocal ensembles, and encouraged and inspired the staff and students every day. We were also delighted to have her grandchildren as students. Ruth was humble, yet a tremendous encourager, with deep spiritual roots and amazing biblical wisdom—a gifted lady. She loved her daughters and her grandchildren sacrificially with a godly fervor. In 1997, her Heavenly Father called her home, and most likely she has been singing in Heaven at the Throne of her beloved Savior, Jesus Christ.
One summer in the late 1980’s, Ruth was invited to go to California to speak at a special conference. She had a train ticket, $5.00, a box of crackers, a jar of peanut butter, and water— her only food all the way there. After the conference, on the way to the train station for her return trip to Michigan, her hosts asked her if she needed anything. She said she had to tell the truth: No she didn’t NEED anything. They had taken care of her lodging and meals while she was there and her return train ticket. She still had some leftover crackers and peanut butter, and a little change from the $5, which was enough to call me to say she had arrived back in Detroit. When I picked her up at the train station, she was rejoicing that she had been given the opportunity to share the gospel. That was enough!
After three years of working in the Academy, Ruth made a tearful resignation. Her commute was long, and she was finding the days more and more tiring. She left home early and, especially in the winter, didn’t get back home in the evening until dark. My last visit with her was a “two sisters” picnic at Belle Isle in Detroit. We had lunch, walked around the Island reminiscing about the goodness of God and her time with us, and sang a few songs together. After many hugs and a tearful time of prayer, we parted, knowing the Lord had brought us together and we would always love each other.
During her three years with us, Ruth composed many original songs. On several occasions, she spontaneously wrote a song in response to the Sunday morning sermon. (I have an audio of her singing several of these songs which I hope to eventually get on youtube.)
Ruth was truly a saint of the most high God and a treasure among us. Along with all of us who worked with her, her two daughters and her grandchildren have loving memories of her faithfulness to God.
ORDINARY PERSON by Ruth Hicks