Telford Kenneth Ruten was born in Spalding, SK on March 17, 1933, the youngest of 4 children born to Peter and Tora Ruten after they had immigrated to Canada from Norway with their 4 oldest children. Because Telford was the youngest, by the time he was old enough to remember, all the family had decided to follow Jesus. This is how Telford gave his heart to the Lord in his own words:
“I was about 6 or 7 years old when I accepted Jesus as my Saviour. It is not clear to me what circumstances brought me to the place where I understood that I needed to be saved, but it was most likely the influence of the family – I was the youngest of seven and my siblings were all believers at the time.
Dad was working out in the field, and I was bringing lunch to him, walking through the pasture following a cow path, when this very definite sense came to me that I needed to ask Jesus to come into my heart. (I remember it very vividly) I stopped in the middle of the path, bowed my head and shut my eyes and prayed and asked Jesus to save me. Then I continued on my way for a few steps when I realized that I had forgotten something, so I stopped again, shut my eyes and said, ‘Amen!’ There were no special emotions involved, as I remember it, but just the certainty that this was what I needed to do. There seemed to be no doubt in my mind about my need and no doubt whatsoever that God heard my prayer and saved me. It is wonderful to me that the Lord hears the prayers of anyone who calls to Him for salvation!”
After graduating high school and some accounting training, he attended Millar Memorial Bible Institute from 1953 to 1956. In the same class at school, he met Ruth Elias. After their graduation from Millar their friendship progressed into a serious relationship.
Both Telford and Ruth were interested in missionary work and eventually each applied to S.I.M. for service in Africa and were accepted in 1958. They were married on January 3, 1959, and arrived in Burkina Faso (then Upper Volta) in March of 1959. Telford’s main ministry on the mission field was discipleship and working alongside national pastors. In later years he also worked in administration. Telford was known for his kindness, caring and generosity by all those who knew him. Whether it was food, money or time, he willingly gave it to the many people he encountered over the years. On the practical side, there were always vehicles to fix, tires to patch and change, mud brick walls to repair and he occasionally had to be available as an ambulance!
In 1997, after 38 years of service in Burkina Faso Telford and Ruth retired and came to live in Spalding, Saskatchewan in Canada near the Ruten family farm.
Telford is survived by his loving wife Ruth (Elias) and their four children and their families, one sister-in-law and many nephews, nieces, and other extended family members.
David (Marianne) Ruten
Andrew (Marie), Samuel, Tessa, Silas & Juliana Ruten
Philip (Esther) Ruten
David (Wynnale), Ava, Lucas, Jared & Natalie Ruten
Michael (Esther), Autumn, Joshua, Anchor, Daniel and Belle Ruten
Joel (Shania), Gemma Ruten
Amy (Adam), Wren Guenter
Joy (Bill – deceased) Stregger
Christofer (Brittany) Stregger
Martin (Christy), Kaitlyn, Rosalie & Amelia Stregger
He was predeceased by his parents, all his siblings and his son-in-law, Bill Stregger.
The Funeral Service for Telford was held on Saturday, May 13, 2023 at 1:00 p.m. from Crossroads Bible Church, Spalding, SK. Memorial Donations in Telford’s memory may be made to Millar College of the Bible or SIM – Doulos Literature Development (093945).