One of our youngest beloved missionaries, Ruthie Stoscher, is now in the presence of Jesus. She went home to be with our Lord Nov. 5, and her husband Mark, who many in our church family know well, posted this quote adapted from D.L. Moody:
“Ruthie says: ‘Some day you will hear that Ruthie is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now; I shall have gone up higher, that is all, out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal — a body that death cannot touch, that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body.'”
Ruthie Stoscher’s Memorial service will be live streamed at 5am PST (2pm Albania time) Saturday, Nov. 12. To view the live-stream, Click Here >>
She and her husband Mark met at Fuller Seminary and married 28 years ago, and we’ve been part of their ministry ever since. Since 1993, they’ve been working in Albania, and raised their children there. With a team of Albanian leaders and several other missionaries, they lead a growing church. They also led a camping program for 1,500 children every summer, where Ruthie and Mark hosted many of our FPCH Youth students for their first exposure to global mission. Winters, they host a 6-month Bible school for Albanians and international students.
The Stoschers made Jesus’ Kingdom so real to our FPCH students, and so much bigger than typical high school challenges. We invite you to read more about their experiences from Dr. Nick Barrett, who led several of these high school summer missions trips.
“If you can help it don’t say rest in peace,” Mark asks. “She is dancing and singing — full of joy and life — with our Savior who is ALWAYS faithful and true and good. Her desire in life and in this moment is that you would know this.”
We want to rejoice with Mark at Ruthie’s eternal healing from cancer, and pray that God’s nearness and lovingkindness would carry him and their children in all the days to come. Several in our congregation have been praying and fasting for Ruthie’s healing and that God would be glorified in whatever came.
With Mark, we praise God for Ruthie’s life, and all He will continue to do — to God be the glory!
Mark reports that Albania continues to be open to the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Pray for their family and especially their children, for their ministry team, and for their outreach ministries and camping, where hundreds of youth and children commit their lives to Christ every summer.
From our former Youth Director, Dr. Nick Barrett:
“The youth ministry at First Pres Hollywood made several trips to Albania to serve the Stochers’ ministry between 2006-2017.
On these short term missions, our students served as counselors at the youth summer camp ministry and helped with the VBS program in Ersekë. As such, Mark and Ruthie empowered our youth to join in God’s redeeming work to hundreds of Albanian teenagers and children each summer. They encouraged us to serve in ways that stretched us beyond our comfort zones. They showed us how to creatively connect with young people from very diverse economic and familial backgrounds. And, they entrusted us with the most sacred part of their ministry: to share the Gospel with children, youth, and families in their community.
One story returns to me often. On our 2017 trip, Mark and Ruthie invited our team to have lunch with their family at their home in Ersekë. As we ate together, Mark and Ruthie shared that they had felt the call of God to expand their family circle by legally adopting dozens of youth from Ersekë. Many of these children—many of whom were at the table with us—were victims of abuse and abandonment. What we saw in Ruthie at that moment, was a biological and spiritual mother whose unstoppable love and generosity extended to children beyond her own—by making them her own. Our hearts were so deeply moved by what we saw around that table: a bright vision of God’s new family. A family where the discarded and rejected are rescued, loved, and dignified. A family where God and the Kingdom of God is cherished as the highest good. A family who vividly and profoundly embodies the Gospel of Christ and gives it away freely and powerfully. This was the kind of mother and woman of God Ruthie Stocher was—a mother who reflected the way God carries his children from the land of bondage and lostness to the land of family and promise. I am so grateful for her life and witness.”
Photos taken during our FPCH Youth Group missions trip to support the Stoschers’ ministry in Albania.