Free Methodist World Missions is deeply grateful for Ruby (Tosh) Schlosser’s 37 years of dedicated service to her Lord through the Free Methodist Church (FMC) in Asia. We celebrate her life – a life used of God to touch the lives of countless others.
The daughter of a Free Methodist pastor’s family, Ruby Viola Tosh became a member of the Free Methodist Church in 1929 at the age of 11. As a student at Greenville College (IL), she applied to serve with the Free Methodist General Missionary Board in February 1940.
In 1945, Ruby and her husband, John, were appointed missionaries to China. In 1949, they, along with 10,000 other Christian missionaries, were forced to leave China. They transferred to the Philippines where they spent 20 years pioneering churches in remote villages as well as urban educational centers. In 1955, they started a frontier Bible school in the jungle town of Bunawan, which later developed into the Light and Life Bible College in Butuan City. During her ministry in the Philippines, while John traveled throughout the Free Methodist Surigao District, Ruby pioneered a church in the district and served as its pastor for two years. In 1969, Ruby and John moved to Hong Kong. Ruby taught Christian Education in the Hong Kong Bible Seminary and promoted children’s and women’s groups in both the Chinese churches and among European women.
Free Methodist World Missions (FMWM) Asia Area Director, Rev. Eric Spangler writes, “Like her husband, Ruby Schlosser has inspired generations of followers to faithful service with her kind-hearted dedication to Jesus’ mission and love for her Savior. We will remember our moments with Ruby, many who knew her during their selfless service on the mission field, and some of us during the years of retirement. With deep gratefulness and respect for their service to Jesus through FMWM, we treasure every conversation, every smile, and every life that was nudged toward heaven because of a conversation with Ruby. The fire of her devotion will light the path for others to find their way for years to come. Thanking God for Ruby’s life.”
Former FMWM Asia Area Director, Rev. David Yardy, writes, “My family’s connection with Ruby goes back ninety years. Ruby’s mother, Grandma Tosh, inspired a generation of children through the Junior Missionary Society of the Turlock California Free Methodist Church. Ruby, my father and several others went on to make major contributions to FM missions. When our family was asked to go to the Philippines in 1982 Ruby and John Schlosser were our ‘go to’ persons for orientation for what became a meaningful ministry in Manila. The faithfulness of Ruby Schlosser to our Lord has inspired many generations in many countries.”
Missionary colleague Jerry Van Kuiken writes, “John and Ruby Schlosser worked as a team. They were both totally committed to their mission and calling. They were willing to face hardships and difficulty by going to places that were out in the smaller towns and communities, where there were fewer comforts. They lived in housing that was just like the people with whom they ministered. These actions endeared them to the people with whom they labored. Since they were fluent in the language, they were able to minister to the most overlooked and forgotten by other mission groups.
“I suspect that both John and Ruby will hear many say, ‘Thank you for giving to the Lord’ (a Ray Boltz song) from various converts from all the countries they served as they are now in the presence of Jesus.”
Former Free Methodist missionaries, Jim and Margaret Nelson write, “My [Margaret’s] father grew up with Ruby. Since Ruby’s dad was a pastor in the (then) California Conference, once the Schlossers went overseas as missionaries, their furloughs were always in California, and we did a lot of things together. I had fun playing with their children Lora, Tom, John and Don until they came down with mumps and my mom didn’t want me to get it! I grew up knowing the Schlosser family as friends, as well as in their missionary roles. When I began to sense God calling me towards missions, it was easy to say ‘yes,’ because I had good friends, the Schlossers among them, who were missionaries, whom I’d spent time with, and who cared about me.
“By the time Jim and I were ready to head to Hong Kong, Schlossers had ‘retired’ and moved to Santa Cruz, attending the same church as my folks. They were great resources on what to take and how to prepare, both physical items to pack and spiritual attitudes to develop. We’ll miss Ruby’s prayers, encouragement and wise advice. She was a loving friend and a wise mentor, giving a great example to follow in humbly serving her Lord wherever she found herself.”
Free Methodist Bishop Matthew Thomas remembers Ruby, “As a former missionary to the Philippines, I had many opportunities to interact with John and Ruby through the years. Ruby was a gracious host, incessantly praying saint and beautifully concerned friend of those who need Jesus and tangible care. If ever there were a person deserving of the term “lover of God and lover of people” Ruby would be at the top of the list. We thrill at her opportunity to join John once again for the final, endless chapter and greatest reward.”
Rev. Charita A. Encarnadao, International Child Care Ministries Philippines national coordinator, writes, “Her life, her touch, her face, her smile – a reflection of Jesus Christ. It was during my childhood experiences with Ma’am Schlosser in Bunawan, Agusan Del Sur, when the Free Methodist Church was started in the Philippines in 1949. I was 5 years old at that time. Our family was rescued from the flood by the Schlossers. They let us stay in their house for a number of days. Every Sunday, I was excited to hear Bible stories from her. My knowing and loving Jesus started from those experiences. In 1975, as co-worker in ministry, Ruby taught me patience, endurance, to be prayerful and the importance of meditating upon and memorizing the Word by chapters. Even now these words are kept in my heart. They strengthen me in my journey with the Lord. I praise and thank God for giving me an opportunity to meet, to be with and work with Ma’am Schlosser.”
Bishop Jim Tuan of the Free Methodist Church of Philippines writes, “We owe to the Schlossers our introduction to the kingdom of God. They modeled submission, sacrifice and fully surrendered lives to the Lord. They can truly say with Apostle Paul, ‘Follow me as I follow Christ.’ Practically, the only Christ that we have any idea about is the one the Schlossers have shown in their lives.
“I remember Ma’am Schlosser as a very patient teacher as she taught us to memorize verses of the Bible. She taught us songs like Jesus Loves the Little Children, Everyday with Jesus, His Name is Wonderful, Rolled Away, and Oh I know It along with many more. Ruby’s life was really a blessing to me and my family.”
On April 8, 2017, Ruby Schlosser went to be with her Savior, becoming part of the rich legacy of those who have served through Free Methodist World Missions. Her decision to follow Jesus to the ends of the earth has borne eternal fruit.
Rev. Gerry Coates
Director of Global Church Advocacy
Free Methodist World Missions