The hands of a man

A dear friend passed away earlier this week.

Ken Rundell was born in England in 1919. He lived a full and blessed life: he helped liberate concentration camps in WWII; he was a missionary for over 60 years living in Africa, England, Switzerland, Finland and Russia; he was a true servant; he was a gifted writer; he was a very humble, loving man.

Ken was a real inspiration to me and many others.

Michael Simpson, a mutual friend, took the picture above just a few days before Ken died; here is what he said about Ken:

You see a picture of the hands of a man who lived a full life, measured more in the impact on people than years accumulated. These hands prayed for so many people I know, and so many I will not know until heaven.

These hands welcomed everyone, encouraged the best out of every person, gave until his pockets were empty and pulled significant amounts of money from the pockets of others for the benefit of the less fortunate, penned more sonnets than Shakespeare, received whatever God chose to give, cared for two wives until their passing, and folded in the end to rest.

The first time I met Ken was about ten years ago at a prayer meeting. He was 80 years old. He prayed, ‘Lord, I give the next ten years of my life to bring the gospel light to Russia’.

After the meeting, I asked why he gave just 10 years. He smiled and replied, ‘by the time I’m 90, I won’t be good for much of anything’.

He gave those ten years happily.

During that decade, with him I traveled to Finland and around Russian Karelia, visited his home in Cornwall, and had great discussions over tea in St. Petersburg.

My last visit with him was just before he left Russia for treatment in England, a few weeks ago. His health was declining and he could no longer use his hands.

I was able to give him a shave, which he hadn’t had for a week. I remember, as I shaved him leaning close to his face, how he smiled boyishly and said ‘oh, that feels so good’.

As we said goodbye, he expressed how he hoped to return to Russia. He was always looking ahead. Now he is in his eternal home.

Ken Rundell, we rejoice in your life.

Below are a couple of notes from friends, received just today. The first is from Titus Hannum, missionary in Russia. Continue reading