Godhands2

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.

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Kenneth passed away in the wee hours of the morning yesterday [Monday] in England.

I heard about it yesterday from one of his helpers here, Dasha. Then I called Michael Simpson to sympathize together with him and Susan, since they were close to Kenneth. They just returned to Russia very recently.

It turns out that they passed through England on their way here last weekend and were able to spend some quality time with him then. They could tell, however, that he was getting ready to leave this world, and were able to talk deeply with him and also to help warn his son, who was away, to return sooner and get back in time to say goodbye, which his son did manage to do in time.

I know you two were his good friends and so Anya and I express our condolences to you, and thank God with you for his life and example.

We pray his family, that they may be comforted and that they may listen closely to all that God is lovingly communicating to them at this time.

For your edification, I am forwarding Michael Simpson’s letter about Kenneth below…

Blessings,
Titus and Anya

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Subject: The hands of a man with a life well lived
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 2010 20:55:29 +0300

All of you in this email have either personally known, or through our stories, might have wished you had known Kenneth Rundell. He moved on to his true home Monday night. Our loving Father was so kind as to allow us to be at his side in Cornwall in south England just 3 days before. Because of our visit, his family became aware of how quickly he was fading, allowing one of his two sons to also visit and say his goodbyes.

Kenneth’s mind was sharp until the end. This was a very specific answer to prayer. He passed quietly in his sleep, which was also an answer to prayer.

He died with the same dignity with which he lived. He died knowing he was loved by his Father. He lives today in the hearts of the countless people around the world that were forever changed by knowing him.

His strong faith, gift of encouraging words, and tireless desire to make a difference in the world through changed lives of individuals will live on in us.

I am missing my friend, though I am also deliriously happy for him. He is free now; unshackled from this world of limitations.

I will miss our morning porridge and afternoon teas. Most of all, I will miss his prayers and reading from his tiny pocket journal what God spoke to him that morning.

He wrote at least one thought down from his morning quiet times just about every day for 78 years. With an air of disappointment he confessed that he missed a few days here and there.

Attached [above], you will 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.

In the last days of a man who tirelessly worked to leave his mark on the lives of people, he was asked to sign a document when we were with him. He chose not to. These hands, knowing their time was done, elected to stop leaving their mark.

“Thank you, thank you, thank you . . . thank you.”

These were the last words I recall hearing from Kenneth. I can’t be remember if there were more after this, our final prayer together, three days before he passed from this earth.

These simple words of gratitude are mostly what remain in my memory. This short, yet complete prayer I had noticed increased in frequency over these last six years. It became my favorite prayer.

It’s a prayer I pray today as I think of the kindness of our Father to allow us that last time to smile and remember together.

Monday night he left us all. I hesitated to write those words. Kenneth not being here seems surreal at this moment and is difficult to grasp.

Mostly, though, I am thinking that what remains of Kenneth Rundell leaves me utterly astounded and inspired. For that, I “Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, Kenneth”.

Michael Simpson

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3 Comments to “The hands of a man”

  1. Андрей says:

    Да, хороший человек Кеннет. Хотел написать был, но потом подумал, что ведь и есть. Просто в другом лучшем месте.

  2. Annie says:

    I am so inspired by these tributes to someone I will never know in this life. Truly inspired, to try to follow the example of such a devoted Christian. Thank you for sharing his story.

  3. Mike says:

    Andrey, you’re right. He was a very good man, a real inspiration.

    Annie, you’re welcome. It was an honor to know Ken. He ran the race well.